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Teknovation News and Notes
March 26, 2023 | Tom Ballard

News & Notes | More events and announcements

Chattanooga's Fenix24, a cyber disaster recovery company, has raised $5 million in funding, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory is teaming with the National Energy Technology Laboratory to jointly explore a range of technology innovations for the Appalachian region.

From Knoxville:

  • NellOne Therapeutics Inc., a virtually integrated biopharmaceutical company commercializing a proprietary recombinant protein for treating inflammatory respiratory diseases, has announced that Wren S. Adkisson has joined its Scientific Advisory Board. She’s described as a  highly accomplished nurse practitioner with a wealth of clinical and research experience in critical care patient settings at some of the top hospitals in the U.S. She has front-line experience treating hundreds of patients with COVID-19, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and other critical care diseases.
  • Warren Neel, the longtime former Dean of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has died. He led the academic unit, now known as the Haslam College of Business, for a quarter of a century along with leaves of absence to serve as a State Commissioner during the administrations of two Republican Governors. Neel was 85 years old. Here’s a link to his obituary.

From Maryville:

The Knoxville Electric Vehicle Association (KEVA), Drive Electric Tennessee (DET) and Maryville College are working together to host a fun and informative event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT on April 19. It is the “Blount County Drive Electric Earth Day Celebration” set for the college campus. During the tqo-hour event, those attending will be able to talk directly with electric vehicle (EV) owners about their real world experiences with electric vehicles such as: (1) what it’s like to take a long road trip in an electric car; and (2) what about maintenance?

From Chattanooga:

Fenix24, a cyber disaster recovery company, has raised $5 million in funding in a round led by Eos Venture Partners. The company intends to use the funds to scale operations to meet growing market demand for ransomware response and recovery.

Led by Chief Executive Officer Mark Grazman, Fenix24, a sister company of Conversant Group, provides a professional cybersecurity force focused exclusively on restoring companies after cyber breach events. With Fenix24, global cyber carriers, brokers and reinsurers can empower policyholders and target the most critical, damaging parts of a ransomware attack post-breach.

From Cookeville:

Two professors at Tennessee Tech University are the latest recipients of a major grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for their research on clean energy solutions. Jiahong Zhu, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Ying Zhang, also a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director for the Center for Manufacturing Research, were awarded $1 million from the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management for their work repurposing coal and coal waste to develop low-cost advanced conductors for clean energy technologies. Their research was one of only six projects nationwide selected for funding under the Department of Energy initiative, and the only in Tennessee.

From Johnson City:

John Perez, Managing Director of Ballad Ventures, recently participated in a panel discussion about healthcare partnerships. Organized by Life Science Nation, the session brought together industry leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs to discuss the latest trends and opportunities in healthcare innovation. Perez shared guidance for start-ups navigating a healthcare system, the importance of building strong relationships with internal stakeholders, and how the right market fit can drive innovative solutions within an organization. The panel was moderated by Mayank Taneja, Director of Venture Investments for OSF Healthcare Ventures, and also included Gaye Bok, Partner with Artificial Intelligence and Digital Innovation Fund; Adam Hunke, Principal at Banner Venture Group; and Jack Gomer, Principal with MultiCare Capital Partners.

From Kingsport:

The Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously last week to ask that talks between NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership and the Northeast Tennessee Regional Hub continue after the Sullivan County Commission withdrew its support last month. According to an article in the Kingsport Times News, NETWORKS acts as the economic development agency for all of Sullivan County, while NETNHub was created in 2022 by business and community leaders as a way to look at economic development regionally within an eight-county footprint. The article notes that the city contributes $450,000 to NETWORKS annually which is slightly more than a third of its yearly budget.

From Oak Ridge:

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is teaming with the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) to jointly explore a range of technology innovations for carbon management and strategies for economic development and sustainable energy transitions in the Appalachian region. Under the recently executed agreement, ORNL and NETL intend to jointly explore:

  • Development and demonstration of materials and technologies for carbon capture and utilization, in particular direct air capture;
  • Development of best practices for carbon dioxide removal, including measurement, reporting, and verification, and advanced data analytics to develop technologies and practices focusing on information, automation, monitoring, computation, sensing, modeling, and networking;
  • Research, development, demonstration, and commercialization of sustainable technologies for production, extraction, separation and use of critical minerals, to ensure long-term secure and sustainable domestic supply chains;
  • Creation of alternative uses of coal, including use as a precursor for manufacturing high value-added products;
  • Development of technologies, including clean advanced manufacturing technologies with emphasis on those that can enable the decarbonization of the energy, industrial, transportation and buildings sectors; and
  • Development and implementation of strategies to enable economic development and sustainable energy transitions in the Appalachian region.

From Nashville:

Powers Gymnastics, a youth sports, facilities, equipment and gymnastics program provider, raised $16.8 million in Series A funding round led by Relevance Ventures. With this funding, the company plans to continue its mission of providing accessible, state-of-the-art gymnastics facilities, which includes the manufacturing of Ninja Warrior obstacles and providing comprehensive insurance solutions for gym owners.


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