iQuantifi Launches to Manage Your Finances Virtually



What is your startup called?


incontent3What’s the story behind your idea?

iQuantifi was founded by Tom and Karen White.  Tom is an investment adviser who believes technology can help millions of millennials and young families achieve their goals.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

Tom White – Founder  and CEO, investment adviser who has founded and sold two investment advisory firms.

Karen White – Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Client service and product development expert formerly at CAP Partners.

Where are you based?

Nashville, TN

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

Active, but more focused on healthcare.

What problem do you solve?

We provide comprehensive financial advice to young families and millennials that don’t know what to do with their finances and cannot afford or do not qualify to work with an advisor.

Why now?

It’s time.  Millennials will be the first generation that will be more comfortable reviewing and planning their finances through technology than with a live person.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

Won Best of Show at Finovate. Completed alpha stage. Public launch.

What are your next milestones?

Finish raise of $1 million and 10,000 users

Where can people find out more?

Any social media links you want to share?


Nashville-based Hack_App Makes it Easy to Find and Apply to Boot Camps


coding schools

With the massive shift in the economy in the last few years, many adults have found themselves without the skills they need to be successful. Even those with steady jobs feel the itch to learn something new or stay relevant.

Because of that, there have been an explosion of so-called “boot camps.” Dev Bootcamp, General Assembly, and Hack Reactor are just a few examples.

rsz_incontentad2But, the process of finding and applying to all those schools can be a pain. So, John Reagan created hack_app to streamline the process.

Check out our Q&A with John below, and if you’re looking for a career change, click through to see if hack_app can help you do it.

What is your startup called?

We’re called hack_app.  We provide a common application and admissions software for career accelerators, schools that provide 2-6 month intensive skill development courses like Dev Bootcamp, General Assembly, and Hack Reactor.

What’s the story behind your idea?

Last summer our CEO, John Reagan, was looking to change up and accelerate his career when he first heard about career accelerators.  The prospect of totally changing his career and life in under three months was very intriguing.  So he started researching and applying to web development career accelerators and was extremely excited to learn a whole new skill set that would better prepare him for the startup world.

During the search and application process John Reagan was frustrated by the lack of accessible, accurate information about the different career accelerators and also by the amount of time it took him to complete several different applications that asked very similar, but slightly different questions.  So John Reagan had the vision of a common application service that would allow applicants like himself to easily apply to multiple schools and a directory and information hub that would give potential students accurate, updated information to help them make informed decisions about where to go to school.

He started calling schools and getting input on the concept and a lot of positive feedback so he decided to pursue the idea and his co-founder, Stephen came onboard as well.  John Reagan went to school at MakerSquare in Austin and got a crash course in web development.  During that time we were learning about the industry and we were working on hack_app both inside and outside of the course.

After MakerSquare, John Reagan started working on hack_app full-time, and then Stephen left his job to move to Nashville and work on hack_app full-time in December.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

John Reagan Moore – CEO

John Reagan has a background in economics and project management.  He has been interested in entrepreneurship since college and had worked on a couple ideas and small business before hack_app.  He was working as a project manager at a non-profit before taking the leap into a career accelerator and starting hack_app.

Stephen Watkins – CTO

Stephen has been writing code since before he could spell development.  He studied CS in college and spent a few years as a developer with a national defense contractor before heading to a web development job at the Florida non-profit where he and John Reagan met.

Where are you based?

Music City, USA. (Nashville, TN)

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

We just recently moved to Nashville, so our experience is pretty limited, but we have been really welcomed by the community here.  We work out of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and there is a fantastic community of active founders and mentors there, willing to listen and help.  There is definitely a strong healthcare influence on the startup scene here, but I think it is also a great and rapidly improving place for tech and consumer startups as well.

What problem do you solve?

Admissions Time Sink

Both career accelerators and their students spend a lot of time on admissions.  Students have to write a lot of applications, and school administrators have to read a lot more.  The admissions process is a massive time sink for schools.  We are saving both the students a lot of time by enabling the students to apply to a lot of schools while still only filling out one application.  We are saving the schools a lot of time as well by streamlining their admissions flow, and soon we will be offering ways to prescreen applicants.

School Marketing Friction

Schools also face the problem of friction between the moment a student is first interested in them on a directory site and capturing their information and starting the marketing and admissions process.

We offer a platform for schools to market themselves on a level playing field and for students to identify the differentiators that matter to them.  We make the admissions process smoother with our common application, and our upcoming admissions management system will make the entire admissions process significantly easier for both schools and students.

Why now?

Higher education is broken, and too big and slow to adjust to the needs of the students and our national economy.  Career accelerators are exploding across the planet with industry growth well over 1000% in 2013.  These new schools need a place to get their message out, and software to help their schools and the industry continue to grow efficiently.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

  • In December we raised a seed round to help us get this thing off the ground.

  • We just added our 15th member school.  This is exciting for us because every new school we add increase our value both to students and schools.

  • In February we had our first students go all the way through the system.

What are your next milestones?

  • Completing a comprehensive admissions system.  This is pretty big project and will add enormous value for our member schools.  The new system will keep the entire admission cycle, from initial contact to tuition payment on our site.  It will give schools a much clearer picture of their situation and allow for excellent admissions analytics.

  • Accelerator.  As first time founders we think we could really benefit from the mentorship and connections from a good startup accelerator program.  We are on the lookout for one that would be a good fit for us, and applying to a few programs.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share? That’s our main site, people can also read our blog at and follow us on Twitter: @hack_app.

Do we need more photo-sharing apps? Flipbook thinks so.

Flipbook appThe photo-sharing market is pretty full. (And, yes, that’s the understatement of the year.)

But, with billion dollar valuations and acquisition offers on the table, we expect to see quite a few more before the frenzy dies down. The latest hails from Nashville, TN, and is founded by a couple of recent Vanderbilt graduates.

Will Schreiber and McArthur Gill founded Flipbook because they see a huge hole in the messaging/photosharing market. You can either chat with a group (WhatsApp/GroupMe) or post pictures (Instagram/Snapchat), but it’s hard to do both on any one platform. They created Flipbook with the ephemeral nature of  Snapchat but the group chatting capabilities of the chat apps.

Does the market really need another photosharing app? Snapchat continues to grow, and Instagram doesn’t seem to be going away. But, who knows? More surprising things have happened.

Check out our Q&A with Flipbook below. Then download the app and let us know what you think.

What is your startup called?


Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

Will Schreiber and I, McArthur Gill, are the two co-founders.  We are both developers and have worked together for years.  During our last semester at Vanderbilt (Spring 2013), we were accepted into the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, where we created Stadium Stock Exchange presented by Nissan ( Our other notable product is RageChill, a music discovery engine (

Where are you based?

Nashville, TN.

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

The startup scene in Nashville is budding. The Nashville Entrepreneur Center has really helped founders connect with mentors and investors, giving companies a strong foundation on which to grow.

What problem do you solve?

People love to express themselves and connect through the sharing of photos. As of now, Snapchat does not allow for group communication and Instagram publishes photos to all of your followers. Flipbook gives users a way to share photos to a group, while still maintaining the ephemeral nature of Snapchat. By allowing users to copy images posted to their group and overlay their own text and drawings, Flipbook gives users a photo-based conversation platform.

Why now?

Right now, the two biggest players in the photo-sharing space focus on either peer-to-peer sharing or public-sharing. The conversation about photos then happens on a different platform (people revert to texting in order discuss photos they see on these other platforms, sharing these opinions with a group of friends). We have created a communication platform allowing users to both post photos and discuss them within their circle of friends, all on the same platform.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

We have developed an iPhone app, which was released on Tuesday. In less than a week since our launch, we have created a very active user base and seen a huge growth in both number of users and number of photos shared.

What are your next milestones?

Continue to refine and iterate the product, grow the user base, and develop an Android app.

Photosharing apps are pretty prevalent. Why is Flipbook going to compete with the big SV-based apps?

Flipbook gives people a platform to share and discuss their photos within their groups of friends. As simple as that sounds, right now there is not a good platform on which to do that. WhatsApp and GroupMe are not photo-centric. Snapchat and Instragram do not provide cohesive groups. Flipbook provides both of these and also gives users the ability to capture a photo posted to their group, overlay their own text and drawings, and continue the conversation.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

Start-Up Founders Beware

Startups Beware, Robert Hartline, Call Proof, Startup Tips, Nashville startup

The average underperformer lasts 10 months in the average organization. Imagine the amount in salary, benefits, and training that costs you. The numbers are staggering. That is money you could be putting into other pieces of your organization to actually make you money as opposed to helping pay for someone’s Candy Crush habit. If someone is underperforming and can’t seem to fix it, it benefits you and the company to simply part ways.

When that underperformer is in sales, you could be damaging your company’s reputation even more than you realize.

Here are some tips to keep in mind while hiring and running a team of Sales Reps:

  • If you interview someone who seems too good to be true, they probably are. Although there is the occasional exception, a good sales guy generally isn’t looking for a job. When their talk and ego are as big as the city they’re selling in, chances are they will never sell anything.
  • beware1Before you start the process of training a new sales rep, have them dive right into the action. You’ve never really seen this person in action, and the only way to ensure it’s really worth putting all of your time into them, is to see if they’re really cut out for the position. Give them some of your worst leads, the ones you know for a fact will not purchase your product or service. The goal here is not to watch them fail; it’s to see how they react. If they dive right in and can brush off being rejected and make the next call with the same drive and energy as the first, you know this person may be just what you need. Once they’ve proven themselves, you can then train them to the fullest extent. If you get someone who refuses to try or that gets overwhelmed, they probably won’t make it in your company anyway.
  • Your salesperson is saying something right now in an online demo or appointment that can turn off a prospect, and if your team keeps saying it, you’ll waste good opportunities. You should record demos, marketing, and follow up calls with customers; this will prevent wasteful practices that will turn off possible customers. Most people will continue to make mistakes, not because they want to, but because no one is coaching them the right way. Record them and review often at first, and every now and then later.
  • As the founder of a start-up it is very easy to get sucked into hiring sales reps that may not necessarily be the right fit for what you’re looking for. It’s important to take your time and hire the right people. Resources when starting up are generally limited, and wasting them on people who aren’t right for you could prove costly in the long run. Consider asking a mentor or fellow business person to assist in the second interview, as a second opinion, to something you may have missed in the initial interview.


  • beware2A Salesperson working in a start-up is very different than someone coming from an organization with a lot of resources. Be careful with someone with a lot of experience from a fortune 500 company where they got spoon-fed.  You are looking for someone who is a self starter, who doesn’t need hand holding.  If you are in the lean start-up phase, you don’t have a sales manager to oversee that person.  You’re the founder, building your product and looking at the big picture, not making sure that your sales person is out marketing your product.  Think about outsourcing your sales management to a person that works outside your company to only manage daily activity so that they stay on track.  A sales manager working for you on a part time basis should spend about an hour a week on the phone with you and your salesperson just covering activity.  You can find experienced professional sales managers for one sales person for about $400-600 a month.  Many of these people are retired but love mentoring sales people and can provide your staff a coach to reach out to and get feedback.
  • Don’t be afraid of the recent graduates coming right out of school.  They can be molded into great salespeople and can be very coachable, as long as they’re not planted in your start-up and forgotten about.  You will need to nurture them and keep them challenged and motivated.


Remember, accountability and performance are everything when looking for and managing a sales reps. Don’t be the next victim of a bad salesperson.

Robert Hartline, the founder of CallProof, created CallProof to help solve a problem he saw in his company each and every day. He observed that there was no accountability for day-to-day sales activity and decided to build an app to create just that, accountability.



Put Congress In Your Pocket With This Nashville Startup

PocketCongress, Nashville startup, startup interview

With smartphones in the pockets of tens of millions of people, information is extremely easy to obtain. You don’t even need to wait to get home to check something on the internet. You just reach into your pocket and hit Google or whatever your favorite information source is.

The information age, the internet age ,and now the mobile age has made government more accessible, and with that accessibility becomes accountability. Long gone are the days that any Congressman or other elected official can just sneak something passed the people.  When a bill is before Congress, voted on, or signed, you can find all the information about it online. You can look it up on your phone as well.

Now a Nashville Startup called PocketCongress is looking to streamline all that information into an easy-to-use app.  SouthernAlpha reports that David Swift was watching the news one night and wanted to look up further information on some legislation that was just reported on. He found the process of finding that information more cumbersome than he thought it should be. To make it easier he created PocketCongress.

We talk with Swift in the interview below.

What is your startup called?

Pocket Congress

What does your company do?

We are an easily accessible research tool for Congressional information. Search various ways in both legislation and legislator fields.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds

I, David Swift, am a local business owner in Nashville and am constantly looking to become more involved in the tech world. I concocted this idea in early 2011 and refined it over the next few years. In August of last year, I connected with an old high school classmate, Joey Vadala. Joey is a long-time techie and computer genius, even since the high school days. He’s built a few apps and I was impressed. Looking for someone who would build the app for profit equity AND pull off a simplistic, usable UI/UX, Joey was a great fit. Joey absolutely crushed the fine design details and construction of the app. I handle the business aspect of things, marketing, etc. and Joey is working on 2.0 for Pocket Congress.

Where are you based?

Nashville, TN

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

Fantastic. There’s a lot of old money here, nearly all of it concentrated on the health care industry. That tide is slowly turning with all kinds of tech start ups popping up here and there. The new building of the Entrepreneur Center is magnifying a lot of start ups that wouldn’t get the attention otherwise.

What problem do you solve?

We solve the lack of true government transparency and the inability for the casual news-watcher to gather any real content on what’s being reported on their TV, what’s being voted on in their capital, and ultimately what’s affecting their lives on a daily basis. The entire concept of Pocket Congress is to further true government transparency and to aid in involving the casual political observer. The app is easy enough to navigate for a casual news watcher, but has enough information for a political junkie. The information is out there and is researchable, but not easily and quickly. Pocket Congress allows not only quick research & reference, but also tracking of legislation and social sharing of all information. Real government accountability and transparency must be done by the people, not the government.

Our app searches both Members and Legislation. In Members, one can search via: current location, name, ZIP code, committee, state, or browse. In Legislation, one can search via: HOT bills, number, locally sponsored, keyword, recent actions, and type. You can read actual legislation via .pdf. Anyone can interact with local senators and representatives by easily accessing their Twitter feed, biography, district map, committees, and all their social media outlets. One of my favorite features is the ability to tweet directly to a senator, send them an email, or call their office directly from the app.

Why now?

We need it now more than ever. (How many times have you heard that?) There are now more iPhone users in existence now than ever before. As a country, that’s more ready access than has ever been provided in the past. Never has Congressional members and the legislation they pass been so easy to access and share. Our phones are always with us, so an app is truly the timeliest way to access this type of information and a real vehicle for government transparency.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

We have been featured in SouthernAlpha’s blog. We are followed on Twitter by a few Washington Post journalists, and have been retweeted by Congressional members, most notably Darrell Issa. After being in the App Store for 5 days, Apple chose us as a New and Noteworthy app in the Reference section. We currently headline the Reference section in the App Store.

What are your next milestones?

A segment on Mike Huckabee on FOX. We have a connection to him particularly, as I worked with him personally on his last book signing tour over a course of three weeks. He’s a large government transparency advocate. We would then like to leverage that appearance to other media outlets, including other politically-charged TV shows.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?


iTunes short URL:

Joey’s personal page:




Startups In The Fastlane: Jumpstart Foundry Startup ZingFin


One startup is tackling personal investment by polling the best social media information to help anyone have a better grasp on investing. ZingFin is currently accelerating in Nashville, Tennessee at JumpStart Foundry, and we’ve got them in the Fastlane.

Accelerators are a big part of the startup ecosystem globally. Good accelerators aren’t always rosy. They pick the best of the best in their application phase, and then through mentorship and in-depth insight, they turn the idea upside down to get it to market.

ZingFin is one of the teams that will graduate from Jumpstart Foundry on August 22nd. The JSF demo day is often standing room only with over 400 in attendance, so pressure is on for all of the startups. For ZingFin though, the pressure may be greater.

They’ve put together a product that integrates social media into a dashboard that helps investors make more educated decisions for their personal investment portfolios. Hopefully the room full of investors will be chomping at the bit to try out this new product. Some of the accelerator’s investment backers, like Vic Gatto of the Solidus Company, have already been spreading Zingfin out to their social networks.

Zingfin, Jumpstart Foundry, Nashville Startup, Startups In The FastlaneSo what does ZingFin do exactly?

They stay on top of trending stocks. “Zingfin’s text analytics filter the more relevant conversations that impact stocks on social media channels such as Twitter® and Stockwits®. You’ll make sense of the aggregate market trends before anyone else sees them coming,” the company says on their website. They also tout the fact that Cornell researchers have found that Twitter mood predicts the stock market at an accuracy of 87.6% in predicting the up and down changes in closing values of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

They also use social media to help identify industry and opinion leaders and they also connect the dots with “indepth visualizations”.

To find out more we talked with Balaji Viswanathan, co-founder of ZingFin in our Startups In The Fastlane interview. Check out the interview below.

Where is your startup originally from? 

Boston, MA

Tell us about your current team?  

We are a team of 3 – Balaji, Manju, Anup. Balaji has a MS in Computer Science and worked for Microsoft Redmond as a developer for 4 years. Balaji is the CEO and manages the technology execution. Manju is an electronics engineer and she has a background in operations and database management. She is the COO and manages the operations & administration. Anup has an MBA and has expertise in user experience & product development.

What does your startup do?  

We help investors be in the know of market trends and pick the right stocks based on social sentiments.

What are your goals for the accelerator program?  

To fine-tune product and get the product-market fit.

What’s one thing you’ve learned in the accelerator? 

To perfect on that one thing that will gain us the initial advantage. We can always scale from that point.

What’s the hardest piece of advice you’ve had to stomach so far? 

Really making the product focus.

What is your goal for the day after demo day? 

To hunt for angels who can help us move to the next stage.

Why did you choose this accelerator?      

The mentoring is hands-on and Nashville is a city that is on rise.

If you relocated for the accelerator are you staying in your new city?     

We moved from Boston. We might temporarily move back to Boston and then will keep traveling back and forth. Depending on our funding we will decide on the final location.

 What’s one thing you learned about an accelerator that you didn’t know when you applied? 

The fact that Jumpstart has so many mentors who are so interested in getting us successful.

Where can people find out more?      

Here is our landing page:, Our blog is at

What’s your twitter handle?  


Find out more about JumpStart Foundry here. 


Nashville Is Great. Ohio Is Too. This Guy Is Oblivious.

Cleveland Startup, Nashville Startup, startup, startups, Ohio, Tennessee

On Saturday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a guest post by Dr. Jeffery Canter. Canter is a retired professor of molecular physiology and biophysics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a consultant for many healthcare startups in Nashville.

Apparently Canter lived  in Ohio before Nashville. In his piece Canter criticizes Ohio as a whole and offers a laundry list of tips to keep it’s talent, which he says Ohio is giving to Tennessee for free. All of this is based on people Canter has met who relocated to Nashville to launch their businesses. Canter makes a point that Ohio has paid for these people twice:  “First, you paid for educations that were far better than ones these new Tennesseans would have received in Nashville. Second, these productive young people removed themselves from your tax base and left you behind to pay even higher taxes.”

At Nibletz our mission is clear: to give a voice to startups everywhere else.  With offices in both Memphis and Cincinnati, we know a lot about the ecosystems of each state.

Tennessee has an impressive startup ecosystem. They were the second state region in the Startup America Partnership. There are 9 accelerator regions across the state that are administered by a public private partnership called Launch Tennessee. There are several incubator and accelerator programs, with the biggest being GigTank (Chattanooga), Jumpstart Foundry (Nashville), Seed Hatchery (Memphis), and Zeroto510 (also Memphis).

If you think there’s a lot of entrepreneurial and startup activity in Tennessee, you’re absolutely right, but some believe that Ohio has even more going on.

For starters the Brandery in Cincinnati is one of the top 10 startup accelerators in the country. Cincinnati also has the new Cintrifuse initiative, CincyTech for capital, and regularly holds events like Startup Weekend.

Traveling north, Columbus also has it’s share of exciting startup activities and initiatives. Columbus is home to not one but three accelerators; 1492, 10x, and the Founder’s Factory. TechColumbus is one of the driving forces behind the startup scene, and there are also plenty of resources for capital.

Move a little further north to Cleveland and there’s still NO shortage of startup activity. In fact the nationwide non-profit startup acceleration organization, Jumpstart Inc, is headquartered in Cleveland. Then again there’s not just one but two startup accelerators: LaunchHouse and the new FlashStarts founded by Cleveland serial entrepreneur Charles Stack.



So, what makes a good ecosystem?

Gary Hardin at Knoxville startup BounceIt tweeted us the other day, after we ran Entrepreneur Magazine’s 7 best places to startup. Hardin thought that Tennessee should be on that list because there’s no income tax. Makes logical sense, right? Maybe.

As all of our readers know, during the nationwide sneaker strapped road trip, we’ve seen nearly 100 different startup ecosystems in person and are often asked where would we move if we could go anywhere. We chose Memphis, and at that time we had no idea there was no income tax in Tennessee.

When a startup chooses an accelerator or to relocate for one reason or the other, it’s typically resource or industry related. Nashville is hot for medical devices (you’re probably thinking music, but medical devices definitely prevail). If I needed help with branding, I’d move to Cincinnati; automotive, yes we’d still move to Detroit, Government relations or government sales, DC and so on.

Native Memphian Sarah Lacy penned a column just days after her trip to Nashville’s Southland conference entitled “Memo to non-Valley, non-NYC ecosystems: No one you want cares about cost of living.” And guess what, they don’t. Facebook Co-Founder Dustin Moskovitz also says he wouldn’t move somewhere just for optimized taxes. In fact he said this 13 months before Lacy’s article.

Are the Plain Dealer and Dr. Canter just oblivious to what’s going on around them in the startup space?

There are two certain things certain in life: death and taxes. In general, startups are oblivious to both.

Where ever you are, you need to make plans to attend this startup conference for startups everywhere else.






Image credits: Nashville  Cleveland

We Found The Future Of Loyalty & Rewards At Southland

Facedeals, Nashville startup,startup,Southland

Loyalty and rewards, loyalty and rewards, loyalty and rewards. It’s like a broken record. Everyone thinks they’ve stumbled onto the next big thing with loyalty and rewards. But maybe Nashville-based startup Facedeals actually has.

Facedeals uses a 100% opt-in facial recognition platform that is non-obtrusive to facilitate in person loyalty and rewards in a very passive way.

Users simply sign up for a Facedeals account using Facebook, and the magic starts. When that person walks into an establishment using Facedeals, their face will be captured using an eye-level, inconspicuous camera. In fact, the facial recognition software in the camera can capture the person’s image at their normal pace. They don’t have to do anything but simply walk past it.

The backend software in Facedeals already knows what that user likes and doesn’t like and their habits when patronizing a Facedeals establishment. Facedeals also specializes in relevance as co-founder David McMullen told 60 Minutes’ Leslie Stahl in this interview that aired last month.

In that 60 Minutes piece, McMullen and Stahl walked into a participating merchant, and as they were getting ready to decide what to order, Stahl was delivered a deal to purchase a Ceasar Salad and get a free Diet Coke. Both items, were things that Stahl actually likes. McMullen was offered a different deal on a local beer that he likes.

The secret to this relevance is that when users opt-in to Facedeals and let the service see their Facebook page, it builds a profile based on things they’ve liked..

McMullen told us (and 60 minutes) that the beauty behind Facedeals is that the deals are coming when you’re ready to make a purchase and not in an email first thing in the morning.

The company is working with a variety of different merchants including retail, restaurants, and bars. The robust back-end makes it the easiest way to do loyalty and rewards for any business. In fact they don’t have to do much of anything except let the customer redeem the deal.

Check out our own interview with McMullen from the Southland conference in Nashville.

You can find out more about Facedeals here at

Here’s more of our Southland coverage.


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.


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.

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

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