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 firstname.lastname@example.org or @cebrock on Twitter.
Guest blogger Charlie Brock’s latest report from Launch Tennessee’s California tour.
Monday was the first day of a pilgrimage to Silicon Valley by 10 of Tennessee’s most promising startups, i.e., The TENN from Launch Tennessee. It was a great introduction to the center of the technology universe for our startup founders, and today we stepped it up with a tour and meeting at Google – which, once upon a time, was also a startup.
Our teams had an exciting time exploring “the Googleplex” – the official moniker for Google’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters – and talking with the people behind the world’s most successful search engine.
After the tour, The TENN had a meeting with the Google’s marketing and cloud teams. We were immersed in all things Google including topics such as cloud computing, AdWords and the future of mobile. One important takeaway we all received was a charge to identify interesting problems and find an interesting way to solve them.
Tonight (Tuesday), the teams are going to the NODE+ Forum kickoff party at RocketSpace – an open innovation facility for tech companies in San Francisco. Tonight’s kickoff event celebrates the launch of NODE+ Forum 2013, the world’s first online conversation portal, where anyone can collaborate on developing the future of wireless sensor platforms for smart devices using Google+ Hangouts and xTV.
We’re especially excited about this event because it gives us the chance to introduce The TENN principals to the founders of an exciting Tennessee startup that won Launch Tennessee’s first Southland conference in June. Node is a product of Variable, Inc., a Chattanooga-based startup. Variable, Inc. has already done some amazing things since Southland, and this event is a perfect chance for The TENN to see what is possible for Tennessee startups.
Vendor Registry, one of the Knoxville-based startups in The TENN, was also invited to exhibit at Southland. The TENN is providing more networking opportunities for Vendor Registry and the rest of the founders of The TENN, both in Tennessee and in California.
Charlie Brock is CEO of Launch Tennessee, 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 email@example.com or @cebrock on Twitter.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or @cebrock on Twitter.
Two early-stage Knoxville companies — Vendor Registry and Survature — have been selected to participate in the first statewide demo day sponsored by Launch Tennessee, a public-private partnership created to foster development of entrepreneurship across the state.
Twenty companies will pitch their businesses to a panel of out-of-state investors on Aug. 27 in Nashville. From that group, 10 companies will be selected to participate in The TENN, a master accelerator program sponsored by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.
Survature is developing an online survey tool that reveals not only what the survey taker answered, but how and when they answered it using a patent-pending technology called Answer Cloud. Vendor Registry is the creator of a web-based vendor management tool that uses a database and notification system to link buyers and sellers.
The 20 participating companies represent Tennessee’s three grand divisions and are all graduates of the state’s nine startup accelerators.
“These 20 startups are an exceptional representation of the innovative and promising ideas emerging from Tennessee’s accelerator programs,” Launch Tennessee CEO Charlie Brock said in a news release. “From the quality and diversity of applications submitted across the state, it is apparent that Tennessee’s network of accelerators, which is unique in the nation and Launch Tennessee helps fund, is working well.”
The panel that will evaluate the businesses includes Sabeer Bhatia, chairman and CEO of Sabse/Jaxtr and founder and former CEO of Hotmail; John McIlwraith, managing partner at Cincinnati, Ohio-based Allos Ventures; John Greathouse, general partner at Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Rincon Venture Partners; Sig Mosley, managing partner at Atlanta, Ga.-based Mosley Ventures; Bob Crutchfield, partner at Birmingham, Ala.-based Harbert Ventures; and Mike Tatum, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Workbus.
The 10 selected companies selected will take a statewide bus tour to meet with some leading executives of Tennessee corporations and angel and venture capital investors throughout the state. The TENN companies also will meet with venture capitalists and angel investors in California and the East Coast, according to a news release.
Click here for a Greater Knoxville Business Journal story on Survature and Vendor Registry.