Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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February 27, 2022 | Tom Ballard

“News & Notes” feature spotlights something in every entrepreneurial ecosystem

We have a good deal of news from this past week for every entrepreneurial community that we spotlight in That includes Knoxville, Chattanooga, Cookeville, Kingsport and Nashville.


From Knoxville:

  • Real Good Kitchen (RGK), the shared kitchen and food entrepreneurship hub located on Magnolia Avenue just a few blocks east of Downtown Knoxville, has announced the return of its “First Friday Pop-Up Market.” With March 4 being the first Friday in the third month of 2022, you can participate in the event from 5 to 7 p.m. at RGK’s facility, 2004 East Magnolia Avenue. You can find a list of the 27 members who utilize the facility at this link.
  • In partnership with the Knoxville Chamber and Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, the Innov865 Alliance has released a list of the Knoxville region’s capital investment firms to help address the “access to capital” gap identified by Techstars’ “Assessment of the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem of the Greater Knoxville Metropolitan Area.” The list of the six Knoxville-based firms can be found here.
  • Knoxville’s Maker City group has issued an updated digital directory that can be found here.
  • Keith Waters, President of the Tennessee Inventors Association, announced that the first meeting of the organization in two years will be at 6:30 p.m. March 10 at the Karns Community Club Center in West Knoxville.
  • Silicon Valley Disposition will conduct a series of online auctions starting this week for the assets at Local Motors’ Knoxville microfactory. The start-up company sort of announced its closure in mid-January. The first multi-day auction starts tomorrow and runs through Thursday; the second is March 15–17. Those interested can find more details here. There’s also an interesting article from The Drive that provides insights into some of the items being auctioned.
  • Inhabit IQ, a Knoxville-based software company serving the residential, commercial and vacation rental management industries, has announced that tech veteran Ramon Casillas has joined the organization as Chief Technology Officer, reporting to Inhabit Chief Executive Officer Lisa Stinnett. Inhabit IQ has several private equity partners including Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Insight Partners, Greater Sum Ventures, and PSG. Click here to learn more about Casillas’ appointment.
  • RDI Technologies Inc. (RDI), which made headlines less than two weeks ago in this article, has announced the release of the newest Iris CMTM, a scalable condition monitoring system that connects the power of video-based Motion Amplification® technology with the ability to perform continuous condition monitoring. Click here to learn more.

From Kingsport:

The ribbon cutting for Kingsport’s new Innovation Village is set for 4 p.m. this Friday (March 4) at 225 East Center Street, Suite 115. We spotlighted the new initiative to support growth within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, remote workforce, creators, and innovators in the region in this November 2021 article. The initiative is a collaborative effort of Create Appalachia, East Tennessee State University’s Research Corporation, Kingsport’s Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Northeast State Community College and the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing, and Sync Space Entrepreneur Center.

From Cookeville:

The Biz Foundry will host a grand opening ceremony for its expanded space from 4 to 7 p.m. CST March 28. As described in our annual review and preview with the organization’s President that was captured in this January article, The Biz Foundry will double its size at its main office at 114 North Cedar Avenue in Cookeville, taking on the adjacent space. Brown says that will add eight private offices along with additional conference room and co-working space.

From Chattanooga:

Hamilton County residents looking to sharpen their computer skills have free opportunities to do so at The Edney Innovation Center each Wednesday starting day after tomorrow thanks to The Enterprise Center‘s “Tech Goes Home” initiative. The computer basics course series will take place each Wednesday in March from 6 to 9 p.m. and include tutorials on internet resources available, staying safe online, how to use Google apps and more. Following that, the office ready course series, designed for job seekers interested in building their workplace tech skills, will run from April 6 to May 4 on the same 6-9 p.m. schedule. Class size is limited and registration is required. For more information or to apply for the free classes, individuals should call 423/521-2071 or visit

From Nashville:

  • Phosphorus CybersecurityTM, a Nashville-headquartered provider of what it describes as “full scope security for IoT (Internet of Things) devices,” announced last week the completion of a $38 million Series A funding round led by SYN Ventures and MassMutual Ventures. In a news release, the start-up said the new capital will be used to fuel the company’s rapid growth and technology development for its Security of ThingsTM comprehensive solutions with a majority of the proceeds to be deployed into engineering talent to fortify its software, enhance the user experience and accelerate inbound demand. Continued strong demand for the company’s services, combined with an abundance of interest from investors, has enabled the start-up to double its workforce over the past year and stay true to its commitment to add 50 new jobs by 2024, the majority of which will be in software engineering.
  • A new report issued last week by the Washington, DC-based Economic Innovation Group showed Nashville ranked #8 in the country among the top 50 metro areas for the most robust growth since December 2019. Leading the pack of large cities is Austin, while New Orleans is the big metro area that shows the steepest decline.
  • State of Tennessee officials announced last week that Iron Galaxy Studios LLC officials will invest $950,000 to establish a new video game development studio in Nashville. As part of the expansion, the Chicago-headquartered company will create 108 new tech jobs over the next five years. Iron Galaxy’s Nashville game development studio, the company’s third in the country, will allow it to attract and pull new talent from the city’s rapidly growing tech community and create a stronger recruiting base for its existing offices in Chicago and Orlando. Founded in 2008, the company is the second largest independent video game developer in America with more than 65 shipped titles over 10 platforms and approximately 20 partners.
  • About 550 people attended the recent in-person awards ceremony hosted by the Greater Nashville Technology Council. Winners were: (1) “Technology Company of the Year” (Juice Analytics); (2) “Technology Start-up Company of the Year” (Mployer Advisor); (3) “CIO of the Year” (Randy Blue of DentaQuest); (4) “CTO of the Year” (Bill Simpson of Ncontracts); (5) “Cybersecurity Leader of the Year” (Jason Barnett of HCA Healthcare Inc.); (6) “Community Leader of the Year” (Suzi Earhart of McorpCX); (7) “Data Scientist of the Year” (Jason King of Xsolis); (8) “Emerging Leader of the Year” (Ali Bakhta of HPA – A Cognizant Company); (9) “Software Engineer of the Year” (Kevin Huber of Digital Reasoning); (10) “Diversity & Inclusion Advocate of the Year” (Sheila Gibson of HCA Healthcare Inc.); (11) “Diversity & Inclusion Initiative of the Year” (Culturally Tech); (12) “Innovator of the Year” (Aaron Montlary of HCA Healthcare Inc.); (13) “Product Manager of the Year” (Colleen Hoy of ENA); (14) “Tech Influencer of the Year” (Taylor Desseyn of Vaco); (15) “Technology Educator of the Year” (Emily Hines of the Central Magnet School); and (16) “Champion of the Year” (Charlie Yielding, Chief Executive Officer of G Squared Wireless).

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