Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
December 05, 2021 | Tom Ballard

Weekly “News & Notes” items include people and programs

From Knoxville:

  • Two new team members recently joined the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF). Gabriela Miu Kropaczek joins as an Assistant Technology Manager, and Caitlin Gaddis is UTRF’s new Marketing Coordinator. Born in Romania but raised in Sweden, Kropaczek earned her doctorate in theoretical particle physics from Lund University, where her research focused on the development of computer simulation programs for electron-proton and neutron-proton scattering experiments. She moved to Knoxville when her husband accepted a position at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Gaddis is from the greater Knoxville area and returned to the community after graduating from Indiana Wesleyan University, where she studied strategic communications and writing.
  • Derren Burrell, Founder of Veteran Ventures Capital (VVC), has announced that General (Ret.) Stanley A. McChrystal has joined VVC as an investor and mentor to the fund’s portfolio companies. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates described McChrystal as “one of America’s greatest warriors.” Burrell, who is part of the Bunker Labs group, will be hosting an event at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center to announce the inaugural cohort of the “Veterans in Residence” program.
  • Separately, Burrell noted an announcement last week that the U.S. Air Force has ordered 15 scaled-down versions of the cargo delivery drone manufactured by Silver Arrow, a VVC portfolio company. The order was highlighted in this article.
  • The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center has announced that applications are now being accepted for its next 10-week “CO.STARTERS” class that will begin in January. There are two prerequisites: (10 having a business idea you’re ready, willing and excited to share and work on; and (2) be willing to study, shape and fine-tune that idea in a supportive, collaborative and welcoming environment. More details can be found here.

From the “Innovation Crossroads” Companies:

Two “Innovation Crossroads” companies – one an alum and the other a member of Cohort 5 – are in the news.

  • Megan O’Connor, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nth Cycle, continues to gain national exposure for the start-up. The latest is being featured in two podcasts. One is Episode 67 of the Circular Economy podcast series. Click here for the link. The other is from Earth911 with that link here.
  • Tommy Gibbons, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Hempitecture Inc., was featured in an article about the U.S. Hemp Building Summit held in Austin, TX. Here’s a link to that article.

From Chattanooga and Oak Ridge:

Dave Flessner, Business Editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, posted an article over the weekend on the longtime collaboration between Chattanooga’s EPB and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). “Using EPB’s fiber-optic network and smart grid in Chattanooga, ORNL scientists here (Oak Ridge) are able to remotely and virtually test ways to better deploy the power grid to maintain reliable electricity supplies in a cleaner, more efficient manner.” The link is here, but a subscription might be required.

From Memphis:

Four early stage technology start-ups have been selected to participate in the inaugural cohort of the new “AgLaunch365 Livestock Challenge.” None is from Tennessee, but there is a participant from North Carolina. The program builds off the success of the “AgLaunch365 Row Crop Challenge” that Memphis-based AgLaunch has been running in partnership with Farm Journal.

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