Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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June 06, 2023 | Tom Ballard

The Innovation Studio using AI to solve enterprise scale problems

The new Nashville start-up is a collaboration involving the former CEO of the Greater Nashville Technology Council, three other C-level executives, and the Director of New Venture Development at Vanderbilt University.

An all-star cast of leaders in Nashville’s burgeoning tech landscape has launched The Innovation Studio with the goal of building technology-based start-ups that solve pervasive industry problems with the best commercially available artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

The new venture is a collaboration involving Brian Moyer, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Greater Nashville Technology Council; Tim Estes, Founder and former CEO of Nashville AI company Digital Reasoning; Peter Rousos, Director of New Venture Development for the Vanderbilt University Center for Technology Transfer & Commercialization; Matt DiMaria, veteran CEO and leader of multiple software company exits; and Lerry Wilson, a veteran Silicon Valley executive and currently Senior Director at Splunk.

“The Innovation Studio leverages Nashville’s growing technology ecosystem, the founders’ global network, and Nashville’s academic community to identify and solve enterprise-scale problems that demand much deeper applications of AI than what off-the-shelf consumer-grade tools can provide,” said Moyer. “The kinds of ‘Industrial AI’ solutions we are building require trusted business relationships, access to proprietary data, and iterative problem-solving methodologies in close communication with our industry partners. At present, retail, financial, manufacturing, and automotive markets appear to hold the greatest promise, but we will remain sector agnostic and stay alert to opportunities across the board.”

With offices in the Franklin Innovation Center, The Innovation Studio is already partnering with large organizations to identify and evaluate untapped opportunities and build “Industrial AI” solutions that will have an immediate impact.

“The Innovation Studio’s close ties to Nashville’s academic community are also significant,” Moyer added. “They include Vanderbilt, Belmont, and Meharry. These partnerships also set us apart from the typical venture studio, and I believe will be one of the keys to our success. We will have top data scientists from our academic partners on our board of advisors and plan to engage regularly with our partners in higher education to help us identify and vet business ideas.”

In the news release issued June 6 (The Innovation Studio News Release), the team noted that venture studios began emerging in the early 2000s as seasoned entrepreneurs, tech executives, and investors sought a better way to start and grow successful companies. Unlike venture capital funds and accelerators, venture studios don’t wait for companies to come to them for assistance – they look for unmet needs and then start and fund companies to meet those needs. Unlike venture capital funds, venture studios are closely involved in the day-to-day operations of the startups they create, including hiring the CEO, and remain involved in consulting on strategic direction and execution until the company is sold. Unlike accelerators, venture studios’ involvement in startup companies extends well beyond a 12-week coaching program and seed funding.

Venture studios have proven to be a model for creating vibrant, successful new ventures.

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