By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
The autoXLR8R entrepreneurs who travelled the longest distance to participate are keeping their start-up in Tennessee.
As reported in our “Launch Day” story, Dennis Wong and Nicholas Ng are Chinese nationals with a start-up named Cyberloop. They literally arrived at the Nashville International Airport the morning that the autoXLR8R started – Wong from Canada and Ng from Hong Kong 27 hours after he left his home.
We learned at Wednesday’s “Road Show” finale in Oak Ridge that Ng is moving to Cookeville where he will align with The Biz Foundry.
“We’re handing him off to Jeff Brown and The Biz Foundry team,” said Jack Sisk, autoXLR8R Program Director. “They will continue his acceleration.”
It’s a move that Ng views as very positive, based on his introductory comments before he pitched his company’s technology.
Speaking of Sisk, we asked our long-time friend his thoughts on the 2014 accelerator.
“I’m happy, but man, I’m tired,” he said.
Most important for Sisk were some of the tangible results. He said two technologies that the teams were exploring will be licensed, and three of the four interns involved with the start-ups will continue to work with their company founders after the students return to college.
“One of the interns got an equity stake,” Sisk noted proudly.
His views were echoed by Tech 20/20’s Shawn Carson, who did much of the instruction and said he was headed for a long hike in the woods on Thursday.
For Carson, this year’s unique approach – students matched with entrepreneurs – was most rewarding.
“I was skeptical about plugging students in,” he said. “I was amazed (at their involvement). They owned these businesses. It renewed my faith in plugging students into start-ups.”