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Best and worst states for business ranked

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

TexasFor the ninth year in a row, CEOs rate Texas as the #1 state in which to do business, according to Chief Executive magazine’s annual Best & Worst States Survey, released today. Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Indiana also made the top five.

The results may alleviate some fears in North Carolina, where other such evaluations have not placed the state as high as in previous years.

The states rated worst for business are California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

It’s interesting that states with powerhouse venture capital sources and nation-leading business sectors such as California, Massachusetts, and New York top the list of worst states for business in these polls time after time. Makes you wonder just what these business-friendly state rankings really mean.

Best 5 States for Business Rank 2013
Texas 1st
Florida 2nd
North Carolina 3rd
Tennessee 4th
Indiana 5th


Worst 5 States for Business Rank 2013
California 50th
New York 49th
Illinois 48th
Massachusetts 47th
New Jersey 46th


The Best & Worst States Survey measures the sentiments of CEOs on a range of issues, including regulations, tax policies, workforce quality, educational resources, quality of living and infrastructure.  For the 2013 survey, 736 CEOs from across the country evaluated the states between Jan. 16 and Feb. 14, 2013.

Ohio was the biggest gainer in this year’s survey, rising 13 spots from #35 to #22. “Ohio is doing some amazing things to attract and support a pro-business environment,” said Don Taylor , CEO of Fairlawn, Ohio-based Welty Building Company. The biggest loser was Delaware, which dropped 13 spots to #27.

California hostile to business?

CEOs say California’s poor ranking is the result of a perceived hostility to business, high state taxes and onerous regulations, all of which drive investment, companies and jobs to other states. According to the California Manufacturers & Technology Association,California accounts for 12.6% of total U.S. GDP, but only has a 2.2% share of investments in new and expanding manufacturing sites.

“When you investigate acquiring businesses in some of the states rated poorly for business conditions, the anecdotes all wind up being true,” said Kevin Hawkesworth , President & CEO of Florida-based Shaw Development. “The horror stories about these states are real.”

“California, Illinois and New York are simply awful states to operate facilities or employ people,” according to another CEO. “We will do almost anything possible to minimize our exposure to these anti-business environments.”

Piles of regulations a problem

“Thank you, California!” responded one Texas-based CEO facetiously. “Keep applying pressure on your job creators and we will keep welcoming their moves to Texas.”

A common theme among CEOs is the burden of constantly changing regulations. “Business is too hard without dealing with piles of regulations that are constantly changing,” said Rick Waechter , CEO of Boston Magazine. “I believe there have to be controls, but keep them simple and straightforward—and most importantly, don’t make it a moving target.”

“CEOs continue to tell us that California seems to be doing everything possible to drive business from the state. Texas Governor Rick Perry , by contrast, personally makes it his mission to lead corporate recruitment and economic development efforts in his state,” saidJ.P. Donlon , Editor-in-Chief of Chief Executive magazine and

Playbook for success

“The playbook for successful states boils down to three simple moves: engage in real dialogue with business leaders, adapt policies to create an attractive environment, and effectively communicate your story to real job creators,” said Marshall Cooper , CEO of Chief Executive magazine and “This year’s rankings prove that smart policies result in increased investments, jobs and greater overall economic activity.”

2013 Biggest Gainers Positions Gained
Ohio +13
Minnesota +6
Alabama +5
Arizona +4
Kansas +4
2013 Biggest Losers Positions Lost
Delaware -13
Mississippi -8
Missouri -7
Kentucky -4
Wyoming -4

For complete results, including individual state rankings on multiple criteria, CEO comments, methodology and more, please

Peak 10 CEO offers 4 tips for entrepreneurs

Monday, March 4th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

David Jones

David Jones, President & CEO, Peak 10.

Even though Peak 10, the Charlotte-based data center and managed services provider now has 350 employees, CEO David Jones says the company still tries to foster an entrepreneurial spirit.

“We don’t make all our decisions centrally,” says Jones.

Jones co-founded Peak 10 in March of 2000 and has led the company to a top market position as a leading independent data center, managed services, and cloud computing solutions provider in the United States, with facilities in Charlotte, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville, Tampa, South Florida, Raleigh, and Richmond.

Participating in the Southeast Venture Conference

Jones, who speaks often to entrepreneurial groups and is a past chair and still a director of the North Carolina Technology Association, is one of dozens of thought-leaders, venture capitalists, angel investors and entrepreneurs participating in the Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.

“I think it’s going to be a great event for Charlotte,” Jones says. “It has an informative agenda, not the same old stuff you usually see at conferences. It’s going to bring a lot of faces into Charlotte who don’t normally spend time here.”


The Southeast Venture Conference is headed to Charlotte, NC, in March 2013. The event offers firms a chance to present to top national venture capitalists and angel investors.

Specifically, that includes speakers and panelists from national and regional venture capital firms and 50 innovative presenting companies from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Last we heard, there were only a handful of seats left for the event, so it’s a good idea to reserve yours now if you plan on attending.

Part of the Peak 10 entrepreneurial culture derives from its growing an average of about 25 percent a year and regularly opening new facilities to meet demand in the areas it serves.

Four pieces of advice for entrepreneurs

We asked Jones what advice he thinks is most important to starting a company.

First, he says, “Stay focused. We’ve all heard stories of companies that try to do too many things at once and don’t do any of them well.”

But even more important, he says, “Hire the best people you can. Don’t be complacent about that.” In the end, “That will make you successful or not.”

Get the right financial leadership

Next, he says, “Make sure you have the right financial leadership. A lot of startups fly by the seat of their pants. You need to know your operating costs.  I’ve always tried to find the best financial officer I could. If nothing else, have a financial advisor who can help you strategize where you are and the things you’ll need.”

Doing that can prevent you from “Hitting a brick wall when you find you didn’t plan for what you need on the development side.”

Finally, he adds, “Make sure you have a plan that can get funded. Great ideas go nowhere unless you have a plan to get there. Keep it simple. The more complex you make it, the harder it will be to get to where you want to be.”

In general, Jones says, “We’re in challenging times, but there are still a lot of opportunities out there.”


Five reasons you should attend SEVC 2013

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

SEVC 2013Need a reason why you should attend the Seventh Annual Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14? Here’s five:

First, you’ll make connections with the region’s top technology entrepreneurs and executives.

More than 50 presenting companies and hundreds of high growth company C-suite execs attending, you’ll have an unsurpassed opportunity to build partnerships and hear about the latest startup trends.

Second, you’ll have an unparalleled opportunity to network with investors and venture firms from throughout the United States, not just regional firms.

Whether you’re in venture fundraising mode or an investor looking to further relationships with fellow investors for deal flow, SEVC is the vehicle to make those connections.

We’ve interviewed several of the participating venture capitalists at the TechJournal, with more to come. Here’s a sample:


Brian Rich

Brian Rich, managing director, co-founder, Catalyst Ventures.He’s participating in the Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.

How to pitch a venture capitalist (interview with Brian Rich of Catalyst Ventures).

SecondMarket turns dead equity into productive equity (interview with SecondMarket’s Matt Shapiro).

The bar is higher for startups seeking first round financing (interview with Intel Capital’s East Coast Director, Mark Rostick).

Will there be an app economy in five years? (interview with Ron Shah of the Stripes Group).

Seven lessons from the dark side (interview with Grotech’s Don Rainey).

What does it take to build a startup to successful IPO? (interview with Bob Hower, general partner at Advanced Technology Ventures).

Also see: Startups aim to put Charlotte on the map (Charlotte Observer story focused on Terry Cox, founder and CEO of BIG (Business Innovation Growth) in Charlotte. It includes background on how Charlotte was chosen to host the event.

And three more reasons SEVC can kick up your chances for success:



3. You’ll gain market insight and success strategies from innovation and technology community’s brightest starts.

From the CEO of SAP to the Publisher of Forbes – SEVC will feature over 40 speakers discussing the latest trends, best practices and strategies relating to technology and entrepreneurial growth. You’ll learn from them not just during roundtable discussions, but in one on one situations through hours of networking.


The Southeast Venture Conference is headed to Charlotte, NC, in March 2013. The event offers firms a chance to present to top national venture capitalists and angel investors.

Panel & Presentation topics include:

  • State of Venture Capital
  • Early Stage Fundraising
  • Value Creation: Company/Investor Relationship
  • Growth Stage Funding
  • M&A Outlook and Strategies
  • LP Viewpoint
  • SaaS Investment Trends
  • Getting to Market
  • IPO & Secondary Market Outlook
  • Entrepreneur’s Roundtable
  • International Health Care Trends

4. To make networking and private meetings even easier, there is an online pre-event networking platform for attendees. 

At SEVC, the online networking platform allows attendees to connect with one another prior, during and after the conference. Attendees can see other attendee’s interests, request and setup meetings and connect helping to maximize the lasting connections you’ll make at this year’s conference.

5. Even more CXO and Venture Partner networking to create relationships that can last your entire career.

Networking is center stage at SEVC. Over one and a half days there are 3 separate open bar networking receptions, a networking breakfast, lunch networking and 7 additional networking breaks.

The event sells out, so it’s a good idea to Register today.


What can advertisers learn from the flu?

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

MaxPointEven though this year’s flu virus is infecting people throughout the nation and New York and Boston even declared citywide health emergencies – you might not guess that Huntsville, Alabama is the city most concerned about it.

MaxPoint, a company that helps retailers and brands drive local in-store sales with its Digital Zip technology, announced its latest Interest Index, which reveals the cities most interested in flu-related remedies.

While that may or may not concern your company or your advertising clients specifically, MaxPoint notes that it is crucial for advertisers to dive deep into neighborhood and audience data when building campaigns.

For instance, New York and Boston did not even make the top ten list of cities most concerned about the flu this year.

By analyzing billions of in-store purchases and online data points, MaxPoint found that the 10 cities most interested in all things flu-related are the following:

1. Huntsville, AL
2. Knoxville, TN
3. Greensboro, NC
4. Greenville, SC
5. Des Moines, IA
6. Rochester, NY
7. Birmingham, AL
8. Boise, ID
9. Augusta, GA
10. Milwaukee, WI

nterest Data in Action

Using the data from this Interest Index, MaxPoint ran several digital advertising campaigns, including the following:

  • A global pharmaceutical company with a diverse healthcare portfolio — including pharmaceuticals, eye care products and vaccines — wanted to drive adults over the age of 65 to select pharmacy locations to receive flu shots. Using MaxPoint’s hyperlocal advertising approach, the company achieved 164 percent lift in awareness of its flu vaccine at participating pharmacies.
  • A manufacturer of analgesics wanted to increase brand awareness and drive sales of its products. By running digital ads with MaxPoint, the manufacturer achieved 3 percent sales lift in mass merchandise stores.

State and local governments wasting billions to lure firms from other states

Friday, January 25th, 2013

US mapState and local governments waste billions of dollars annually on economic development subsidies given to companies for moving existing jobs from one state to another rather than focusing on creating truly new positions, according to a study released today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center based in Washington, DC.

“What was long ago dubbed a Second War Between the States is, unfortunately, raging again in many parts of the country,” said Greg LeRoy , executive director of Good Jobs First and principal author of the report.

“The result is a vast waste of taxpayer funds, paying for the geographic reshuffling of existing jobs. By pretending that these jobs are new, public officials and the recipient companies engage in what amounts to interstate job fraud.”

Interstate job piracy is not a fruitful strategy for economic growth, LeRoy noted: “The costs are high and the benefits low, given that a tiny number of companies get huge subsidies for moving a small number of jobs.” LeRoy added: “Moreover, the availability of relocation subsidies allows companies that have no intention of moving to extract payoffs to stay put.”

Interstate relocations have microscopic job effects

Summarizing studies demonstrating that interstate relocations have microscopic job effects, the report also reviews the history of economic competition among the states and presents eight case studies of those areas where job piracy is most pronounced.

The case studies cover metropolitan areas such as Kansas City, Charlotte, New York and Memphis, where companies get subsidized to move short distances across state borders; states such as Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, New Jersey and Rhode Island that are aggressive users of relocation subsidies; and states such as Illinois and Ohio, which have given big retention or “job blackmail” packages.

The report recommends that states stop subsidizing companies for relocating jobs from other states, noting that four-fifths of the states already refuse to pay for intrastate job relocations.

The report also recommends that states end their business recruitment activities that are explicitly designed to pirate existing jobs from other states. It also suggests a modest role for the federal government: reserving a small portion of its economic development aid for those states that amend their incentive codes to make existing jobs ineligible for subsidies.

 The report, entitled The Job-Creation Shell Game, is available at

Need funding? SEVC seeks presenting companies for March event

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

The Southeast Venture Conference is headed to Charlotte, NC, in March 2013. The event offers firms a chance to present to top national venture capitalists and angel investors.

If you’re a high growth innovative company looking for funding, you still have a chance to present your business plan in front of top national venture capitalists and private equity professionals at the 2013 Southeast Venture Conference March 13th and 14th at the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte, NC.

Applications to present at the event are still being accepted.

The event seeks  high growth, innovative companies from diverse technology industries including Software-as-a-Service, New Media, Bio-IT, Clean-Tech, Medical Devices, Mobile, Security, among others.

You’ll meet  hundreds of the region’s leading entrepreneurs and high growth company executives (from startups to pre-IPO), National Venture Capitalists and Private Equity Professionals, M&A facilitators and other leading professionals serving the high growth technology community.

SEVC highlights both early and later stage investment opportunities from: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington DC.

Last year’s SEVC Average Presenter Profile:

  • Average Annual Revenue: $5.9 million
  • Average Capital Raised to Date: $6.7 million
  • Average Number of Employees: 35

While the presenting companies are from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, the investors fly in from all parts of the country, including California, New York, and Massachusetts, as well as those that are regionally focused.

Exclusive panels, speakers, programming

The SEVC features market relevant investor and executive panels, exclusive networking opportunities, featured speakers and dozens of the region’s top private technology firms presenting to a national audience of venture capitalists, investment bankers and private equity investors.

As a TechMedia company and sponsor of the event, the TechJournal has reported on many firms that subsequently landed angel or venture backing. Venture capitalists tell us, they find new firms to put on their radar and track at each year’s event and many have returned year after year to spot hot Southeast opportunities.

SEVC is also an unparalleled networking event in which innovative firms meet potential partners, customers, and employees, in addition to making invaluable contacts within the venture and angel funding community.

Additional information on presenting and registration can be found at andyou can view a list of past presenters here.


2013 Southeast Venture Conference set for Charlotte in March

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

The Southeast Venture Conference is headed to Charlotte, NC, in March 2013.

The seventh annual Southeast Venture Conference, a major event for investors and entrepreneurs, is headed to Charlotte, NC, March 13-14 at the Riz-Carlton.

The conference features presentations by 60 of the region’s high growth investment opportunities.

They will include both early and later stage companies from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington DC.

The conference offers an unparalleled opportunity to Network with hundreds of the region’s leading Entrepreneurs and High Growth Company Executives, National Venture Capitalists and Private Equity Professionals, M&A facilitators and other leading professionals serving the technology community.

We’ve covered many startup and later stage firms that presented at previous SEVC’s and later landed multiple financing rounds.

SEVC is also teaming with the Internet Summit in Raleigh Nov. 6-8 this year to present the two-day Startup Summit focused on entrepreneurs.

ttendees and speakers include leading incubators, venture capital firms, and innovative companies. We’ll feature 16 presenting startups that will showcase their companies and concepts. You’ll have the opportunity to meet them one-on-one in our demo pit.

Speakers at the Startup Summit include influential entrepreneurs and leaders from the investment community:

  • Angus Davis, Founder & CEO, Swipely
  • Paul Singh, Partner & Master of the Hustle, 500Startups
  • Sarah Lacy, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, PandoDaily
  • Scott Maxwell, Founder, OpenView Venture Partners
  • Michael Doernberg, CEO and Co-founder, Reverbnation
  • Laura Witt, General Partner, ABS Capital
  • Rob Go, Partner, NextView Ventures
  • David Morken, Founder & CEO,
  • Jonathan Perrelli, Founding Partner,
  • Dayna GraysonNorth Bridge Venture Partners
  • Neil Kataria, Founder & Chairman, newBrandAnalytics
  • Greg Cangialosi, Managing Dir, Nucleus Venture Partners
  • Jason Caplain, General Partner, Southern Capital Ventures
  • Robbie Allen, Founder & CEO, Automated Insights
  • John Burke, Founder and General Partner, True Ventures
  • Joe Velk, Contender Capital
  • Chris Heivly, Managing Partner, Triangle Startup Factory
  • David Jones, Partner, Southern Capital Ventures
  • Joe Schmidt, CMO, Cafepress
  • Tom Lotrecchiano, Sr Vice President, Cafepress
  • Matt Williamson, Founder & CEO, Windsor Circle



CEOs rate best states for business: Texas No. 1, NC slips, Florida rises

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

TexasFor the eighth year in a row, CEOs rate Texas as the #1 state in which to do business, according to Chief Executive magazine’s annual Best & Worst States Survey, released today.

Florida rose one spot to take the #2 rank, while North Carolina slipped to #3.

Tennessee remained at #4 while Indiana climbed a spot to capture the #5 rank. CEOs named the worst states to do business as California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and Michigan.

The Best & Worst States Survey measures the sentiment of CEOs on business conditions around the nation.

For the 2012 survey, 650 CEOs from across the country evaluated the states on a broad range of issues, including regulations, tax policies, workforce quality, educational resources, quality of living and infrastructure.  The survey was conducted from Jan. 24 to Feb. 26, 2012.

Louisiana biggest gainer

Louisiana was the biggest gainer in the survey, rising 14 spots to be the #13th most attractive state in the country to do business. The biggest loser was Oregon, which dropped nine spots to #42.

CEOs surveyed said California’s poor ranking is the result of its hostility to business, high state taxes and overly stringent regulations, which is driving investment, companies and jobs to other states.

According to Spectrum Locations Consultants, 254 California companies moved some or all of their work and jobs out of state in 2011, an increase of 26 percent over the previous year and five times as many as in 2009.

“CEOs tell us that California seems to be doing everything possible to drive business from the state. Texas, by contrast, has been welcoming companies and entrepreneurs, particularly in the high-tech arena,” said J.P. Donlon, Editor-in-Chief of Chief Executivemagazine and

“Local economic development corporations, as well as the state Texas Enterprise Fund, are providing attractive incentives. This, along with the relaxed regulatory environment and supportive State Department of Commerce adds up to a favorable climate for business.”

Inhospitable business environments mean less jobs, as entrepreneurs and established corporations seek more cost-efficient and tax-friendly locales, said Marshall Cooper, CEO of Chief Executive magazine and  “This survey shows that states that create policies and incentives are rewarded with investment, jobs and greater overall economic activity.”

For complete results, including individual state rankings on multiple criteria, methodology and more, please

Best 5 States for Business Rank 2012 Rank 2011
Texas 1st 1st
Florida 2nd 3rd
North Carolina 3rd 2nd
Tennessee 4th 4th
Indiana 5th 6th
Source:  Chief Executive magazine (              
Worst 5 States for Business Rank 2012 Rank 2011
California 50th 50th
New York 49th 49th
Illinois 48th 48th
Massachusetts 47th 45th
Michigan 46th 46th
Source:  Chief Executive magazine (              
2012 Biggest Gainers Positions Gained
Louisiana +14
Mississippi +8
West Virginia +8
Ohio +6
North Dakota +6
Source:  Chief Executive magazine (


2012 Biggest Losers Positions Lost
Oregon -9
Kentucky -8
New Hampshire -8
Nebraska -7
Minnesota -7
Source:  Chief Executive magazine (                                                

Cvent names the top 100 meeting hotels in the U.S.

Monday, April 23rd, 2012
Peabody Orlando

Interior of the Peabody Hotel in Orlando, Florida, the number one meeting hotel in the U.S., according to Cvent

Cvent, the world’s largest cloud-based provider of event management and venue selection solutions, has named the top 100 hotels for meetings in the United States, according to meeting and event planners in the Cvent Supplier Network.

The Cvent Supplier Network is a free online marketplace that connects meeting planners with over 200,000 venues worldwide; it generated $4 billion in business for hotels in 2011 and projects more than $5.5 billion to be generated in 2012.

In addition, over 100,000 meetings were booked on the Cvent Supplier Network in 2011 alone.

The list of hotels was compiled from a pool of 80,000 hotels in the U.S. on the Cvent Supplier Network. The ranking was then determined by a set of qualifying criteria, some of which included:

  • The number of electronic request-for-proposals (RFPs) the property received from the Cvent Supplier Network in 2011;
  • The hotel’s average response rate to the RFPs sent through the marketplace;
  • The number of meeting rooms available;
  • The total square footage of meeting space offered at the hotel; and
  • The amount of business the property was awarded in 2011 by meeting planners through the Cvent Supplier Network.

The list is comprised of venues from a variety of locales, spanning 17 states and the District of Columbia. Florida represents the largest number of meeting hotels in the top 100, taking nearly one-fifth of the list at a total of 19 properties.

Nevada comes in second with 14 properties, and the state of Texas takes third place with a total of 13 hotels on the list.

Top 10 Meeting Hotels in the U.S.

1. The Peabody Orlando, Orlando, Florida

2. Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center, Nashville, Tennessee

3. Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia

4. Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando, Florida

5. The Venetian and Palazzo Resort, Hotel & Casinos, Las Vegas, Nevada

6. Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland

7. Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

8. The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, Georgia

9. ARIA Resort & Casino at CityCenter, Las Vegas, Nevada

10. MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

For the complete list of Cvent’s Top 100 Meeting Hotels in the U.S. visit

Rural Business Investment firm Meritus Ventures, promotes Chris Miller

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Meritus VenturesTennessee-based Meritus Ventures, a venture capital fund and Rural Business Investment Company, announced the promotion of Chris Miller to Associate.

Meritus Ventures, is currently the only Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC) in the United States.

The $36.5M venture capital fund invests to realize attractive returns for the fund’s investors while creating wealth and jobs in rural areas of central and southern Appalachia and Arkansas.  In addition to providing equity investment, the fund may provide operational assistance to its portfolio companies.

“Chris is an exceptional member of our staff, making measureable contributions to the operation of our fund,” said Meritus Ventures Fund Manager Grady Vanderhoofven.

“In addition to his previous responsibilities as an analyst, we increasingly rely on Chris to participate in identifying and sourcing investment opportunities. He has become progressively more engaged in our due diligence process and will be more directly involved with our portfolio companies in the future.”

“We put an emphasis on mentoring and developing our investment professionals into assets for Meritus, our limited partners, our portfolio companies, and the region in which we invest.  Sustainability of our enterprise requires depth of resources and the expansion of capacity, and this action is another step in that direction for Meritus,” Vanderhoofven concluded.

Miller has more than ten years of operating and investment experience with small and venture companies.  Prior to joining Meritus Ventures in 2007 as an analyst, Miller received an MBA from the University of Tennessee and worked in operations and business development roles for a start-up.  Miller is an active part of the regional entrepreneurial business community, and he is a point of access and information for regional venture development groups and for companies seeking to approach Meritus for investment.

“Gig PrizeTM” offers Chattanoga entrepreneurs a shot at $100K for Internet business

Thursday, October 27th, 2011


CHATTANOGA, TN – Alcatel-Lucent is investing $100,000 in the “The Gig PrizeTM,” a Chattanooga-based initiative to foster the development of gigabit per second Internet applications and business ventures.

“Last year, Chattanooga became America’s first and only city to complete a community-wide network capable of delivering up to 1 gigabit per second Internet speeds to every home and business in EPB’s 600 square mile service area,” said Robert Vrij, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s Americas Region.

“We’re proud to partner with Chattanooga as this extraordinary city establishes a groundbreaking model for demonstrating the direct linkage between investment in telecommunications infrastructure and economic growth.”

Vrij made his announcement as part of his keynote address during the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Innovation luncheon where community leaders announced an initiative to position Chattanooga as the Gig CityTM and unveiled the Gig PrizeTM.

The Gig PrizeTM is a competition in which students and entrepreneurs will create and test next generation Internet applications and launch businesses using Chattanooga’s blazing fast Internet.

“Chattanooga offers forward thinking entrepreneurs a huge head-start in leading the next generation of Internet commerce,” said Tom Edd Wilson, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. “The Gig PrizeTM will provide the support and connections necessary to develop, prove and fund these paradigm shifting business models.”

Additional information about The Gig PrizeTM will be released in coming weeks. Interested students and entrepreneurs can learn more at where challenge rules and details will be available soon.

Best states for business: NC at No. 2, Florida, 3, Tennsessee 4, Georgia 5

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Best Worst StatesFor the seventh year in a row, CEOs rate Texas as the #1 state in which to do business and California as the worst. North Carolina maintained its #2 rank, while Florida rose three positions to the #3 spot. Tennessee fell one slot from last year to #4 while Georgia climbed two positions to claim the #5 rank.

Chief Executive magazine’s annual “Best & Worst States” survey takes the pulse of CEOs on business conditions around the nation. For the 2011 survey, 550 CEOs from across the country evaluated the states on a broad range of issues, including regulations, tax policies, workforce quality, education resources, quality of living and infrastructure.

“A handful of states have made business-friendly policies a priority,” says J.P. Donlon, Editor-in-Chief ofChief Executive magazine and “These forward-thinking states are the exception rather than the rule and include Utah, Arizona, Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma.”

CEOs voted California as the worst state in 2011, with New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Michiganrounding out the bottom five.

“ABC — Anywhere But California,” said T.J. Rodgers, CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, a $668 million chip maker headquartered in San Jose, California, and with plants in 10 countries. “It’s expensive, it’s hostile to business, and environmental regulations are more of a drag on business than protecting the environment.” Cypress Semiconductor’s headcount in California peaked at 1,500. It’s now down to about 600.

With finances in shambles due to the weak economy, many states have been increasing tax rates.

“Today’s ‘soak the rich’ mentality hits business leaders especially hard,” says Marshall Cooper, CEO ofChief Executive magazine and “CEOs and entrepreneurs vote with their feet — and also pack up jobs and investment with them when they leave.”

It’s interesting that North Carolina, which has one of the highest tax rates in the Southeast, maintains its number two position, largely due to the talent available through its eduction system and its quality of life. It’s education system is about to take a huge cut as the state wrestles with the same type of budget deficit that plagues other states.

TechJournal South is a TechMedia company. TechMedia presents the annual conferences:


Internet Summit:

Digital East:

Digital Summit:

Georgia’s rise is also interesting. Another recent report noted that Georgia is right at the top when it comes to startup activitity, with more than 500 businesses a month launching.

DC, Baltimore, Raleigh-Durham, among top ten cities for staying young

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Capitol BuildingSAN DIEGO–Want to live a longer life? Move to Salt Lake City, the DC-Balitmore area, Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill,  San Francisco, or Austin. On the other hand, Knoxville and Nashville, TN, Greensboro/Winston-Salem, and Tampa and Jacksonville, FL, may make you old before your time. So says and new report by RealAge.

Southeast and western cities are among the top ten on RealAge’s list of the “youngest” cities in America—metropolitan areas with such healthy lifestyles that on average their residents are physically at least two years younger than their chronological age, and many are years younger than that. RealAge analyzed data from the largest 50 metropolitan areas to compile the rankings.

A passion for fitness and a loathing for smoking are key factors in Salt Lake City’s number one ranking. At the other extreme, residents of Knoxville, Greensboro/Winston-Salem, and Nashville are aging faster than they should. (Get an infographic of the 10 youngest and oldest cities here.)

What are the 10 metro areas where you have the best odds of staying young?

1. Salt Lake City, Utah
2. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, Calif.
3. Austin, Texas
4. Denver, Colo.
5. Boston, Mass.
6. Washington, DC/Baltimore, Md.
7. San Diego, Calif.
8. Raleigh-Durham/Chapel Hill, N.C.
9. Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.
10. Seattle/Tacoma/Bremerton, Wash.

Which metro areas are likely to make you old before your time?

1. Knoxville, Tenn.
2. Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point, N.C.
3. Nashville, Tenn.
4. Saginaw/Bay City/Midland, Mich.
5. Cincinnati, Ohio
6. Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.
7. Oklahoma City, Okla.
8. Las Vegas, Nev.
9. Jacksonville, Fla.
10. Tulsa, Okla.

“Each city’s ranking is more than just a number,” says Keith Roach, MD, Chief Medical Officer of RealAge and a co-creator of its test. “It’s a unique assessment of the healthy lifestyles, or lack of them, in each metro area—of how people live there, what they’re doing right and what they need to change. If you live in one of the 10 oldest cities, take this as the alarm on your body’s aging clock going off! It’s never too late for a fresh start.”

Note that half of the 10 youngest cities are in the Western U.S., from Denver to Seattle.

“Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the mountains, but Western cities have adopted active lifestyles that can slow down the aging process,” says Dr. Roach.

Behind the Rankings

To compile the rankings, RealAge analyzed data for America’s 50 largest metropolitan areas generated by its landmark online assessment, the RealAge Test, taken by over 27 million people. This is the first time the company has analyzed aggregated results on a city-by-city basis.

A random sample of 1,000 RealAge members was drawn from each city. The sample data was adjusted for age differences, so a metropolitan area that’s a magnet for retirees wasn’t penalized, and a city jammed with university students didn’t benefit.

The Test uses a powerful algorithm that combines the latest scientific studies with lifestyle, genetics, and medical history to calculate your RealAge—how old your body thinks you are.

What Makes a City Younger or Older

While multiple lifestyle factors are involved, here are four big ones that help people in Boston (the 5th youngest city), for example, stay younger and healthier than those in Cincinnati (the 5th oldest):

1.   Getting the right amount of sleep. Six of the 10 youngest cities are among those with stellar sleep habits. And (surprise) New York isn’t the city that never sleeps—the Big Apple ranks second in ZZZ’s; Austin is first. Sleeping six to nine hours a night can make your RealAge as much as 3 years younger.
2.   Stubbing out cigarettes for good. Four of the five fastest-aging cities have the highest percentage of smokers.
3.   Not sitting around. Six of the 10 youngest cities are among the most physically active in the country. A daily 30-minute walk can make your RealAge up to 3.5 years younger.
4.   Controlling your blood pressure. Five of the 10 fastest-aging cities—Knoxville, Cincinnati, Oklahoma City, Jacksonville, and Tulsa—are among the worst for high blood pressure. Nothing ages you faster. Who has the lowest BP? Residents of Minneapolis-St. Paul, the 9th youngest city.

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Eight Tennessee startups nab $50K TTDC grants

Monday, March 21st, 2011

TtdcNASHVILLE, TN – Eight startups have won Tennessee Technology Development proof-of-concept grants of $50,000 each.

The companies include 4D Medical Systems, Oak Ridge; Foundation Instruments, Collierville; LED North America; Nutraceutical Discoveries; Phenotype Screening Corp.,Nashiville; The University of Tennessee Research Foundation (2 grants); Venture Incite and Y12 National Security Complex.

For background information on the companies see: Company descriptions.

Founders of the winning firms told Milt Capps of Venture Nashville the grants will help them achieve a number of goals, from refining their software to achieving scale.

TTDC President Leslie Wisner Lynch told Capps the grants also increase the chances of the winning firms receiving future venture capital.

Applicants for the grants must be affiliated with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Tennessee Board of Regents, the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association, the University of Tennessee System, Vanderbilt University and-or the Y-12 National Security Research Complex.

Nashville’s JumpStart Foundry seeks entrepreneurs for 14-week program

Monday, March 14th, 2011

JumpStart FoundryNASHVILLE, TN – Entrepreneurs have until Friday, March 18, to apply for the 14-week Nashville JumpStart Foundry program that offers a $15,000 stipend, coaching and other resources. Applicants do not need to hail from Nashville or even Tennessee.

JumpStart becomes a “co-founder” of the startups it helps launch and takes a 6 percent equity stake in the companies in return for its services.

Solidus Company, an investment firm with four funds, started the JumpStart program in 2010. It’s Memphis-based sister program, Seed Hatchery, received more than 60 applicants, according to Milt Capp’s Venture Nashville.

The online application form asks entrepreneurs to describe how their idea or company is different, who its competitors may be, what it will do or make, what previous web projects members of the company team may have created, and how the startup will make money, among other things.

Those evaluating the applications include some of the 31 JumpStart Angels, the Nashville Capital Network, and the Angel Capital Group.

We had trouble accessing the website Monday morning.

TechJournal South is a TechMedia company. TechMedia presents the annual conferences:


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Computable Genomix lands investment for biomarker tests

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Computable GenomixMEMPHIS, TN – Memphis-based Computable Genomix has secured an investment in an undisclosed amount Memphis-based venture capital firm Innova to pilot a novel process for developing genetic biomarker tests.

Biomarkers are used to predict how a person will respond to drug therapy or to determine their risk of contracting a disease.

Leveraging its next-generation computational discovery capability (patent-pending), Computable Genomix is developing highly targeted genetic biomarker tests for clinical researchers.

These tests will help address pressing pharmacogenomic and other clinical questions and enhance the ability of physicians to bring personalized medicine to their patients.

“Current approaches to genetic biomarker development require clinical researchers to work with thousands of patient samples and sift through millions of possibilities to pinpoint a handful of potential biomarkers for further evaluation,” said Brad Silver, CEO of Computable Genomix.

“Using Computable’s very targeted tests, clinical researchers need fewer patient samples to assess a small number of high-value biomarkers. The end result is savings of time and money.”

“As an incubator company at the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, we have closely followed the evolution of Computable Genomix from a supplier of software to a developer of proprietary biomarker tests,” said Innova partner Jan Bouten. “We are very excited about Computable’s opportunity in the burgeoning biomarker market and its prospects for accelerating their use in clinical practice.”

Atlanta tops “Most Frugal Cities” list, Charlotte, Raleigh, Tampa in top ten

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011
Atlanta skyline
Atlantans print out more savings coupons and seek them out on mobile devices more than those in other cities.

Attention, shoppers: Atlanta residents are saving more money than you are. Or at least, they’re printing out more money-saving coupons, according to the “Most Frugal Cities” list compiled by Tampa, Florida came in second on the list, while Charlotte, NC was six and Raleigh ten, and Nashville, TN, landed at seven.

Atlanta also heads the list of cities where people use mobile devices to tap coupon deals.

We think this information is likely interesting to the social deals companies, such as Groupon and LivingSocial, as well as to Internet and digital marketers in general. It also points to where people are looking for deals online and where the use of mobile devices to aid shopping is trending.

It’s interesting that the South and Midwest dominate these lists, while the Northeast and far West cities show up much further down.

Atlanta tops for second year

For the second year in a row, Atlanta took the top spot on the ‘Most Frugal U.S. Cities’ list, according to the 2010 Savings Index released today by, a California-based Web destination for coupons and savings. On average, regular users of in Atlanta printed more than $1000.00 dollars in coupon savings from the site in 2010. That is almost twice as much as during 2009, when they printed $531 in savings.

Tampa cashed in with coupons and maintained its position as the city with the second most savings. On average, regular users of in Tampa printed $863 in savings.

The South is a mega-saver: more than one-third of the top 20 frugal cities are in the Southern region of the United States. In addition to Atlanta and Tampa, other Southland cities on the list include Charlotte (#6), Nashville (#7), Raleigh (#10), Oklahoma City (#13), Miami (#13) and Dallas (#14).

Once again, Ohio is the country’s most frugal state. The Buckeye state is represented three times on the ‘Most Frugal U.S. Cities’ list – Cincinnati (#3), Cleveland (#8) and Columbus (#19).

North Carolina is Ohio’s biggest challenger, climbing the penny-pinching ladder with two cities in the top 10: Charlotte and Raleigh.

For the first time it was raining green in the Pacific Northwest as Seattle (#18) joined the list. Seattle is the only city on the West Coast that made the cut.

Nationwide, more than $1.2 billion in savings was printed or saved to loyalty cards from and the network during 2009.

The Top 20 couponing cities are below.

2010 Rank Change Since 2009 City State Savings Index
1 Atlanta GA 997
2 Tampa FL 569
3 Cincinnati OH 497
4 Saint Louis MO 420
5 Minneapolis MN 329
6 ↑ 1 Charlotte NC 303
7 ↓ 1 Nashville TN 291
8 Cleveland OH 289
9 Pittsburgh PA 250
10 ↑ 1 Raleigh NC 235
11 ↓ 1 Kansas City MO 233
12 ↑ 3 Washington DC 207
13 ↓ 1 Miami FL 202
14 ↑ 4 Dallas TX 198
15 ↓ 2 Oklahoma City OK 198
16 ↓ 4 Boston MA 192
17 Denver CO 170
18 ↑ 5 Seattle WA 153
19 ↑ 1 Columbus OH 147
20 ↓ 1 Wichita KS 146

Table 1: Top 20 Frugal U.S. Cities

Most On-the-Go Frugal U.S. Cities

Super-savers are tapping into savings via mobile apps for their cell phones, including’s Grocery iQ and the mobile apps.

When it comes to saving on-the-go, the citizens of Atlanta have the most frugal fingertips, based on use of the apps according to the Index, which is reflected in the city’s top position on the Most On-the-Go Frugal Cities list in Table 2. The rest of the South is also smart when it comes to cellular savings. In fact, the South is home to 10 cities represented on the top 20 cities using mobile apps to access, browse, print and save coupons.

“More and more, people are taking advantage of coupons using mobile devices,” comments Pavini. “People are not just clicking for coupons from their computer, they are accessing them on-the-go and even at the supermarket.”

Some cities have a higher propensity to access coupons via mobile phones. For instance, savers in Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Las Vegas and Philadelphia are quick to look to their mobile device to maximize savings and advance on the On-the-Go list relative to their position on the ‘Most Frugal U.S. Cities’ list.

While they’re on the couponing wagon, Minneapolis, Cleveland and Seattle missed the mobile train: these cities ranked high on ‘Most Frugal U.S. Cities’ list, but each moved down several pegs on the On-the-Go list.

Top 20 Most On-the-Go Frugal Coupon Cities are below.

2010 Rank City State Savings Index
1 Atlanta GA 906
2 Tampa FL 531
3 Saint Louis MO 490
4 Cincinnati OH 374
5 Oklahoma City OK 363
6 Dallas TX 282
7 Charlotte NC 280
8 Pittsburgh PA 246
9 Tulsa OK 241
10 Miami FL 238
11 Minneapolis MN 235
12 Washington DC 232
13 Nashville TN 226
14 Raleigh NC 222
15 Wichita KS 219
16 Kansas City MO 214
17 New Orleans LA 198
18 Cleveland OH 196
19 Denver CO 177
20 Memphis TN 165

Table 2: Top Frugal U.S. Cities – Mobile

Cracks in cyber security reveal gaping holes in our digital defenses

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

By Allan Maurer

InZero device

The InZero security device

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – Cybersecurity still seems to be an afterthought among everyone from McDonald’s to Gawker Media, not to mention the U.S. government and military. Too many entities worry about digital security only when it is breached.

Great business strategy that. Apparently, even giving your email address to a publication such as Gawker or to McDonald’s during one of its promotions, can expose your private data these days. Both admitted to serious security breaches as 2010 ends, while many Twitter accounts – including mine – were hacked by someone selling Acai for weight loss this week. Probably because I used the same password for both sites (see: Spammers Exploit Gawker) on Gawker, where I commented maybe once.

TechJournal South had its own problems with a hacked ad server a few months back and had to shift to another. Two major ad networks were hit with a similar problem this week.

And most of those security breaches were relatively minor in the scheme of things. Many more serious ones have already occurred and we have little doubt are to come.

But coming on the heels of the WikiLeaks fracas, these breaches all show a laxness about cybersecurity that I think is increasingly dangerous on the part of commercial enterprises, government agencies and the military, not to mention to each of us personally.

The problem is partly inherent in the open, accessible nature of the Internet. The very ease with which we swim the Internet’s electron sea makes us vulnerable to sharks. Still,the bad guys, be they foreign hacker crews backed by their own governments, malware creators, spammers, scammers or plain old crooks, actively hack away at us, while credit card companies, government agencies, and businesses remain all too often re-active.

We can’t win the cybersecurity battles that way.

It is absolutely necessary – probably for all of us, but certainly for government and commercial entities – to actively combat this problem. Harden passwords, be careful about what we put on thumb drives or pick up on them, shred documents with sensitive data, and find and use security systems not so easy for cyber criminals to break through.

I’ve noted one approach that seems to be powerful, that of using a security device separate from other equipment that acts as a lockbox preventing suspicious or actual malware and other intrusions from ever reaching operating systems. See: Herndon-based firm grabbing media attention for security device. And: NZero keeps the bad guys out.

Meanwhile, Panda Security of Orlando, which provides antimalware software in the cloud rather than on individual machines, has listed the top ten cyber security threats it sees for 2011.

See also: WikiWars: The Face of future conflicts.

There are contrary views. Over at InformIT, Gary McGraw & Ivan Arce explain how the current climate of exaggeration and FUD surrounding cyber attacks does not ultimately serve the best interests of computer security research in Cyber Warmongering and Influence Peddling.

Email TJS Editor Allan Maurer: Allan at TechJournalSouth dot com.

Six lessons for creating successful virtual teams: lesson #1

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Virtual Team Success coverThe office of the future might not be an office at all. As virtual teams become more prevalent, we edge ever closer to a culture where “work” means logging in to your company’s online project management site from your home or collaborating with people who each work for different teams or functions at their local co-working establishment.

“Company headquarters” is becoming more of a concept than an actual building. And as physical location becomes less important, companies can hire the best talent regardless of their location. In addition, companies can enhance their efficiency by handing off work across time zones, enabling them to be productive around the clock.

Especially in the Internet company start-up culture and in early-stage biotechnology companies, virtual teams are increasingly prevalent.

But far too often, say Darleen DeRosa and Rick Lepsinger, this vision of the global economy workplace falls short of today’s reality. In other words, virtual teams may be increasingly popular…but they’re not necessarily successful.

“Today it isn’t uncommon for companies to have as many as 50 percent of their employees working on virtual teams,” says Lepsinger, coauthor along with Darleen DeRosa of Virtual Team Success: A Practical Guide for Working and Leading from a Distance (Jossey-Bass/A Wiley Imprint, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-470-53296-6, $50.00,

“Our research finds that many organizations recycle the same guidelines and best practices they use for their co-located teams and hope for the best,” says DeRosa. “Frankly, that just doesn’t work. Virtual teams and face-to-face teams are the proverbial ‘apples and oranges’—and leaders who recognize this fact are the ones whose teams succeed.”

To help organizations maximize their investment in virtual collaboration, OnPoint Consulting conducted a study of forty-eight virtual teams to understand the success factors of top performing virtual teams. Surprisingly, 27 percent of virtual teams in the global study were not fully performing. Given these results, the authors recognized the need for a resource that could help organizations and leaders enhance virtual team performance—and so they wrote Virtual Team Success.

Through the study, the authors recognized that virtual teams regularly fall victim to four pitfalls:

Lack of clear goals, direction, or priorities—Because it is tougher to communicate with and inform team members who are geographically dispersed, it is often difficult to keep all team members focused on the same goals, especially over time.

Lack of clear roles among team members—In virtual teams, it is especially important for team members to clearly understand their individual roles and how their work impacts other team members.

Lack of cooperation and trust—Because there is a lack of face-to-face contact inherent in virtual teamwork, the process of establishing trust and relationships that lead to group cooperation can be very arduous. Over time, this lack of collaboration can lead to a lack of trust amongst team members.

Lack of engagement—With virtual teams, people can easily become bored and “check out” because there is a lack of dynamic face-to-face interaction and because there are more distractions.

Eliminate these pitfalls and a team’s chances for success greatly increase. Below DeRosa and Lepsinger identify six lessons—excerpted from the book—for creating successful virtual teams.

We’ll be presenting the rest of the lessons tomorrow, including a reprise of Lesson 1, below.

Lesson #1: Focus on people issues. Essentially, successful teaming depends largely on the effective interaction of team members. Virtual teams need to compensate for the inherent lack of human contact by supporting team spirit, trust, and productivity. The authors identify warning signs that indicate that a team’s “people issues” need more attention.

“You may notice that team members work independently and do not reach out to other team members to collaborate,” says Lepsinger. “You may also notice that an ‘us versus them’ mentality has developed between locations or sub-groups. The truth is, when everyone is engaged and communicating, it is much easier to succeed as a virtual team. When team members build relationships with one another, it prevents people issues from taking over and impacting team efficiency.

Lesson #1 in Action:

  • Develop a team web page where virtual team members can share information and get to know one another.
  • Create ways for team members to interact and communicate informally. Use real-time communication tools like Instant Messaging or social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter to create a virtual water cooler of sorts that allows people on virtual teams to communicate more spontaneously.
  • Build a collective online “resource bank” to share information and experiences.
  • Find ways to “spotlight” team members.
  • Send electronic newsletters or updates to the team.
  • Create ways to virtually celebrate successes as a team
  • Partner team members at different locations on projects and rotate these periodically.

Darleen DeRosa, Ph.D., is a managing partner at OnPoint Consulting. Darleen brings more twelve years of management consulting experience, with deep expertise in the areas of talent/succession management, executive assessment, virtual teams, and organizational assessment. Her client list includes Accenture, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Daiichi-Sankyo, Gerdau Ameristeel, and Johnson & Johnson.

Richard Lepsinger is president of OnPoint Consulting and has a twenty-five-year track record of success as an organizational consultant and executive. His client list includes Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Citibank, Coca-Cola Company, ConocoPhillips, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, NYSE Euronext, PeopleSoft, Prudential, and Subaru of America, among many others

Tomorrow: the other five lesson.

Tennessee-based Signix nabs $750K of $2M round

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

SignixCHATTANOOGA, TN – Signix Inc., a Chattanooga-based company that provides digital signatures for secure online transactions to financial services, health, government, real estate and education clients, has raised $750,000 of a targeted $2 million equity raise, according to a regulatory filing.

The company says it helps enterprise transform and expedite transactions, scale their business processes and reduce costs with the proper controls required by regulation, legislation and industry best practices. A SIGNiX digital signature produces legally enforceable documents and electronic records while moving to a true paperless environment.

The company disclosed its equity raise in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which cites one investor in the round so far. Principals listed, in addition to company executives, include Cameron Newton and Dan Marcum from Nashville’s Marcum Capital and director Tory Johnson from Chattanooga Bakery.