University of Tennessee Research Foundation
The University of Tennessee Research Foundation is a non-profit organization that promotes the commercialization of UT intellectual property, encourages an entrepreneurial culture, contributes to state and regional economic development, and promotes research and education to benefit the people of Tennessee and beyond.
In its role as the technology transfer office of UT, UTRF works to identify and support UT inventions and discoveries with the highest potential to be developed into commercial products. Through the launch of new startups and via partnerships with existing companies, inventions are brought from the laboratory to the marketplace. Technology transfer benefits the public through the launch of innovative new products in healthcare, technology, agriculture, education and more.
The UT Research Foundation frequently partners with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the State of Tennessee for research and education initiatives.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest multiprogram science and energy laboratory, with scientific and technical capabilities spanning the continuum from basic to applied research. These resources enable the lab to tackle an exceptionally wide range of research and development (R&D) assignments, from fundamental nuclear physics to applied R&D on advanced energy systems. In addition, ORNL has a well-deserved reputation for combining insights from fundamental science with an in-depth technical understanding of applied systems to deliver practical solutions to real-world problems.
ORNL aggressively pursues opportunities to put these solutions to work, often collaborating with industry to accelerate their deployment by the private sector.
Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN) is a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in Tennessee. Its ultimate goal is to make Tennessee the No. 1 place in the Southeast to start and grow a business.
LaunchTN supports entrepreneurship by providing resources, mentorship and connections for entrepreneurs, plus helping entrepreneurs obtain funding and connecting inventors with entrepreneurs and investors. The organization assists entrepreneurs with raising capital and focuses on outreach, hosting events that bring together entrepreneurs, mentors, researchers and investors from across the state and country and serving as the marketing arm for entrepreneurship in Tennessee.
Pershing Yoakley & Associates
Pershing Yoakley & Associates provides timely insight and delivers comprehensive support in accounting, consulting, and management. The company has a proven track record of unsurpassed performance in healthcare, finance and business practice. PYA has been built with an unyielding commitment to integrity at all levels, objective research and reporting, creative problem solving and an attention to clients that starts at the executive level and filters through the entire organization.
PYA launched Teknovation.biz in 2012 as a vehicle to allow East Tennesseans to spotlight and celebrate “all things” related to technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in East Tennessee. It is intended to help create more awareness of our region’s assets and help drive technology, innovation and entrepreneurial job growth.
Tech 2020, a regional venture development organization (VDO), is a Tennessee non-profit corporation established in 1995, initially chartered to assist with the creation of small businesses through technology transfer from the inventions and technologies developed at the Oak Ridge Department of Energy sites. Tech 2020 continues to provide the same incubation services to small businesses as it has for nearly 20 years. Incubation, coaching, and mentoring services will continue to be the support Tech 2020 provides to all viable developing business opportunities. The organization is governed by a volunteer board of directors who all share a common interest: to utilize the unique technology capabilities of East Tennessee to create new businesses, new jobs, and setting the stage for future economic growth.
Knoxville Entrepreneur Center
The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) provides access to a regionally recognized company development program, an involved network of dedicated capital sources, successful local mentors, and world-class training. The KEC connects entrepreneurs with mentors and the resources necessary to start their businesses. It inspires, encourages, and enables entrepreneurs by adding value to their business ideas. The KEC is a place where entrepreneurs come daily to move their business ideas to a higher level.
Traction Award Sponsor
UT Federal Credit Union
UT Federal Credit Union’s business microfund, Line12, is a learning and lending program specifically designed for startups. Line12 is modeled on the TV show “Shark Tank” and based on Chief Lending Officer and Senior VP Jonathan Patrick’s own successful entrepreneurial efforts.
Through Line12, entrepreneurs and startups can benefit from a wide range of services designed to help dreams reach their potential. In an environment where startup lending options are difficult to find, Line12 has funded several startups since its launch last year, including the following to name a few:
- A loan of $25,000 was presented to a video production company to buy equipment needed to expand their services.
- A software development company was given $50,000 for working capital to hire additional staff.
- A $15,000 line of credit was extended to help fulfill a startup’s first purchase order.
- A mobile startup was given $29,500 combined in a loan and line of credit to purchase a truck – the heart of their business model.
UTFCU’s Line12 recognizes each vision is unique. A one-size-fits-all approach will never help your business reach its full potential. Line12Fund will provide you with an opportunity to present your idea to a fresh set of eyes … experts in the business world who understand the journey ahead.
For more than 125 years, Baker Donelson has built a reputation for achieving results for its clients on a wide range of legal matters. As the 68th largest law firm in the country, Baker Donelson gives clients access to a team of more than 650 attorneys and public policy advisors representing more than 30 practice areas, all seamlessly connected across 20 offices to serve virtually any legal need.
Baker Donelson’s Emerging Companies lawyers are a multidisciplinary group, focused on representing the unique interests of high-potential start-up companies and other emerging businesses. The company offers fixed-fee legal services and educational programs to provide affordable legal services for early-stage companies.
The Firm provides a variety of services to startups, including formation, contracts, capital consulting, technology law, intellectual property rights, employment, compliance, and mergers and acquisitions.
Business Owners Benefits Association (BOBA) was created with the overall vision of returning financial balance to those providing the most new jobs, services and revenue to the U.S. economy – small businesses. BOBA offers a solution to small business owners and non-profit organizations who are interested in controlling or reducing the multitude of crushing costs and issues associated with operating their business or organization, such as payment processing, payroll administration, insurance, risk management, training and legal services. Essentially, BOBA becomes a single source provider for members, providing time and cost-savings opportunities while eliminating the need to have multiple contacts for the many products and services required to operate a small business or organization.
BOBA was founded in 2007 by distinguished military veteran and expert insurance consultant, John Ballinger, who recognized the financial and operational disadvantages that many small businesses and non-profit organizations were facing in today’s economic environment.
City of Knoxville
The City of Knoxville recognizes the vital role that entrepreneurship plays in our regional economy. As the urban heart of a nine-county metropolitan area of more than 800,000 people, Knoxville is a hub of cultural and commercial innovation. The City of Knoxville is a primary supporter of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, and the City’s Office of Business Support works closely to help local businesses start, maintain and expand their operations. The City also makes strategic investments in infrastructure and development incentives to provide public support for our vibrant private sector.
Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley
The Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley is the regional economic development partnership managed by the Knoxville Chamber. Innovation Valley is currently implementing Innovation Valley Blueprint 2.0, its second five-year strategic plan for business growth in the Knoxville-Oak Ridge region. Blueprint 2.0 outlines five target recruitment clusters (advanced technology & manufacturing, corporate services, creative media services, energy and transportation) that are based on an analysis of the region’s world-class resources. Innovation Valley consists of eight partner agencies that collaborate on executing Blueprint 2.0 for long-term business success. A private, independent board of directors guides the management of this regional partnership.
Recently voted Tennessee’s Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) of the Year by the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association (TnHTA), Visit Knoxville is the official Convention and Visitors Bureau for the City of Knoxville and Knox County. The organization is responsible for the ongoing positioning and promotion of Knoxville as a destination for visitors and groups, each of which generate tourism dollars that benefit the local economy.
Visit Knoxville is an active, contributing member of its community. The organization supports a number of initiatives encompassing art, history, entertainment and outdoor adventure. It also serves as the marketing agency for the Knoxville Convention Center, the cornerstone of Knoxville’s meeting facilities.
The Visit Knoxville offices are located at 301 S. Gay Street above the Knoxville Visitors Center. An attraction within itself, the downtown Visitors Center not only provides a wealth of information for visitors, it’s also home to the WDVX radio station, host of the Blue Plate Special – a free, live performance radio show that takes place Monday through Saturday at noon.
Angel Capital Group
Angel Capital Group is a syndicate of angel groups and funds. The network brings angel investors and entrepreneurs together in an environment that celebrates innovation, rewards strategic risk-taking, and focuses on performance. ACG believes creating economically sustainable cities, regional economic impact, and wealth are the keys to restoring our country’s economic greatness. ACG aggregates exciting deal flow across the nation and over many industries for science and technology enabled startup companies. We unite great minds and aggregate capital to validate and invest in innovative business models by outstanding entrepreneurs. We optimize risk and returns by curating companies and proving the scalability of their revenue model. ACG’s philosophy is the risks of early stage investing are best managed by investing alongside a group of other successful angel investors. By leveraging a national network of subject matter experts, successful entrepreneurs, and venture investors, comprehensive diligence is a matter of routine providing the appropriate intelligence to engage startups. ACG believes in a strategy of portfolio diversity of both market segment and geography. Innovation is occurring across the heartland of America and we intend to capture it, nurture it, and rejoice in its success. We are happy to lead the way.
ACG consolidated its operations with RAIN Source Capital in 2015. The combined entity enjoys a storied 10 year history and has invested approximately $46M in 135 companies across a variety of market sectors. The combined portfolios have created over 4500 jobs and $750M in follow-on capital investments by other funds. For additional information about Angel Capital Group and its investment criteria, visit online at www.theangelcapitalgroup.com, @angelcapitalgr, www.linkedin.com/company/831505, or www.facebook.com/angelcapitalgroup.
Southeastern Technology Consultants
Southeastern Technology Consultants specializes in staffing Information Technology professionals in two skill-set areas: application development and infrastructure. With a focus on providing premium talent to organizations, Southeastern Technology Consultants has a proven hiring strategy that identifies, recruits, and facilitates a process to enable organizations to hire top talent. Its winning placement strategy really centers on delivering value for its clients. Clear communication, deep networks, and recruiters with information technology backgrounds are some of the firm’s characteristics that enable Southeastern Technology Consultants to maintain its reputation in the marketplace.
Knoxvillian John Sharpe is President of ARG Executive Search and ARG Financial Staffing, StaffSource Employee Solutions and Southeastern Technology Consultants. He won the 2014 Pinnacle Award for Young Entrepreneur held by the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce.
Aside Project Studio
Aside Project Studio is an independently operated design studio & consultancy, specializing in highly efficient, user-friendly graphic design for the Web and other interactive media, as well as printed collateral and identities for a broad range of businesses and organizations.
Aside Project Studio is owned and operated by Knoxvillian and native East Tennessean George Middlebrooks.
eGovernment Solutions is a Tennessee-based company with its home office in Knoxville, Tennessee. eGov provides software and online services to county clerks, county trustees, county court clerks and city governments.
eGov offers more online services than any other vendor in the state, including online car tag renewals, marriage license services, business tax payments, property tax payments, fine and citation payments and more!
Knoxville native Mark Padgett founded eGov after having a “light bulb moment” as an executive assistant to Governor Phil Bredesen, working to streamline the state’s internal Web processes. eGov provides services to more than 25 governments across the state of Tennessee including Metropolitan Nashville.
Pilot Flying J
Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America, is committed to making life better for professional drivers.
Headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., Pilot Flying J has more than 650 retail locations. The Pilot Flying J network provides drivers with access to more than 65,000 parking spaces for trucks, 4,400 showers and more than 4,000 diesel lanes offering Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) at the pump.
Pilot Flying J is currently ranked No. 7 on Forbes’ list of America’s Largest Private Companies. Visit www.pilotflyingj.com for more information.
Piper Communications was started in 2008 at the height of the recession. The firm specializes in strategic communications consulting by providing expertise in media relations and message development, marketing, community outreach, coalition building and business development to the private and public sectors. Specialty areas include energy and technology.
Piper Communications is founded and owned by Knoxville resident and former Lady Vol swimmer, Cortney Piper.
UBS, The Siler-Rhea Group
UBS is one of the world’s largest wealth managers. The company is different from any other firm in one important way: Its unique individuals work collectively and tirelessly to give their clients the confidence to pursue the financial futures they envision. From Financial Advisors who are completely in tune with their clients’ needs to proprietary research that consistently exceeds expectations, UBS stands alone. Its team of seasoned Advisors and service professionals are committed to listening to every client; assessing their concerns and developing a clear, actionable plan for ensuring that all of their assets are working toward helping them achieve what matters most.