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March 07, 2017 | Tom Ballard

“Nashville Startup Week” starts on Sunday, runs through Friday

Nashville Startup WeekBy Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

We’re just days away from the inaugural “Nashville Startup Week” that officially begins Sunday afternoon with the second annual IDEAcon event and concludes Friday night.

Over the span of five days starting Monday, organizers have planned afternoon “talks” and evening networking or pitch events with a special feature for the latter. Due to space limitations, pre-registration for the events is required.

“We’re pumped to tell you about our new format for the pitch competition happening Tuesday through Thursday night,” Co-Lead Sam Butler of Outset Data Corporation says. “In honor of March Madness, we will have a bracket style pitch competition.”

Attendees will be able to fill-out a bracket at the Monday night networking event or on Tuesday before the first pitch begins. There will be a prize for the winner of the bracket challenge, but Butler says “you’ll just have to show up to find out” what it is.

PYA, sponsor of, has signed-up as a sponsor of the week-long celebration. Other sponsors, described as “bootstrapped,” include Heritage Group, Launch Tennessee, The Iron Yard, and Utilize Health. There are many in-kind sponsors.

The afternoon talks run from 3 to 6:30 p.m. at the Baker Donelson Special Events Center in Downtown Nashville. Here’s a snapshot of the presenters each day:

  • Monday – Brad Holliday or GrowthX, Joe Maxwell of Cultivation Capital, Bryan Link of Advanced Financial, Phil Shmerling of InCrowd Capital, Austin Dirks of Greenlight Medical, Brian Church of Ideashares, and Betsy McHugh of Hurdl.
  • Tuesday – Jason Denenberg of Nourishwise, Staykov of Venture Grove, Jesse Bland of Heritage Capital, Andrew Bouldin of FCA, Devin Carty of Martin Ventures, John Davis of Council Capital, Chris Poole of Solidus, and Mike Butera.
  • Wednesday – Eric Satz of TN Community Ventures, Larry Scott of Scriptdrop, Ryan Macy of Satchel Health, and Cale Dodds (Music Artist).
  • Thursday – Chris Parks of Change Healthcare, Chris McMurty of Dart Data, and Hannah Pechan of Social Enterprise Alliance.
  • Friday – Charlie Brock and John Lanahan, both of Launch Tennessee; Alan Bentley of Vanderbilt; Goldner; Heather McBee of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center; JR Garrett of Phar MD; Jessica Harthcock of Utilize Health; Makenzie Stokel and Channing Morland, both of EVAMore; and Justin Philips.

It’s not all talks and discussion. There are also two networking events – Monday from 7 to 9 p.m. at Industrious, 1033 Demonbreun Street and Friday during the same time period on the third floor of the George Jones Bar, 128 Second Avenue North.

Then, on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, 15 entrepreneurs will be pitching their ideas for a chance to be in the finale scheduled for Thursday. Tuesday’s event is at Industrious, while Wednesday’s is set for The Entrepreneur Center, and Vanderbilt’s new The Wond’ry hosts the finals.

The complete agenda with registration links can be found here.


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