Hearing the music: Soundways snags $200,000 grant
 
Memphis-based startup Soundways won a $200,000 investment this week. Part of it came from the venture capital company Revolution, which established a $150 million “Rise of the Rest” seed fund that was launched by Steve Case and J.D. Vance and backed by a group of entrepreneurs, executives, and investors. ROTR’s $100,000 investment in Soundways was matched by Memphis venture capital firm Innova. 
 

Soundways CEO Gebre Waddell

Earlier this year, Revolution announced it would come to Memphis on a bus tour, one of five cities that are part of its ROTR seed fund. The bus tour showcases emerging startup ecosystems across the country. Eight Memphis finalists made their pitches on Tuesday to the judges: J.D. Vance, David Hall, and Mary Grove, all of Revolution, plus Jeff Cherry of Conscious Venture Lab, and Case, who is Revolution’s chairman/CEO and AOL cofounder.

 
Soundways CEO Gebre Waddell made the winning pitch. His company works on delivering the next generation of audio solutions for music and audio recording, streaming, video gaming, consumer electronics, and automotive markets.
 
The startups that competed were selected from hundreds of entries to compete in the competition.  
 
The other Memphis finalists were:
-SweetBio: revolutionizing the healing of dental and chronic wounds through Manuka honey-incorporated, biodegradable medical devices. (SweetBio won an Innovation of the Year award from Inside Memphis Business magazine in 2016).
-Workbay: an interactive workforce development platform that links recruitment, skill building, and career navigation into a comprehensive system.
-TradeLanes: a digital trade room that automatically generates global trade documents for exporting physical commodities.
-MedHaul: Eliminating healthcare’s most intricate transportation barriers.
-The Lighting Bug: Never drive with one headlight again with the automatic failed light recovery system “the Lighting Bug.”
-DEV/CON: a cyber security company providing anti-ad fraud software.
-HelloHome: bringing honesty and transparency back to real estate with a flat-fee pricing model and industry-leading technology.
 
To find out more about Waddell and Soundways, see Alex Greene’s profile in the Memphis Flyer here. 
 
Innovators of the Year
 
Speaking of innovators like Waddell and his Soundways enterprise, Inside Memphis Business magazine has a way to recognize the top thinkers and doers in the city. Our sixth annual Inside Memphis Business Innovation Awards issue is coming in October and we need to get your nominations for these people and organizations that are at the forefront of evolution — tinkerers, questioners, visionaries — who keep the machine of commerce oiled.
 
Who are these people? Well, just look at the list above of those who made pitches to the venture capitalists (one of whom already won an Innovation Award from us). Nominations have started to come in and we want you to send us your best and brightest candidates. Please include any pertinent biographical or business information, and why the person, business, or organization should be recognized as a leader among innovators.
 
Email your nomination to [email protected]com. Deadline for nominations is July 15, 2018.
 
 
Academic partnerships
 
– Southwest Tennessee Community College and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide Memphis Campus recently announced an agreement to assist students in transferring from STCC to ERAU. The cooperative education path allows the two institutions to work together in creating a way for STCC students who want to complete an ERAU degree. Robin Colwell, director of ERAU’s Memphis campus, says, “We understand the importance of being able to use state scholarships, like the Tennessee Promise, and will work to ensure students are maximizing those resources at STCC before transferring to ERAU.”
 
– The College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center has established a partnership with LeMoyne-Owen College and Rhodes College to address the shortage of nursing graduates in the Mid-South. UTHSC’s College of Nursing Partnership Enrollment Programs (PEPs) will allow enrolled students at LeMoyne-Owen and Rhodes who meet PEP requirements the opportunity to participate in the program. This affords the student guaranteed full admission to the accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program at UTHSC. The program will also allow students who meet additional requirements in the PEPs to participate in a bridge Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or PhD program. 
 
 
Professional achievements
– Cheryl Duffy-Geiger has joined Monogram Foods as Chief Financial Officer. She will be responsible for growing stockholder value, developing strategic business plans, partnering with operations and supply chain, building relationships with banking partners, overseeing accounting, budget preparation, treasury, and other internal financial functions. Duffy-Geiger joins Monogram from Kellogg Company where she was CFO for the largest global business unit, U.S. domestic snacks with revenue in excess of $4 billion dollars.
– Builder and real estate broker Griffin Elkington was named to the 2018 class of 40 Under 40 honorees by Professional Builder Magazine, a national trade publication serving the needs of the country’s home building community. The 15 women and 25 men from around the country have backgrounds in sales, communications, land development, marketing, operations and purchasing. Twelve of the 40, like Elkington, are entrepreneurs in their field of work. Elkington leads Griffin Elkington Residential Construction and Development, a firm that specializes in new construction, remodeling and additions as well as infill development. He is a licensed general contractor and real estate broker in Tennessee.
– DCA, a Memphis-based creative communications consulting firm, has named Wesley Paraham as PR + Social Media Coordinator. He supports DCA’s client public relations and social media strategies with an emphasis on research and content development. His background in journalism and the arts provides a focus on creativity and storytelling while sharing client messages.
 
Man of the Woods? Or “password”?
 
Highspeedinternet.com has released a report that indicates how woefully deficient Americans are about password security. For example, it says that three-quarters of people knew who performed at the 2018 Super Bowl Halftime show, but only about a quarter were able to correctly identify the strongest password from two options. 
 
 
Power Player
 

Becky Bowers, senior vice president of private banking, Evolve & Trust

Inside Memphis Business magazine publishes a list of local Power Players every year. These are the movers and shakers in more than 30 categories who get things done in their respective fields. IMB’s current issue has the complete list. We also publish individual categories in other issues throughout the year, and we feature individual Power Players in our weekly Tip Sheet.

 
Today’s Power Player: Becky Bowers 
Senior vice president, private banking, Evolve Bank & Trust. M.B.A., U of M; B.A., Lipscomb University; graduate, Southeastern School of Banking, Tennessee Bankers Association, Vanderbilt University. 24 years in banking in Memphis, last five years with Evolve Bank & Trust. Mentor, HopeWorks of Memphis. Former board president, Shelby County Education Foundation.