Revisiting Nashville’s Standout Tech Stories from 2017
By Laura Pochodylo
It’s been quite a year for Nashville’s growing tech community, and Forward Beat has been along for the ride, documenting some of the most interesting creators, innovators, and businesses along the way.
When you’re moving at startup speed, things can change at a moment’s notice, and growth can happen overnight. With that in mind, we thought it would be fitting to wrap up 2017 by checking in on what’s going on with the subjects of some of the year’s most popular stories.
Even More from EVAMore
This spring we covered the rise of EVAMore, a platform that connects talent with event planners to simplify the booking process. We caught up with cofounder Channing Moreland, who started EVAMore with fellow Belmont University student Makenzie Stokel, to see what is next for the company.
While EVAMore was born out of inspiration from the booking process of the music scene, the platform has now found more markets that need their streamlined service. The biggest change, Moreland explains, has been some of these expansion projects and their success.
“We have added corporate event planners to our customer segment,” Moreland said. “Now our platform is a vetted entertainment resource for college campuses, corporate companies, and occasional weddings. The corporate sector has been a major learning curve but a promising one with an average recurring booking rate of 92 percent per corporate company.”
Looking towards the new year, EVAMore is gearing up for making more marketing moves.
“We have not spent a dollar on an actual marketing campaign because we wanted to wait to ensure we really knew our customers: their personalities, what they need from us and what matters most to them at the end of the day,” Moreland shared. “Now that we have listened intently in 2017, we are excited to make a few splashes in 2018 and market EVAmore.”
Hacking Nashville at Tech Hill Commons
In early 2018, Tech Hill Commons, the Nashville Technology Council’s innovative new space, will host a demo day from the Nashville Software School’s most recent cohort as well as the 9th Annual NTC Awards. The awards is “dedicated to connecting, uniting, developing and promoting Middle Tennessee’s rich community of developers and technology entrepreneurs, enthusiasts and institutions” and will feature 14 categories honoring local innovators.
— NashvillePost (@NashvillePost) December 8, 2017
Stay tuned to the Tech Hill Commons event calendar for more.
Getting Global with Gigamunch
In one of this year’s tastier stories, we told the tantalizing tale of a foodie’s dream becoming a reality by connecting eaters with authentic international food via Gigamunch.
It’s been a while since we covered Gigamunch last January, and Enis Cirak, cofounder and marketer at Gigamunch, filled us in on what the food community has been up to in the meantime. They have been hard at work expanding the cultural learning side of their product, creating cultural guides to accompany each meal.
“These guides are beautiful printed materials that tell stories and fun facts about each region. The meals also come with a playlist of popular songs from that country,” Cirak explained. “All of these changes are meant to provide a more immersive and unique experience. By sending people a different cultural experience each week, we hope to broaden horizons and expand worldviews.”
What’s on the docket for 2018? Growth. Cirak says Gigamunch feels confident in the product after spending time perfecting it, and are ready to get more users on deck. With growth, however, comes its own challenges.
“Our biggest challenge moving forward is maintaining our high quality and attention to detail as we grow,” Cirak said. “We want to stay true to the authentic and delicious meals we’ve made so far, as well as continue to improve the entire experience.”
And, while every meal is delicious, Cirak said if he had to pick a favorite, it would probably be cuisine from Nepal.
West Meets South with GrowthX
GrowthX, a seed-stage venture capital company making moves to make Nashville the Silicon Valley of the South, has continued to make a splash in the region since we last spoke with them.
One of those literal moves was that of cofounder Andrew Goldner when he relocated to Nashville from Palo Alto.
“For both personal and professional reasons, I was attracted to the energy of Nashville, which I best describe as hopeful, faithful and happy,” Goldner explained.
Since arriving in Nashville, Goldner has been active in the community by speaking and mentoring at universities and the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council in addition to meeting founders across the state in cities like Memphis and Chattanooga. Being present in Tennessee was instrumental in one of GrowthX’s latest partnerships.
“If we were not present in Nashville, we would not have met Ecos, a promising local startup well on their way to product-market fit and raising a Seed Round of venture captial,” Goldner explained. “Ecos was born out of necessity by the successful team at Snapshot Interactive, an award-winning creative agency, that needed a simple tool for their account executives to easily prepare and share sale collateral that was current and brand compliant. Soon, clients starting asking to use the tool and a powerful new SaaS product was launched.”
— TN Entertainment (@tnentertains) October 24, 2017
GrowthX continues its work identifying the best startups around the country with a focus on market and sales viability instead of creators in a vacuum. This practical and thoughtful approach, Goldner explains, helps GrowthX stand out in the southeastern region.
“Startup success is no longer about prototyping a product; it’s about finding product-market fit and that’s what’s most promising about the Nashville—and the entire State of Tennessee—startup ecosystem,” Goldner said. “We are amazingly well-positioned to build a reputation and a stronghold at least as powerful as Silicon Valley by focusing on the market developer.”
Here’s to a 2018 full of innovation and exploration in tech here in Nashville! One thing you can count on: Forward Beat will be there to tell our city’s stories.