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Venture Forum 2013
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Venture Forum Overview

About the Venture Forum

2013 marks the second annual Life Science Tennessee Venture Forum. The first of its kind, the forum is specifically designed to support emerging companies in Tennessee’s life sciences industry which includes the following sectors: pharmaceutical, medical device, research, biofuels and biologistics.

This year's competition is sponsored by iStart, a business competition platform powered by the Kauffman Foundation. 

Venture Forum participants will compete a host of in-kind start-up business services from partnering firms.

Participation offers the companies an opportunity to present in front of venture capital firms including the four TNInvestcos that regularly invest in the life sciences. They include Innova Fund, Limestone Fund, MB Venture Partners and Tri-Star Technology Fund. Investment decisions, however, are made independently from the Venture Forum selection and judging process.


Congratulations to the five companies chosen to present in the 2013 Venture Forum! 

Mobilizer (Memphis)

Mobilizer has developed a single platform that holds all necessary equipment for a patient during ambulation. Only one clinician is needed to walk the patient, and equipment transfer is eliminated since Mobilizer is left at the bedside. In the average ICU, use of Mobilizer saves up to 160 person-hours that are lost every day just dealing with equipment during ambulation.

REDCap (Nashville)

REDCap is a comprehensive electronic data capture (EDC) solution developed at Vanderbilt University that can be easily adapted to the needs of its target market – small to mid-sized contract research organizations, biopharmas and medical device companies. REDCap currently has more than 96,000 users in 680 not-for-profit institutions located in 58 countries around the world.

Renewable Algal Energy (Johnson City)

RAE has a patented platform technology to produce algal oil at a price competitive with other vegetable oils derived from soy and palm. This technology facilitates production of other valuable components from algae for the human and animal nutrition markets that comprise: protein powder; omega-3 oil; and carotenoids. RAE’s four products are: 1) RAE Technology, 2) protein powder, 3) omega-3 oils, and 4) carotenoids.

View Medical (Germantown)

View Medical has introduced the SurgiLight lighting system, which provides surgeons with a simple, high quality illumination source for deep cavity surgical procedures. This unique LED device delivers a bright and localized light directly into the cavity from any desired angle without the burden of heavy headlamps and wired systems. SurgiLight offers hospitals a cost effective way to improve patient outcomes.


Competition Structure

The Venture Forum is structured as a business competition (unlike last year, the Venture Forum offers only one category for participation).

Chosen company participants will be partnered with a mentor to review company fundamentals and to refine their pitch presentation in preparation for the Life Science Tennessee Conference to be held in Nashville, TN October 9-11.  The chosen participants will deliver their pitch presentations in front of the full conference audience.

A total of five companies will be chosen to present at the conference in October. At least one company will be chosen from each of the state's regions; East, Middle and West.



Eligible companies may have recieved seed funding, but no series A financing. Companies must be established (e.g. LLC, Inc.) and must be based in Tennessee.


How to Apply

Life Science Tennessee is proud to partner with iStart, an application and judging tool powered by the Kauffman Foundation.* Click here or visit to begin your application. APPLICATION WINDOW HAS CLOSED.

iStart is a platform for business competitions and a networking site for aspiring entrepreneurs, mentors and advisors to connect with each other and to bring business ideas to market. iStart is managed by the Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare 

Applications will be judged by Life Science Tennessee partners including venture capitalists, business advisors and life science industry executives.


Judging Criteria

Applications are reviewed by life science business professionals. They will include investors, entrepreneurs, commercialization managers, and executives who interact with life science and/or early-stage companies. The judges will consider specific criteria when evaluating applications; however ultimately, teams are usually are those in which the judges would most likely invest their own money.

This decision is influenced heavily by several factors, including but not limited to: 


  • How compelling the product or service is
  • Commercialization plan


  • Size and scale of market
  • Understanding of the market

Business Model

  • Revenue model development
  • Clarity of business model


  • Management -experience of the team
  • Clarity of regulatory pathway

Competition/Comparative Advantage

  • Awareness of competitors
  • How distinctive is the product vs. others or the status quo 


Global Food and Health Innovation Challenge Partnership

LifeSciTN has established a partnership between the Venture Forum and the Global Food and Health Innovation Challenge (GFHI). The Challenge is a competitive investment opportunity to identify breakthrough prototypes, technologies or early-stage ventures that hold promise for transformative impact on health and food and are scalable business enterprises.

The GHFI is offering a $1 million investment opportunity. Life science start ups are enouraged to apply for both the LifeSciTN Venture Forum and the GFHI Challenge. The Venture Forum mentorship process will better prepare start ups to participate in both competitions. 

The five companies chosen to participate in the LifeSciTN Venture Forum will receive special consideration in the GFHI Challenge. Click here for details. APPLICATION WINDOW FOR BOTH COMPETITIONS HAS N


Important Dates


July 1              Application Window Opens

August 19       Application Window Closes

September 3  Participants announced and paired with mentors

October 10     Pitch Presentations at the Life Science Tennessee Conference and Venture Forum


For more information visit contact Sally Parker at 615-242-8856 or



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