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Mod I Super Lunches



Lunch with an Entrepreneur, Mod I, 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 1:00 to 2:00, Dean’s Conference Room
Tim Estes , Tim Estes—Tim is Chairman and CEO of Digital Reasoning, a company that has created a machine approach to language that enables computers to “read” text and extract meaning from the structure of the text.  It interprets a word by analyzing the context in which it is used.  

The technology has been applied to cyber security:  The technology enables an organization to build profiles of suspected hackers and their networks and then have the software monitor their activities to head off cyber attacks.  It can analyze massive quantities of data to generate information about possible threats to a facility, such as an electrical plant, or other high profile target.  It can also be used for analyzing massive amounts of information to help financial traders make better decisions. 

The company has affiliate arrangements with top tier technology and consulting firms, such as Accenture, Oracle, Amazon web services, and Booz, Allen, Hamilton.

Goldman Sachs led a $24 million financing round for Digital Reasoning last October.  The following quote from Buzz (October 9, 2014) gives some idea of the scope of applications for the company’s products.

Digital Reasoning has seen the global demand for its machine learning algorithms capable of analyzing human language data at scale surge across all sectors with applications ranging from fraud, risk management, compliance and security to customer intelligence, supply chain intelligence and market research. Digital Reasoning will use the funding to accelerate the development of its product roadmap, sales, strategic partnerships, and customer success – both in North America and in Europe. 

The company headquartered in Nashville has additional offices in  Washington, D.C., New York city, and London.

Link to press release showing how Digital Reasoning created a Neural Network that beats what Google has done:

Tuesday, September 1, 1:00 to 2:00, Dean’s Conference Room
Kris Kelso  This is from Kris’ Linkedin page:
I am an entrepreneur, consultant, and advisor with a broad history in information technology. In 2007, I founded The Kelso Group, a technology and management consulting firm based in Nashville, TN. Over the years, we have walked with our clients through mergers, acquisitions, corporate moves, major technology shifts, and organizational restructures. I have been privileged to serve as an advisor to a wide range of companies, from early stage to Fortune 100.

In January of 2015, I joined Atlas Health as President and Chief Executive Officer.

For the past several years, I have served as a mentor at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and with Jumpstart Foundry, a startup accelerator program recently featured as one of the to 15 accelerators in the U.S. Through those programs, I have become involved in a number of startups as both an advisor and a shareholder / investor. 

I sit on the board of directors of several non-profit organizations, and am a member of the Board of Governors and Ambassador's Council for Opportunity International. I regularly travel abroad to observe and participate in the programs these great organizations are leading. I am also actively involved in Cornerstone Church, where I serve as an elder, teach classes, and coach other leaders.

I have been a featured speaker at technology and leadership conferences, private corporate events, and university programs. I have written articles for The Nashville Business Journal and various technology industry / trade publications.

Thursday, September 10, 1:00 to 2:00, Dean’s Conference Room
Laurie Snively.  Laurie is the co-founder of Chirrpie, a ticketing platform that enables people planning events to efficiently manage the ticketing process for the event, to analyze ticket purchaser data, and to use their data to drive higher attendance a t future events.
In 2013, Eventbritte, a competitor firm, processed over $1 billion in ticket sales through its system.  A fee of just 2% of this total is $20 million, plus a fee of, say, $1 per ticket for each ticket sold (say, $100 per ticket), or $10 million adds up to a decent revenue of $30 million for the company.  Selling tickets is a big business, as our own Trisha Fridrich can tell you.  And with smart phones, the process can be scaled to the point that you don’t need many people to run the company.  A typical transaction will have a customer use a computer or a smart phone to order, pay for, and receive a ticker all in a matter of minutes.  The smart phone can even become the ticket through the use of a QR code that appears on the phone.
Millenials are moving away from buying stuff to buying experiences, and this company taps into that trend.  
Come hear Laurie tell about how she has built this company to capture a slice of the money millennials spend on experiencing events rather than accumulating stuff.  It should be an interesting session.


Tuesday, September 15, 1:00 to 2:00, Dean’s Conference Room
Rob Shults  Rob Shults  (Owen 1996) is President of Honours Golf Company, where he guides its strategic direction and business development activities. Rob began his career in banking with Wachovia Bank in Atlanta.  While there he met Robert Barrett who had been working in the golfing industry for many years.  The two combined Rob’s knowledge of finance with Robert’s knowledge of  golf course operations to start Honours Golf in 1998.  They wanted to create a different type of golf course, one that provides more than just an ordinary round of golf.  

Rob and Barrett’s first business deal was with Highland Park Golf Course in Alabama—the oldest course in that state. Since then, the two have steadily added to their portfolio, which now includes a total of 12 courses located throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. Some of these properties were signed through golf course management contracts, as in the case of Highland Park, while others came about through development deals, in which Honours Golf assisted with the design and construction. Shults and Barrett have purchased several golf courses as well. 

Monday, September 21, 1:00 to 2:00, Dean’s Conference Room
Steve Berneman (Owen 2010)  Steve graduated in 2010 with both a Law Degree and an MBA Degree  from Vanderbilt in 2010.  He began his career working for a law firm in Austin, Texas, where he specialized in technology and start-up funding and acquisitions.  
The Tennessean describes the company this way:

OverDog, founded by Berneman and former Chicago Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer, launched its mobile app in 2013 and is run by a team of six full-time employees. It has close to 400 athletes who play with fans, and the investment partners will help guide the company’s growth. As a part of the funding, Stuart Larkins from Chicago Ventures joined OverDog’s board.
The company has an ap that allows sports fans to play against professions athletes on video games.  The company has already raised over $4 million in funding from local and national investors.
Here is the full link in the Tennessean that tells about the company.
Here is a press release from Chicago Ventures about Overdog:
Company web page: