Memphian Sarah Lacy Gives Away Big Omaha’s Secret At Tennessee’s Southland Conference

sarahgaryA refreshing side of Sarah Lacy returned to her native Tennessee on Wednesday morning to kick off the first Southland Conference. If you’ve seen Lacy on her best you know she can be a hard edged interviewer that commands respect in the room, after all with her storied career and climbing through Business Week, TechCrunch, authoring books and two children, she’s earned it.  But Wednesday morning her southern Tennessee charm returned when she welcomed her interviewee Gary Swart, CEO of Odesk for a fireside chat.

Before the interview though, Lacy wanted to hand a secret over to the organizers and attendees of the first ever Southland conference. Lacy talked abut Big Omaha, the centerpiece of Silicon Prairie News’ “Big Series” and a must attend conference for entrepreneurs everywhere. “Do you know how they get big names at Big Omaha” Lacy asked the audience. Then she proceeded to show everyone.

First off she made it clear as southerners and entrepreneurs we were going to “steal” what Big Omaha does. After that she showed off Jeff Slobotski’s (the organizer of Big Omaha and founder of SPN) secret.

It was a huge warm welcome that made each of the speakers, big and small, feel like the biggest person on earth. “Pretend Gary is Oprah and she just gave everyone a car” Lacy told the audience as she asked everyone to practice the big welcome.

Although Southland is in Nashville it’s designed to celebrate entrepreneurship throughout the south east and with that in mind Lacy made plenty of references to her Memphis upbringing during her talk with Swart. Lacy made the trek from Silicon Valley with her 8 week old baby in tow.

Here’s some video

Check out more of our Southland coverage here.



Southland Kicks Off With Emmy Lou Harris, Rodney Crowell And A Party With SouthernAlpha

Southland, Southern Alpha, startups, Tennessee, Launch Tennessee

The Southland conference officially kicks off Thursday morning at 9am but the pre-festivities started Wednesday night in historic downtown Nashville.

Investors and VIP’s from as far away as Vancouver were treated to a swank VIP party at the legendary Ryman Auditorium to kick off the two day conference celebrating startups, culture and technology. Baker Donelson’s Emerging Technologies Practice Lead, Chris Sloan said it was “the most amazing investor party I’ve ever been to” Why? Because Launch Tennessee, the producers of the conference, were able to get local national country stars Emmy Lou Harris and Rodney Crowell to dazzle the crowd with an intimate performance.

Launch Tennessee CEO Charlie Brock getting into an exciting discussion with one of the hundreds of entrepreneurs at Southland

Launch Tennessee CEO Charlie Brock getting into an exciting discussion with one of the hundreds of entrepreneurs at Southland

While that party was going on, event attendees who arrived Wednesday evening were treated to a roof top party at the Rock Bottom Brewery hosted by our cousins at SouthernAlpha. Southern Alpha’s Walker Duncan, Kelly Boothe and Dave Ledgerwood were meeting and greeting startup founders, entrepreneurs, startup support organizations and investors from up and down the east coast.  Even 500 Startups partner and founder of Paul Singh, was on hand, with his lovely wife Suki mingling with the crowd, talking up startups and what can do for founders and investors.

We bumped into Kim Munzo, founder of Florida based Aspiredu and the winner of $25,000 best in village award at The Startup Conference. Munzo made the trek from Tampa Florida to see what the Southland buzz was about and to update us about the progress their educational analytic startup has made since winning the crown at our conference.

Steve Buhrman the CEO and founder of am>venture backed (we are also backed by am>ventures) WannaDo gave us a sneak back of a bad ass upgrade to their event discovery app and assured us that they will be adding new metropolitan areas rapidly.

chrisOur Memphis startup community was in full force. On the hot and muggy night people kept saying Memphis brought the heat, and that we did. Pam Cooper (Boosterville), Brittany Fitzpatrick (MentorMe), Richard and Richard (ScrewPulp), Charleson Bell (Bionanovations) and Allan Daisley (Memphis Bioworks), shut the party down (as usual).

If Tuesday evening was any indication of what to expect from Southland this is going to be one epic conference. Stay tuned for more Southland coverage here at the voice of startups everywhere else.


Entrepreneur Magazine Trying To Rain On Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s Parade

Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Entrepreneur Magazine, Michael Burcham, Nashville startupWe are two weeks from the grand opening of Nashville’s new multi million dollar 22,000 square foot Entrepreneur Center. The effort, pioneered by Nashville’s startup community and Nashville Entrepreneur Center CEO Michael Burcham, is attracting bigwigs like TN Governor Haslam and Scott Case, the Interim President of UpGlobal and Founding CTO of

Two days of festivities slated for later this month will christen the new space that will house startups, startups, and more startups. The facility features educational space, space for accelerators, and space for startups at all stages.

In a private walk through back in April, Burcham was gleaming from ear to ear highlighting the vision that the entire Nashville startup community has partaken in. Community contributors will be recognized in cloud-like structures in the ceiling of the new facility and in big round plaques in the floor.

But, it’s not all rosy in Nashville. The Tennesseean reported Tuesday that there is one California company hoping to rain on their parade. Apparently, Entrepreneur Media Inc bought the trademark rights to the word “entrepreneur” over two decades ago and has sued the Entrepreneur Center to force them to change their name.

Burcham, who was recently called Nashville’s Rocket Man by the Nashville Business Journal, doesn’t have time for this nonsense ahead of such a critical event for Nashville entrepreneurs (there sue me too). To comply, The Tennesseean reports that they’ve added “Nashville” to the name of the facility and organization, effectively calling it “Nashville Entrepreneur Center”.

EMI, which owns Entrepreneur Magazine, has prevailed in many cases when it’s taken someone to court, even though they say they don’t “own the word”

“We don’t claim we own the word. We have limited trademark rights on it,” Mark Finkelstein, attorney for the company told The Tennesseean. “If the company goes national, could it cause confusion? Could it dilute the brand?”

The argument itself comes down to the fact that entrepreneur is such a common word. We use it all the time, and there are several entrepreneurial organizations that use the word in their name.

The Tennesseean spoke to Daniel Gervais a law professor at Vanderbilt who specializes in trademark battles. He pointed out that it would be one thing if we were talking about a word like Kleenex or Xerox, proper nouns. However “entrepreneur” is different.

“This would be a good example of trademark law used to limit speech,” Gervais said. “It looks like they’re trying to own the word, but how far do they have to go to police the use of a word that is otherwise common?”

Both Burcham and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center have been featured within the pages of Entrepreneur magazine and their website. While the lawsuit is evaluated and a judge considers where a trial would occur, it’s full steam ahead for the new nonprofit.

The Nashville Entrepreneur Center will hold their grand opening in two weeks, next week, this big startup event will occur on June 12th and 13th, in Nashville.


Southland Conference Announces Investor Panels Including Mark Kvamme, Founding Investor For LinkedIn

Southland, Launch Tennessee, Startup Conferences

Launch Tennessee’s Southland conference, happening June 11-12th in Nashville, Tennessee, will highlight the best in startups, technology, and down-home Southern culture. The event is intentionally sandwiched between the CMA Music Festival and the legendary Bonnaroo, and adds an element of entrepreneurship, almost SXSW-style to these two historic events. With the way Southland’s schedule is shaping up, it too will become a staple in the Music City.

Over the weekend we reported on the 50 startups from across the Southeast that were chosen to participate in Southland’s Startup Village. Eleven states were represented, with 17 startups hailing from Nashville.

On Monday, Launch Tennessee CEO and conference organizer Charlie Brock announced some heavyweight investor panels, which will provide firsthand, top-notch knowledge of early stage investing to startup founders, entrepreneurs, and local angels from across the Southeast.

The first panel “VC Trends: From Silicon Valley To The Southeast” will feature Mark Kvamme, Paul Santinelli, and Jason Sibley. Kvamme is a co-founder and partner of Columbus, Ohio-based Drive Capital. Previously, he was special limited partner and general partner at Menlo Park, Calif.-based Sequoia Capital, where he was the founding investor of LinkedIn, Cast Iron Systems (acquired by IBM), MarkLogic Corporation and

Santinelli is a partner at North Bridge Venture Partners in Palo Alto, Calif., where he specializes in communications and infrastructure and focuses on investments in open source, software, security, Internet applications, and infrastructure and communications. He founded and ran NOCpulse, a Silicon Valley software startup that was acquired by Red Hat Network.

Sibley is a director at GE Ventures, Healthymagination Fund. He was previously a Vice President at GE Equity and a member of its healthcare investment team. He is currently building out GE Ventures’ Boston investment office, which is focused on life sciences, medical technology, and energy investments.

“Mark, Paul, and Jason are experienced investors who can provide the kind of insight that early-stage companies need,” Brock said in a statement. “This panel will be an outstanding opportunity for entrepreneurs to get an insider’s perspective on what investors are looking for today.”

The regional investor panel, “VC Trends: Focus on the Southeast,” includes Rik Vandevenne with River Cities Capital Funds of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Raleigh, N.C.; David Jones with Southern Capital Ventures/Bull City Venture Partners of Raleigh, N.C.; Spence McClelland with Noro-Moseley Partners of Atlanta; and Sid Chambless of the Nashville Capital Network.

In addition to investor panelists, representatives from more than 35 venture capital companies are attending Southland, including Durham, N.C.-based Hatteras Venture Partners; Menlo Park, Calif.-based Shasta Ventures; and Battery Ventures, which has offices in Waltham, Mass., Menlo Park, Calif., and Israel.

Other Southland speakers and panelists include Slava Rubin, co-founder and CEO of Indiegogo; Dan Pelino, general manager of IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences Industry; Ali Partovi, co-founder of; George Kliavkoff, executive vice president and deputy group head of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication; Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk; and Paul Singh, partner at 500 Startups.

Stay tuned to Nibletz for even more Southland coverage. Here’s what we’ve covered so far.


Memphis’ Startup WorkForPie Selected For Southland For Kufikia

WorkForPie, Kufikia, Memphis startup, Nashville, SouthlandCliff McKinney and Brad Montgomery, the Memphis based startup team behind WorkForPie have been working on a new product called Kufikia for the past few months. McKinney explained to nibletz that Kufikia loosely means “to achieve” with that they have come up with a learning platform for advanced software developers.

With a new innovative approach, combining cohort based learning, typically found in an accelerator program, with mentoring, and early stage job placement, they were able to get selected as one of the first 20 startups in the Startup Village at the Southland conference in Nashville Tennessee next month. We revealed the entire list of 20 startups earlier today.

Kufikia participants will get the “3 S’s” out of the program according to McKinney. Those three S’s are; structure (a 9 week long curriculum), study buddies (cohorts of 10 students going through the program together), and support coming from the platforms sponsors. Each cohort will have three company sponsors that will alternate in three week intervals throughout the course of the program.

McKinney and Montgomery plan on starting the first cohort in late June. For the first program they are targeting participants in Silicon Valley, the Pacific Northwest, New York and Nashville. Actually four cohorts will run simultaneously. Although this is an online program they want the students and company resources to be in close proximity to each other.

Kufikia has already attracted some heavyweight sponsors for their platform, which they aren’t identifying just yet.

The sponsors will benefit by working closely with the students in the program and hopefully converting them to new employees. McKinney says that most companies spend upwards of $15,000 providing internships to potential employees that may not work out. By working with the students over the nine week period the company sponsors will develop relationships with them and hopefully hire them on.

The sponsors participating will have jobs to fill, and hopefully with those students. McKinney and Montgomery are making a bold bet on the success of the program. Sponsors are under an agreement to provide mentoring and coaching to the cohort but don’t make a financial commitment to Kufikia until they actually hire someone.

Both Montgomery and McKinney are looking forward to showing off this new product to the attendees at Southland including over 41 venture capital and angel firms that have committed to attend.

Find out more about Kufikia here.

Check out this awesome guest post by McKinney here: Are accelerators everywhere else better at producing groundbreaking innovation?


Nashville Teen, Mark Daniel, Gets Into Thiel Fellowship Must Quit College

StatusHawk, Mark Daniel, Nashville startup, Thiel FellowshipNashville teenager Mark Daniel, 19, is the latest recipient of the Thiel Fellowship.

The Thiel Fellowship is a program, established by PayPal founder Peter Thiel that encourages young people to quit college and work on their startup. When admitted into the program participants move to San Francisco and receive $100,000 over two years, in addition to top shelf mentoring, and working alongside like minded students.  During the two year program, participants must not attend college.

It’s a pretty prestigious honor to be selected into the Thiel Fellowship program. Since the program was introduced in 2011 they’ve launched over 30 companies and raised over $34 million dollars.

“As we welcome a new class of determined young people into the Thiel Fellowship community, we also celebrate the pioneering spirit of our 2011 and 2012 fellows,” said Jonathan Cain, president of the Thiel Foundation. “Over the past two years, they have launched more than thirty companies, and raised more than $34 million in outside funding, including venture investments, company sales, revenue, grants, sponsorships, and awards. They have been hiring employees, launching products, engaging with vendors and manufacturers, and advising some of the world’s most well-known technology companies. And now they’re helping the next generation of tech researchers and entrepreneurs by mentoring future cohorts of Thiel fellows.”

Over two years, each fellow receives $100,000 from the Thiel Foundation as well as mentorship from the Foundation’s network of tech entrepreneurs, investors, scientists, thought leaders, futurists, and innovators. Projects pursued by the 2013 class of fellows span numerous cutting-edge science and technology fields, including robotics, computer science, telecommunications, education, photonics, game development, cyberdefense, biotechnology, health I.T., law, neuroscience, fashion, and personal manufacturing.

Jim O’Neill, partner at Mithril Capital Management and fellowship co-founder, said, “Pessimists are correct that we still live in a world of scarcity and suffering. And optimists are correct that better science and technology can relieve these problems immensely. But contrary to both sides, nothing is inevitable. The young men and women Peter has appointed are committed to improving the quality of life for countless people through skillful execution of new ideas, and I am confident they will succeed.”

Daniel joins 19 other students his age who he will work alongside during the program. Daniel’s starutp, StatusHawk is a web based application that compiles and formats workplace status reports into one easy to read format.

This isn’t Daniel’s first startup. StatusHawk is an offspring of his first startup, GoalHawk, which was a social crowdsourcing platform that he cofounded with Sumukh Sridhara a California developer in 2011.

Daniel is looking forward to focusing on StatusHawk, which he says is more valuable than the actual money. The company has a dozen companies lined up to begin beta testing the product, report the Tennessean.

“As we see more and more people using mobile in their daily work, it’ll be a natural progression,” Daniel said. “I think we’ll be in a very strong position in two years. I believe we can be a $100 million company.”

Now read this: It takes a village or a startup community to build an entrepreneur center.


Nashville’s Jumpstart Foundry Announces Summer 2013 Class

Jumpstart Foundry,Accelerator,Nashville startup,startupsWe told you today was going to be a big day for summer startup accelerator classes. Earlier today we reported on Memphis’ highly successful medical device accelerator Zeroto510 and their summer class. Before that we reported on Techstars Boulder class for summer 2013.

Now we turn to Nashville Tennessee and the Jumpstart Foundry. This startup accelerator offers an intense program in Music City USA, that will “graduate” during the summer. Last year there were three startup accelerator demo days in Tennessee in the month of August. Gigtank, Zeroto510 and Jumpstart Foundry all had cohorts conclude their program and pitch at demo/investor day, in a succession of Thursdays.

Jumpstart Foundry supports it’s cohort with over 125 mentors and an intense program. Also as an added bonus, midway through the program the cohort will move to Nashville’s new entrepreneur center, slated to open next month.

Check out this year’s cohort.

● eVisit ­ a secure and convenient mobile platform to facilitate communications between primary care providers and patients
● Chalky ­ an e­learning video platform where experts can earn money through remote coaching and teaching
● ­ an exclusive Elance­like marketplace to connect with the best­of­the­best open stack developers
● InvisionHeart ­ a secure mobile platform for emergency responders to communicate critical medical statistics to doctors during emergencies
● LoadTag ­ a SaaS mobile platform for trucking and freight companies
● MyMedMatch ­ a service to match underutilized specialized rehab equipment to patients who need it
● NewsBreak Media Networks ­ video­based advertising, interaction and promotion platform for gas stations and convenience store networks
● Poliana ­ an online matching service for political­based social networking and advocacy
● Rocket Link Mobile ­ a platform for SMS­based text ads that pay users to sharing them
● Zingfin ­ a financial services SaaS platform that facilitates ETF analysis

Check out these two Nashville entrepreneurs talking about the “yes mentality”

Nashville Courting New Startup Accelerator,From Silicon Valley, Hattery!

Hattery,Entrepreneur Center, Michael Burcham,Nashville startup,startup,startup news

Hattery strategist, and Engine Advocacy co-founder Michael McGeary (photo:

Nashville’s Entrepreneur Centre Director, Michael Burcham, played host to Mike McGeary, a strategist with Silicon Valley innovation lab, Hattery.

Currently the Hattery has a west coast location in Silicon Valley and an east coast location in New York City. Hattery invests in early stage startups and helps the startups with support in design, engineering and business development.

If you think you’ve heard McGeary’s name before it’s because you probably have. In addition to being a strategist with Hattery, McGeary is also the co-founder and chief political strategist with Engine Advocacy a group connecting startup founders and entrepreneurs with government officials to create change in the entrepreneurial/startup space. They were recently intricate in a startup pilgrimage to congress. McGeary also worked with TuneIn and on two presidential campaigns.

Hattery is looking to take their unique model to another state and Nashville seems to have caught McGeary’s eye.

“There is a great energy here and I’ve read about it and heard about it because Nashville has been really good about talking about its success stories,” McGeary told the Nashville Business Journal during the Nashville Technology Council’s TechVille event.  He continued;  “It has been really fun and interesting to see the companies created here, how the community is being built in a really unique way. I think there is a lot of growth potential here.”

Burcham, who is one of Nashville’s biggest advocates for entrepreneurship and startups as well as the leader for Startup Tennessee, Startup America’s Tennessee region and the second region in the United States, characterized the possibility of Hattery relocating to Nashville as a “giant deal”.

“He already works with so many investors and organizations in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, so for us to have someone sitting here that has access to those places, that’s enormous,” Burcham said, who reached out to McGeary about three months ago via Twitter. “My goal is to turn that from a conversation into something real.”

Burcham is looking to overflow the new 22,000 square foot, multi million dollar entrepreneur center with as much programming and resources as possible.  The Hattery program would add another great avenue for Tennessee startups to take advantage of. Although still under wraps,we do know that there are other nationally known accelerator brands looking to partner with the new entrepreneur center when it opens in June.

If anyone can sell Nashville’s startup and entrepreneurial community it’s Burcham. He’s a salesmans salesman and with his vast experience in the startup space, coupled with his down home Nashville personality, it’s hard to not fall in love with the guy and his passion.

The team behind the Hattery is filled with Silicon Valley success stories and they’re looking to spread the wealth across the country. Their portfolio includes; Bright Funds, Cloud Physics, Zubhium, and Hipiti.

Find out more about Hattery here and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center here.

Take a tour of the new multi-million dollar 22,000 square foot Entrepreneur Center here.


Nashville: It Takes A Village, Or A Startup Community To Build An Entrepreneur Center

Entrepreneur Center,Nashville,Michael Burcham,startup,Nashville startupThe Entrepreneur Center in Nashville Tennessee is a pretty awesome space as it is right now. It sits directly across the legendary Broadway street in Nashville, from the Hard Rock Cafe. The entire second floor serves Nashville’s startups and entrepreneurs.

The current Entrepreneur Center has always been a temporary location after opening in May 2010. The center, led by Michael Burcham, immediately began a search for a permanent home and found it in Nashville’s creatively rich SoBro neighborhood in Trolley Barn #1 at Rolling Mill.

The space is adjacent to where one of Nashville’s biggest startups, Emma, operates. There is also an entire barn filled with smaller early stage startup companies, while the last barn will become a recreational restaurant space. “Entrepreneurs and founders working at the new Entrepreneur Center will be able to grab a beer or bowl, overlooking the river, and then get back to work” Burcham told us on Friday.

Friday afternoon we got an exclusive sneak peak and complete tour of the new space. Burcham had assembled a group of center supporters to tour the progress of the center that has just over 50 days until completion.

“We’ll make our deadline for a soft opening in June” Burcham told us during the walk through.

No entrepreneurial stone was left unturned in the design and build out of the new facility. Over $5 million dollars was raised from private and public donors, including Burcham himself who has had several exits in the medical realm.

Anyone who knows Burcham knows that he’s typically beaming and grinning when talking about Nashville’s entrepreneurial scene. During this walk through he was radiating.

The tour started at the center’s new side entrance. The first thing Burcham pointed out was manhole sized indentions in the floor. This is going to be a walk of fame for entrepreneurs who’ve committed $50,000 or more to the Entrepreneur Center. The 22,000 square foot space was covered with these indentions that will be filled out by opening day.

Burcham almost choked up when he told the group how the entire community had come together across Nasvhille and across Tennessee to get this beacon of entrepreneurship built. For example, Knoxville politician and entrepreneur Jim Haslam, father of Governor Bill Haslam, underwrote the first conference room we saw. Both Haslam’s are expected to attend the grand opening in June.

The “crow’s nest” will overlook the new cafe/coffeeshop which is an accelerator in itself (photo: NMI 2013)

The next thing Burcham talked about was the crow’s nest (pictured above). Entrepreneurs will be able to pitch investors, get mentoring, or coaching high atop where other entrepreneurs will be grabbing a cup of coffee or eating at the center’s cafe.

The cafe isn’t just a source of nourishment but it will be it’s own separate 3 month restaurant accelerator. “We’re going to take entrepreneurs with restaurant startups and let them try them out here for three months before they open their doors” Burcham said. He also showed us the kitchen which will include restaurant industrial refrigeration, heating and warming. Everything a restaurant startup would need to cook and prepare.

While Broadway is just two blocks away from the new location, having an on-site restaurant will help feed over 400 people that will work, take in a class, mentor, or coach at the Entrepreneur Center on any given day.  The fact that the restaurant concept will change every 90 days will make for great variety.

These bays will house startups and accelerators including Jumpstart Foundry and Vanderbilt’s Tech Transfer (photo: NMI 2013)

Toward the back of the building are several bays. One will be an area for Vanderbilt’s tech transfer program. Jump Start Foundry’s summer 2013 session will switch over to the new space when it opens as well. There are several other announcements forthcoming at the grand opening event. Burcham filled us in on all of them, and that back space will be buzzing.

The entire center will be filled with wall to wall glass. From the front of the learning space to the back of the startup space, people will be able to see all the way through.

Speaking of the learning space, at the current EC it’s called the “Fish bowl” at the new EC it may as well be called the “aquarium”. oer 200 will be able to sit comfortably and work in comfortable chairs with pop up desks fit for laptops or iPads. “We’ll have plenty of power, AV and wifi as well”. Burcham is making sure that every corner of the turn of the century building is fit for wifi.

The new space has several big LED monitors that will be mounted on the wall. They will show what’s going on in the education space, startup space, or that’s produced in their own inhouse AV studio.

The education side of the building will have mentor offices. These spaces can be completely closed off with a sliding glass door for privacy with openness. Some of the Entrepreneur Center’s corporate mentor partners will have permanent spots and others will be able to use shared spaces.

As for Burcham, despite spearheading this entire operation, he is taking another modest office off in the corner of the building.

The Entrepreneur Center opens June 19th and 20th and will feature several startup celebrities and Governor Bill Haslam. For more info click here.

No one covers startup news in the south like nibletz the voice of startups everywhere else.

Warner Music Exec Ping Ho Gives Important Tips For Music Startups

Music startups academy, Nashville, music startup,startup,startup tips,startups

Larry Miller, Medianet (L), Ping Ho, Warner Music Group (R) (photo: NMI 2013)

Warner Music Group’s Director of the Digital Strategy Team, Ping Ho, was in Nashville today for the Music Startup Academy. The event is meant to merge musicians, labels, lawyers, publishers and entrepreneurs working on startups that are touching the music business.

In my startup experience I’ve get to talk to a lot of startups. I’ve also sat on a few committees that have vetted startups for accelerator programs. So often I’ve met music based startups who have no idea how big the can of worms is when they want to do something with commercial music.

Ho, has been with Warner Music Group over the last 8 years, and always with the digital department. She’s been through just about the entire boom of the digital music age.

We’re going to continue to dive more into music focused startups in the future here at but in the mean time, at the event today Ho gave some very good advice to music startups.

First things first, in my experience, I’ve met quite a few founders who want to offer some kind of “radio” or “streaming” service and are adamant about doing their own thing and not using an API from someone like Spotify or Rdio. That may be the biggest mistake you’ll ever make.

Licensing music directly from a major label and can be very costly. Legitimizing your startup among independent artists can be a very long tail process. If you don’t have millions (and I’m not exaggerating) you may want to reconsider those Spotify API’s until you can build up traction.

Stubborn? Headstrong, oh ok you have the greatest idea in the world and want to go directly to the label then read on…

For starters Ho did say that it’s a lot easier to score a meeting or at least a chance to get your startup in front of her team than it would be for an artist to get in front of a traditional A&R. But pay attention here or you’ll blow it.

The Boy Scout Rule: Be Prepared.

Sure this is common knowledge but for Ho, and her counterparts at other labels this means.

– knowing your pitch
– knowing your market
– knowing your competition
– knowing what you need from the label
– having a white paper or deck, but they want to see both business plan and product, and in depth.

On this, here is the absolute biggest thing Ho said that will get your meeting shut down…


Ho said that many times startups have pitched her. They get to a meeting and have set up a wonderful login for her to use to access their startup. They are happy, headstrong and proudly say, “We’re in a closed beta with 5000 users, and they love it”, “They’re using our service four hours a day each”. Then she, or an executive in her position, goes to the actual product and they’re using Warner’s music in the “beta”. Well guess what, your great idea and great startup are now stealing WMG’s product, and with 5,000 users using the service four hours a day, you’re stealing a lot of that.

The music business is going through it’s biggest fundamental change ever. An executive with Sony earlier in the program said “The album is dead, we need to find more high margin product businesses”, digital licensing is now the catalog vault.

“I’m going to rely on the artist to help build my customer base” makes Ho cringe the way that “we’re going to grow socially and organically over the first two years” makes me cringe.

Artists aren’t going to get involved until they see how your startup is impacting their bottom line. This can be a double edged sword as well because remember, the death of the album is affecting artists just as much as it is labels. They’re getting into more and more businesses, and a lot of them are digital.

So now that you’ve got all that, check out they’ll help you get to that next step.

Here are more great startup stories from Nashville.


Nashville’s MedSolutions Innovation Challenge Apps Close Next Week

Medsolutions,Jumpstart foundry,innovation challenge,Nashville startupMedSolutions is partnering with Nashville’s tech accelerator Jumpstart Foundry to offer one startup that has an “innovative idea to help consumers improve healthcare decisions”, the opportunity to be a full fledged member of the summer 2013 cohort.

They are taking applications from healthcare focused startups now through April 12th.

“When you combine MedSolutions’ leadership in medical cost management and Jumpstart Foundry’s program to quickly accelerate innovation, all housed in Nashville’s booming healthcare community, the opportunity for entrepreneurs who participate in the Innovation Challenge just doesn’t get much better,” said David Ledgerwood, COO of Jumpstart Foundry.

Through this program, MedSolutions will partner with selected entrepreneurs to develop and introduce new products and services that help consumers make better decisions around their utilization of the healthcare system. These innovations will allow patients to capture maximum savings and improve the overall quality of care they receive.

“Our company places a high value on entrepreneurship, and we’re always looking for new, problem- solving innovations, so this is a natural partnership for us,” said Gino Tenace, chief strategy officer for MedSolutions.

The startup selected through the Innovation Challenge will go through the same rigorous 14 week program that the other applicants selected for Jumpstart Foundry participate in.  They will also get the opportunity to present to over 400 investors at Jumpstart Foundry’s investor/demo day in August.

To get rolling on that application click here

More startup news from the midsouth can be found at

Tennessee Showcasing Startups, Culture And More At Southland June 11th and 12th

Southland, Nashville startups,startup events, startup conference,startups,bonaroo,CMALaunch Tennessee and the Music City Music Council have teamed up to hold a new startup and innovation conference in Nashville in June. The conference, called Southland, butts up to two of the regions biggest music events, Bonaroo and the Country Music Association Music Festival.

This unique scheduling allows fans of both music and innovation to plan a nice 10 day trip to Nashville and enjoy a mixture of both.

Southland will feature venture capitalists and angel investors from across the country along with an extensive lineup of speakers and panelists with a firsthand knowledge of the power of innovation and its ability to transform a region’s ecosystem. Speakers include Sarah Lacy (Founder, PandoDaily), Michael Sippy (Vice President of Consumer Products, Twitter), Michael Marquez (Co-Founder, Code Advisors), KC Estenson (SVP & GM, CNN Digital), Ali Partovi (Co-Founder,, and many more from CNN, Scripps Networks Interactive, IBM and others.
“The Southeast is a hotbed for technology startups,” notes Charlie Brock, CEO of LaunchTN. “This conference is going to be the premier event for bringing together the best our region has to offer in entrepreneurs and cultural tastemakers, along with investors, technology and health care executives from around the country.”
In addition to the usual startup conference programming, like a startup village, and engaging keynotes speakers and panels, Southland will also offer a “Makers Marketplace” of southern culture featuring local musicians, BBQ pit masters, small batch distillers and southern artisans.
Unlike the national everywhereelse conference hosted in Memphis Tennesse, which highlights startups and innovation across, Southland is poised to be the largest regional conference for innovation and startups. Sandwiched in between the two major musical events, the Southland conference will offer an unheard of and very attractive cultural and innovation injection to all attendees.

Tickets are only $300, interested in attending visit

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Nashville: Jumpstart Foundry Startup, Jamplify, Raises $600K

Jamplify,Nashville startup,New York Startup,Jumpstart Foundry,startup,accelerator,fundraisingOne of the highlights at the 2012 Jumpstart Foundry Demo Day in Nashville Tennessee last August, was how many startup teams actually had a product ready to go. Jamplify was one of those teams.

Jamplify crowdsources people for promoting the bands, brands and products  that they love. Rather than crowdsourcing for actual capital Jamplify is crowdsourcing for social capital and human capital, and then there’s the payoff.

Jamplify is like the kickstarter for fan based, crowd based musical promotion. As a fan of a band or a promotional ambassador you can agree to promote a band or musician. Based on your social graph and the amount of people that you actually touch with the campaigns short, trackable url you will become eligible for prizes from the band or artist you’re promoting.

What’s even cooler is you wouldn’t know it if you saw them pitch, but Jamplify was founded by two friends that met while they were coworkers in New York at Goldman Sachs. Andy Pickens and Moses Soyoola, left one of the most prestigious addresses on Wall Street and spent last summer iterating, developing, pivoting and reworking Jamplify to the product that it is today.

They’ve already started seeing great results. Business Insider reports that Jamplify was able to drive 190,000 views to a 15 year old pop stars YouTube video. What’s even more impressive is those 190,000 views were referred by 670 fans, meaning each fan drove about 280 views.

Their $600,000 round came from a number of unnamed Nashville and New York based investors and will allow the team to continue working on a product that’s been tried,proven and is developing traction.

Here’s their pitch video from the Jumpstart Foundry demo day:

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Working On Your Pitch Deck? You Gotta See This Pop! is a platform that allows anyone to create all in one pages on the internet. They can be used for a wide variety of things and it’s a lot better than trying to turn to tumblr or creating a word press blog for just one page.

For instance you could use it for a media kit, to brag about your favorite team, to keep people abreast of your schedule or to make a page for a yardsale. Businesses can use pop’s to show off business tips, circulate company wide information, or create all in one self contained pages.

Nick Holland, CEO and founder of is a Nashville startup leader and also the founder of CentreSource. To demonstrate the uses of the platform he created pops that Baker Donelson used to explain the legal necessities when launching a startup for the last cohort at Jumpstart Foundry.

Holland is currently working on his Series A round for and in doing that he started researching the best pitch decks. While he was doing his research he created this amazing pop highlighting some of the best pitch decks and other resources for startups that are looking to pitch.,nick holland, nashville,startup,, pitchdecksAs you can see from the screenshot above this pop is full of great information for any startup. (Just to note, Holland has a long career in web development and design and this particular pop wasn’t designed for design it was designed in less than an hour and to provide as much content as possible.).

When you hit the link below you can see Facebook’s first pitch deck, Color’s pitch deck, seedcamp’s deck and much more. We highly suggest you go over and check it out.

Click here to see the Pop: The Best Startup Pitch Decks