By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
It was a weeklong series of festivals in Music City last week, starting with the third edition of the “Health:Further Festival” (H:F), continuing with the sixth rendering of the always evolving “36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival,” and concluding with one focused on music.
We covered the first two with some articles on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but a variety of activities kept us from posting as much as we would have liked. Consider this a wrap-up of newsworthy items from the events last Monday through Thursday that were not previously spotlighted.
Bunker Labs Launches VIR:
WeWork and Bunker Labs teamed-up on Wednesday evening to celebrate the launch of Nashville’s inaugural “Veterans in Residence” first cohort of 10 veteran-founded companies. Commissioner Bob Rolfe of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and David Briley, the new Mayor of Nashville/Davidson County, joined the festivities.
“We are more and more committed to providing services needed by veterans to grow more businesses,” Briley told a packed room. “Nashville is an entrepreneurial place,” noting that Seeing Eye dogs, cotton candy and HCA are products of the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Briley punctuated his comments by offering to take any veteran starting a business out for a beer to learn more about their efforts which prompted this response from Rolfe: “If the Mayor is going to take you for a cold beer, I’ll take you to Lynchburg.” For those who might not know, Lynchburg is the home of Jack Daniels.
Launch Tennessee-funded Effort Going National:
Speaking of Bunker Labs, a pilot program funded by Launch Tennessee is now being expanded by the national Bunker Labs organization to all 50 states. The effort involved expanding the single Bunker Labs chapter in Nashville to four other cities – Chattanooga, Clarksville, Knoxville, and Memphis. It’s been so successful in Tennessee that Bunker Labs has adopted the model, secured separate funding, and created six regions across the country that will, in turn, help launch the new chapters.
“Our vision is to grow into something like Venture for America,” Blake Hogan told us. He’s the Executive Director and Founder of Bunker Labs Nashville. Amy Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of Venture for America, will keynote this month’s “Start-up Day Knoxville” on September 25.
JumpFund Supports Female Entrepreneurs with Special Lounge:
The women behind Chattanooga’s The JumpFund hosted a lounge that included food, refreshments, and special programming during the “36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival” last week. Kristina Montague, Managing Partner, says she saw something similar at the South by Southwest Conference (SXSW) and wanted to implement in Tennessee. Now that her team has raised its second fund, The JumpFund is looking for investments and wanted to use the lounge as what she described as “a landing place for everyone” as well as a place to “raise the bar of conversation around entrepreneurship.”
Tracy Warren’s New Start-up Wins H:F Pitch Event:
Many in the Knoxville entrepreneurial community will remember Tracy Warren, one of the Partners at Battelle Ventures. She also co-founded Oak Ridge-based NellOne Therapeutics with Bem Culiat. Tracy was in Music City for the H:F event, pitching her newest venture. It’s named Astarte Medical Partners. The company describes itself as “the first microbial health informatics company focused on improving health outcomes during the first thousand days of life.” Warren is Chief Executive Officer. And, for those who know her, you would not be surprised that Astarte Medical Partners won the pitch event.