Tech in the Music City - How the Deep South is forging a new tradition

July 24, 2017

This June, IQTalent Partners was fortunate enough to attend the 36/86 Entrepreneurship and Technology Conference in downtown Nashville, just a few blocks away from the NERD (IQTP’s Nashville Executive Research Division). The convention gives a new life to the thriving movement of progress the Southeast – specifically highlighting the region’s growth and success of startups in technology and engineering.

We are seeing this growth significantly at IQTP as we have been connecting with southeast tech firms since we launched five-years-ago. AutoNation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida had us seeking out top talent to build out their e-commerce site; we partnered with Studio Now to strengthen its core engineering team for what has been dubbed the number one video production platform for marketing; and we have just recently begun assisting Digital Reasoning here in Tennessee to find leading data scientists to help its clients make technology patterns more human.

Technology leaders speak at the 36/86 conference


This growth was echoed in scores of bright and talented entrepreneurs at the 36/86 convention who got their chance to pitch their ideas of tech advancement to the community. This competition is at the heart of Launch Tennessee’s event, sponsored by leading tech organizations and venture capital firms in the deep south. This collaboration of partners, called Village 36, have raised $49.7 M as of June 17th, awards the winners of the competition with the FedEx Innovation Prize of $50,000.

We had a chance to speak with one of the competitors Andrew Gowasack who co-founded Trust Stamp, an Atlanta, Georgia startup that is creating a breakthrough identification platform. Using facial recognition, e-commerce and social media presence to create a level of trustworthiness similar to a FICO score. This trust score they say can ensure that you can be trusted across the web and the world.

36/86 also hosted some of the US leaders in technology and business to discuss the new trends in growth, advancements in their companies and the future of the industry. Steve Case, C.E.O. of Revolution LLC and co-founder of America Online, was joined by John B. Rodgers, co-founder of Local Motors which printed the first 3D car, to discuss the “third wave” of U.S. technology.

Case and Rodgers said that state and local governments are the largest factors keeping this growth alive. Case said the mayors and governors are recognizing that “the future of their cities and states are largely in the hands of the entrepreneurs.” Case said that the ones who get this right, who can harness growth potentials of startups will succeed, likening Nashville and The South’s growth to the powerhouses of Detroit and Silicon Valley.

Throughout the convention, we were able to see Kristina Hahn of Google discuss how corporate venture capital should be at the forefront of startup creator’s minds; Derrick Morgan of the Tennessee Titans was joined by Christina Chase of MIT to discuss surprising trends in sports and athletics technology; Jeremy King, the CTO of Walmart talked about how to scale your technology while keeping your customer experience intimate; Bill Frist, former surgeon and U.S. Senate Majority Leader spoke about how the southeast is becoming a hub for healthcare innovation; and Leslie Miley of Slack discussed how to use diversity to tap into a true asset of community and capital building.

All the while, Nashville was highlighted as its National Hockey League team The Predators took the spotlight as the battle for the Stanley Cup was being fought for just a mile from the convention hall inside the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Despite the traffic and celebrations raging across the city, 36/86 was a complete success for Launch Tennessee, and IQTP was very proud to share in something so empowering.

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