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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
Funding Opportunities Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Technology 2020

Location

Knoxville, Tennessee

Project Name

TennesSeed

Program

Seed Fund Support Grant (formerly known as Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds)

Award Amount

$250,000

Matching Amount

$250,000

Technology 2020 (Tech 2020) and Memphis Bioworks Foundation (Memphis Bioworks), two nationally-acclaimed non-profit organizations anchoring technology-based commercialization in Tennessee, will collaborate with their affiliated venture capital funds, Meritus Ventures and Innova, The University of Tennessee Research Foundation, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and LaunchTennessee (LaunchTN) to plan and launch the TennesSeed Proof of Concept Fund.  TennesSeed will accelerate the formation and funding of new companies in Tennessee, with the potential to locate anywhere in the country, and will do so by de-risking very young, promising companies through investments that validate technology, products and services, and market potential.  These proof-of-concept investments will increase the flow of vetted investment opportunities for investors that finance companies beyond the pre-seed or seed stage and will increase the attractiveness of those opportunities, thereby increasing the rate of high quality job creation.

TennesSeed, as a critical early-stage source of capital, will help promising companies to cross common gaps in early stage funding (the “Valley of Death”) quickly and to become viable enterprises capable of rapidly entering the commercial marketplace.  TennesSeed will focus its initial financing efforts around ideas in intelligent, sustainable transportation and logistics, and manufacturing opportunities supportive of that theme, an area in which Tennessee has a clear competitive advantage upon which to build.