By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
Here are more snapshots from this week’s “Southland” conference that ended its three-day run last night in Nashville.
ORNL SHOWCASES SOME OF ITS MOST PROMISING TECHNOLOGIES.
Mike Paulus, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Director of Technology Transfer, was busy promoting additive manufacturing technologies and a four-item “Technology Innovation Program” (TIP) portfolio at the lab’s space ion “Southland Village.”
As we have previously reported, ORNL is holding a series of webinars on its most promising technology areas including these four – a new way to cast alumina forming austentic stainless steels; a smart smoke alarm; a low-cost, pyrolytic carbon black composite anode for making lithium ion batteries; and a technology to make high performance lignin-based plastics. The TIP initiative will be the subject of a two-part series on teknovation.biz that launches tomorrow.
ORNL also showed-off a very small 3D printer as well as a full size go cart “printed” at its Manufacturing Demonstration Facility. The cart incorporated a unique carbon-reinforced polymer.
“As you increase volume, you have to worry about warping,” Paulus explained. This new technology and others, including a very large gantry that is being developed with Cincinnati Inc., will help ORNL work with Local Motors to “print” the first direct digital manufactured vehicle at the International Manufacturing Technology Show, set for September 8-13.
“GIGTANK” LEADER IS PUMPED.
CO.LAB’s seemingly always upbeat Mike Bradshaw is “pumped” about everything related to this year’s “GIGTANK.” The teams have come from as far away as Montreal and San Diego, but also include entrepreneurs from Atlanta (Georgia Tech), Huntsville, and Knoxville. “We have 10 of the brightest specialists,” he added of the individuals who bring expertise to multiple “GIGTANK” teams. “There are also rumors of investments already in some of the companies.”
VENDOR REGISTRY CONTINUES TO PURSUE FUNDING.
Brian Strong said the Knoxville-based start-up is “on the fund raising trail.” Noting that such a journey has its highs and not so highs, he added, “We’re on a peak right now. We’re getting really good feedback, and we have two active negotiations.” That’s music to the ears of any entrepreneur.
FIVEWORX MAKING GREAT PROGRESS.
“We have a tremendous amount of momentum,” Patrick Hunt of Fiveworx told us. Just last week, the company executed a software license with ORNL. “We saw a good deal of traffic (Tuesday), more than last year,” Hunt said. That’s important to a company focused on raising a seed round. “We’ve got a really good sales pipeline, and we have identified the talent (we want to bring on board) as soon as we raise the funds,” he added.
MUSIC COMPLIMENTS OF AC ENTERTAINMENT.
Music was an important part of “Southland,” and Knoxville-based AC Entertainment played a major role in bringing special bands to the event that comes just days ahead of its international “Bonnaro” festival a few miles down I-24.
OTHER MEDIA COVERAGE:
- Knoxville News Sentinel on Day 1.
- Nashville Business Journal on Al Gore Day 1.
- Nibletz on Al Gore on Day 1.
- The Tennessean on Day 1.
- USA Today on Al Gore.