Tag Archives: investors

Southland tech conference attracts impressive speakers


An impressive list of speakers are scheduled for Launch Tennessee’s 2014 Southland Conference, an event celebrating entrepreneurship and Southern culture.
The second annual event will be held in Nashville June 9-11.
The list includes former Vice President Al Gore; PayPal President David Marcus; Evernote CEO Phil Libin; Bonobos,Inc. CEO Andy Dunn; Coatue Management Senior Managing Director Thomas Laffont; and Tristan Walker, founder and CEO of Walker & Company Brands, Inc.
Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership focused on supporting entrepreneurship and development of high-growth companies across the state.
Launch Tennessee CEO Charlie Brock called Southland “the perfect platform to showcase the strong tech and startup culture throughout the southeast.”
The event will offer more than a bunch of talking heads.
“Yet to be announced are the buzz-worthy musical talents lined up by the co-producers of Bonnaroo, the top 50 Southeastern startups selected to participate in the Southland Village trade show, the 10 leading startup companies from throughout the country invited to pitch to investor panels and the names of investors who will comprise these panels,” Brock wrote in a recent column.
Click here for more on Southland.
Click here for a recent News Sentinel video interview with Charlie Brock

Vendor Registry co-founder says California trip validates his startup

Guest blog by Chris Van Beke, co-founder of Vendor Registry.
Launch Tennessee’s master accelerator program, The TENN, took 10 startup companies –- including my company, Vendor Registry –- to Silicon Valley this week. We have spent the week networking with entrepreneurs, investors and media and working from some of San Francisco’s co-working spaces and accelerators.
It has been a great opportunity for me and other Vendor Registry co-founder, Brian Strong, to talk about our company to a new set of people. We’ve connected with many of the incredible startup folks in Knoxville and throughout Tennessee, but this trip has introduced us to California-based investors and entrepreneurs that we would have been hard-pressed to meet on our own.
This week’s learning events gave us the chance to see the headquarters of Google and Intuit, as well as Microsoft’s Silicon Valley office. We received valuable advice on a variety of topics, but these events also introduced us to more people than we could have ever imagined. We made great contacts through the events Launch Tennessee set up and by working on our own during our free time.
The startup culture in San Francisco is obviously different than Tennessee’s. We have had a great time experiencing the energy that can be found everywhere from co-working spaces and accelerators to coffee shops. We also learned a lot about Tennessee’s strengths in entrepreneurship. The feedback we have received this week definitely shines a light on our great state and the bright future ahead. I think we are all leaving San Francisco feeling validated by our conversations and confident that we can bring a flavor of that startup culture back to Tennessee.
Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in the state of Tennessee with the ultimate goal of fostering job creation and economic growth.  Brock can be reached at charlie@launchtn.org or @cebrock on Twitter.

Vendor Registry, Survature experience Silicon Valley

Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee and Marci Harris, CEO of POPVOX

Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee and Marci Harris, CEO of POPVOX

Rant$ and Rave$ welcomes a guest blog by Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee
This week, Launch Tennessee is taking the principals of 10 of Tennessee’s most promising startups – also known as The TENN – to Silicon Valley to meet investors, entrepreneurs and tech media. Launch Tennessee created The TENN as a master accelerator program to help startup companies that graduated from one of Tennessee’s nine accelerator programs, but still need stage two support. Two local startups are participating in The TENN: Vendor Registry and Survature.
Vendor Registry (www.vendorregistry.com) makes local government contracting easier by standardizing and centralizing online vendor registration and bid notifications. Survature (www.survature.com) provides fresh, engaging and interactive surveys that result in more insightful reports into respondents’ behaviors.
In addition to meeting some key entrepreneurship players this week, The TENN will get the chance to experience Silicon Valley’s startup scene and bring some of that energy and knowledge back to Tennessee.
The TENN is working this week out of Bloodhound Headquarters – a co-working space in San Francisco. The space is open and creative with a tranquil outdoor courtyard, allowing The TENN companies to get a feel for the San Francisco startup culture.
Monday, we started with a Q&A with Launch Tennessee board member Marci Harris, CEO of POPVOX, a government communications startup. Marci gave the group some outstanding real-life startup advice and answered The TENN’s questions about investment opportunities, the Silicon Valley startup culture and the importance of thinking about how big your idea can be.
We headed to Hattery for lunch. Hattery is a startup incubator and education and events space in the SoMa district of San Francisco. It’s another one of San Francisco’s co-working spaces, and it was a great opportunity for The TENN companies to meet more Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and get another dose of the local startup environment.
We have a lot planned for The TENN this week, including formal meetings and free time for The TENN principals to do their own networking.
Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in the state of Tennessee with the ultimate goal of fostering job creation and economic growth.
Brock can be reached at charlie@launchtn.org or @cebrock on Twitter.

Miller Energy taps investors for $25M in preferred stock sale

Miller Energy Resources platform in Cook Inlet, Alaska.

Miller Energy Resources platform in Cook Inlet, Alaska.

For the fourth time this year, Knoxville-based Miller Energy Resources has tapped investors for a fresh infusion of cash needed for general corporate purposes.
Miller announced Tuesday that it raised $25 million from the sale of 1 million shares of “Series D” preferred stock. The sale was completed Sept. 30.
The oil and natural gas company previously raised $32.6 million in stock sales in February, May and July.
Miller has struggled financially in recent months. The company reported in July a loss of $13.1 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, more than half its loss for the full 2013 fiscal year.
The net loss attributable to common stockholders was 31 cents per diluted share, up from a loss of $8.4 million, or 20 cents per share, in the 2012 fourth-quarter, the company said.
Miller is an oil and natural gas exploration and production company with operations in Alaska and East Tennessee.
Click here for Miller’s news release on its recent stock sale.
Click here for more on Miller’s latest financial report.

Tenn. 15th in private equity investment

Private equity investors are finding fertile opportunities in Tennessee. In 2011, 42 Tennessee-based companies received more than $3.2 billion in private equity investment , according to a report released today by the Private Equity Growth Capital Council, an industry lobbying group.

Compared to other states, Tennessee ranks 15th in total investment value. The top five states are Texas, $20.5 billion; New York, $18.6 billion; California, $15.7 billion; North Carolina, $10.4 billion; and Oklahoma, $8.7 billion.

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Analysts miss on Alcoa, what else do they have wrong?

Alcoa Inc. wasn’t supposed to have a good first quarter — not according to the experts.

But the aluminium giant fooled the analysts and opened earnings season with a surprise when it reported a first quarter profit of 9 cents a share. That’s a clear rebound from a loss of 18 cents a share in the fourth quarter last year.

If the experts can miss so badly on Alcoa, what else do the analysts have wrong?

Alcoa, which has a major manufacturing operation in Blount County with more than 1,200 employees, was supposed to be struggling with a weak economy. Maybe the economy is doing better than the experts believe.

Earnings season is just starting, but today at least investors are in a happier mood. The market as a whole is rebounding from the April slide and Alcoa shares are rising.

Surprise! Positive Web reports on Miller Energy

Miller Energy Resources has received its share of online criticism in recent months – that’s whatMiller_Energy02.jpg happens when you have to refile corrected financial reports and a class-action lawsuit hangs over your head.

But in a somewhat surprising turn, the Knoxville oil company has been the subject of positive online commentary in recent days.

A report posted today on the website Seeking Alpha by an anonymous contributor called Rougemont includes Miller among a group of undervalued oil stocks.

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Stocks have no soul and other advice for investors

Calendars are a staple of holiday gift-givers. Several folks on my gift list can count on getting one.

This year I have a new favorite — “Thoughts Are Things for Investors,” a daily desk calendar by David Moon, president of Moon Capital Management, a Knoxville-based investment management firm.

It’s filled with bite-sized bits of advice presented with a sense of humor. A couple of my favorites:

July 14 — “Stocks aren’t ‘good’ or ‘bad.’  They have no soul.”

And Aug. 30 — “In a bull market everyone feels like he’s Warren Buffett. You’re not.”

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Cash or gold — which is best?

If you’re wondering how big time investors are handling their money in today’s ugly economy,
Culture_Currency(2).JPGhere’s an glimpse at what some Wall Street types are doing.

WSJ: How Wall Street Invests Its Money in Hard Times

If you’re tempted by scraping together everything you have to invest in gold, here’s something to consider.

New York Times: The Hidden Dangers in Safe Havens

Warren Buffett: Save America, raise taxes on the rich

In a New York Times op-ed piece, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway offers Economy+Leaders.jpgCongress sage advice for solving the fiscal crisis facing the federal government.

In a nutshell, Buffett advises Congress to leave tax rates unchanged for 99.7 percent of Americans, but immediately raise tax rates on the mega-rich.

We hear a lot from the extremists from the political right that raising taxes on the rich would be a job killer,  Buffett exposes that ridiculousness for what it is.

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