Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
April 10, 2022 | Tom Ballard

Part 1 of “News & Notes” includes recognitions and additions

We are publishing this week’s “News & Notes” in two parts due to the number of items.

From Knoxville:

  • Skintelligent and Be Global Safety, two of the participants in the inaugural “Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator,” were listed as two of 88 companies presenting at last week’s “Venture Connect” conference. Both use artificial intelligence (AI) for different purposes. In the case of Skintelligent, it is to analyze a range of skin conditions based on a smartphone photo, while Be Global Safety uses AI to detect and prevent workplace safety incidents and near-misses in real-time. The two-day event was held at the CISCO Systems Campus in Research Triangle Park. And, in what can only be described as a back-to-the-future remembrance, another of the 88 participants was Cirrus Insight, the company co-founded and later sold by Knoxville’s Brandon Bruce. About 18 months ago, the new owners of Cirrus Insight merged it with ZynBit.
  • Veteran Ventures Capital’s (VVC) Veteran Fund I has announced an investment in Grist Mill Exchange LLC, a disruptive data acquisition platform for national security. “Grist Mill combines long-standing government and industry expertise with the continuous demand for commercially sourced data products on behalf of National Security customers,” said Derren Burrell, VVC Founder and President. “An area of expertise for VVC, we will provide not only an initial investment in this exciting business but will also leverage our team’s government experience within the intelligence community to further fuel Grist Mill Exchange’s rapid growth through business development and strategic contracting support. They are a terrific fit for us and our investor base. We are proud to invest in what will become the leading provider of commercial data products to the national security community.” The start-up’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is Kristin Wood. Click here to read the news release.
  • The third episode in the monthly “Research Chronicles” podcast series from the UT Research Park has dropped. The title is “Breaking Ground on Revolutionary Orthopedic Research.” Click here to listen or download it from Spotify, Overcast or Apple Podcasts.
  • SkyNano Technologies, the developer behind the first-ever capture and production of carbon nanomaterials from power plant flue-gas, has added Alyssa Cannistraci to the team, bringing a wealth of skills and experience as the company that was part of the inaugural cohort of the “Innovation Crossroads” program scales up carbon nanotube production. Prior to taking on this role, she worked for the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network evaluating K-16 educational resources for their scientific integrity, pedagogy and ease of use.
  • UT, Knoxville is among the 14 member universities of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) that have joined forces to form a new artificial intelligence (AI) consortium that is designed to grow opportunities in the fast-changing fields of AI and data science. Those opportunities are expected to be foundational for the future of industry, education, and research, and the new consortium is believed to be the first athletics conference collaboration to focus on AI for workforce development. Through the “SEC AI Consortium,” the universities will: (1) share educational resources such as curricular materials, certificate and degree program structures, and online presentations of seminars and courses; (2) promote faculty, staff, and student workshops and academic conferences; and (3) seek joint partnerships with industry. In addition, members will share best practices for ensuring that students graduate with AI and data science skills that benefit the region and country while also resonating globally.

From Knoxville and Oak Ridge:

Bonnie Carroll, Founder of Information International Associates (IIA) and a long-time supporter of the College of Communication and Information (CCI) at the University of Tennessee (UT), Knoxville, was recently honored by CCI for her various contributions to the college. The latest achievement was her work to bring the World Data System (WDS) to the university and to Tennessee. You can read more about the honor in this announcement from CCI.

From Huntsville, AL:

UT, Knoxville and the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce formally announced the opening of the UT Space Institute (UTSI) Research Center in Cummings Research Park with a ribbon cutting ceremony last week. UTSI, located in Tullahoma, is a satellite campus of the Knoxville campus. Located at 210 Wynn Drive NW, the new center is intended to connect federal agencies and industry with university talent and infrastructure to solve complex aerospace and defense challenges. Its four key focuses are research and development, technology translation/transition, workforce, and undergraduate and graduate education. The Huntsville Business Journal has more coverage of the event here.

From Athens:

Robert Scott Underwood, Chief Executive Officer of Maxwell Industries LLC, has been named the “2022 Small Business Person of the Year” for Tennessee. His selection was announced by Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Underwood, the other state winners, and those selected from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands will be formally recognized on May 5 during the “National Small Business Week Virtual Summit’s Awards Ceremony.” Maxwell Industries makes customized hydraulic reservoirs and fuel tanks.

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