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Teknovation News and Notes
December 04, 2023 | Tom Ballard

News & Notes | 200 applicants choose Techstars Knoxville as #1 or #2

Pete Nelson, President of AgLaunch, is one of the speakers during the first day of the SBA's virtual "2023 Innovation Ecosystem Summit" set for next week.

From Knoxville:

Brandon Bruce, Managing Director of the “Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator,” reports that exactly 200 applications were received for the third cohort by Wednesday’s deadline. “About half of the applicants listed ‘Industries of the Future’ as their primary preference,” he said. “For these applications, we get first dibs on outreach. For the other half, we’re the alternate preference. We can reach out to them after two weeks and after speaking with the primary program to verify a warm handoff.”

Bruce said that the next step in the selection process is scheduling 30-minute initial interviews with the roughly top 40 applicants that he and his team have judged to be the best fits.

The three-month accelerator begins March 11, and Bruce and his team are planning a public event to introduce the participants to the community the next week. “Demo Day” is June 6.

Another from Knoxville:

Keeton Ross, Co-Founder and President of Holocene Climate Corporation, has been named to the latest “Forbes 30 Under 30” listing in the energy category. He is one 0f 600 individuals selected from more than 11,000 candidates on factors including funding, revenue, social impact, inventiveness and potential.

Ross joined Holocene, a member of the 2022 cohort of the “Innovation Crossroads” program operated by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), in March. The start-up is developing a technology to ultimately remove gigatons of carbon dioxide from the air.

The candidates were evaluated by a panel of judges in the energy sector, featuring Nathalie Capati, a 2019 30 Under 30 lister and Co-Founder of Jasmine Energy; Aaron Jagdfeld, Founder of energy tech company Generac; Sarah Sclarsic, Co-Founder of venture firm Voyager VC; and Dr. Etosha Cave, Founder of chemical company Twelve.

From Los Angeles but with Statewide Implications:

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council and the University of Tennessee’s Spark Innovation Center have partnered with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) to provide Tennessee cleantech start-ups with additional sources of debt capital to support their growth.

As described during TAEBC’s recent “Opportunities in Energy” forum, the non-dilutive loans can help support a start-up’s working capital and cash flow needs. For those who were not able to attend the event or need a refresher, there will be a virtual event from 4 to 4:30 p.m. EST December 13 where the program will be discussed.

To register, click here.

From Oak Ridge:

Four scientists affiliated with ORNL were named Battelle Distinguished Inventors during the lab’s annual Innovation Awards event last week in recognition of each being granted 14 or more U.S. patents. The honorees join an elite group of inventors recognized by Battelle, the Columbus, OH, research firm that co-manages the lab through the University of Tennessee (UT)-Battelle partnership. Since UT-Battelle began managing ORNL in 2000, 97 ORNL researchers have reached this milestone.

The latest honorees are:

  • Justin Baba, Associate Research Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University, Associate Director of the Vanderbilt Biophotonics Center, and an Engineering Unleashed Fellow. He worked at ORNL from 2003 to 2018, developing and advancing biomedical applications.
  • Brian Davison, an ORNL Corporate Fellow and leading researcher in renewable biofuels and biomaterials.
  • James Kiggans, a former ORNL Research Scientist in metals and ceramics who retired in 2020 after 44 years and died in January 2022 at the age of 69.
  • Vlastimil Kunc, Section Head for Composites Science and Technology in the Manufacturing Science Division and Adjunct Professor at Purdue University.

Click here to learn more about their work.

From Memphis:

Pete Nelson, President of AgLaunch, is one of the speakers during the first day of the virtual “2023 Innovation Ecosystem Summit” set for next week. Hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the event runs from 11 a.m. to almost 5 p.m. EST December 13 and 14.

Nelson is one of three participants on a panel titled “Empowering Entrepreneurship in Rural Ecosystems.” It begins at 1:50 p.m. EST December 13 and also includes Obum Ukabam, Associate Director of OK Catalyst, and Anna Lucas, Director of SBA’s Office of Rural Affairs. 

Other topics being discussed include:

  • “Small Businesses and the Semiconductor Industry”;
  • “The Impact of COVID-Recovery Programs on Local Innovation Ecosystems”;
  • “Building Partnerships Across the Innovation Ecosystem: SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition”;
  • “Fueling Innovation: America’s Seed Fund and ESO Collaboration”;
  • “Build State Support for your Innovation Ecosystem”;
  • “The Small Business Capital Journey”;
  • “Where are the Gaps in Federal Support for Innovation Ecosystem Builders?”;
  • “Lab to Market – Supporting Entrepreneurship at HBCUs and MSIs”; and
  • “Quantifying Impact as an ESO.”

Registration is free at this link.

From Nashville:

Local Infusion, a provider of tech enabled infusion centers, raised $10 million in Series A funding in a round led by Blisce with participation from Meridian Street Capital and existing investors. The company intends to use the funds to expand its footprint further in the Northeast U.S. with 16 additional centers in four new states, hire key leadership positions across operations, payor partnerships, strategic finance, business development and marketing, and invest in proprietary machine learning technologies to power referral and care coordination.

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