03 December 2007

I was recently asked to Weigh In

Recently I was asked to "Weigh In" on a question for the Nov. 30th, 2007 Edition of the Memphis Business Journal
The Weigh In: How does your business of industry stand to benefit from Tennessee's increasing business relationship with China?
Here was my reply . . . 

"With the population of China beginning to equal the European middle class in purchasing-power, the demand for innovative new technologies from US firms will grow.   United States Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson recently relayed that China is by far the most rapidly growing market for US goods, having grown nearly four-fold over the past 10 years.   Because of enhanced China-Tennessee business relations, Tennessee firms stand poised to take an even larger share of this business. 

"Looking more specifically at new venture creation: In the technology arena, we know local start-ups turn to China for manufacturing.   What's new is we are seeing Chinese firms approach local start-ups with interest not only in the purchase of products and services, but also with money for investment and even outright acquisition of the start-up to compliment other US acquisitions.  "

13 November 2007

U of M using technology to allow students to carry classrooms with them

I was recently in an article in the Memphis Business Journal:

U of M using technology to allow students to carry classrooms with them
By Michael Sheffield
Published: November 12, 2007

The term smart classroom no longer pertains only to students at the University of Memphis.
To continue reading, go to: http://memphis.bizjournals.com/memphis/stories/2007/11/12/story15.html

07 November 2007

Mercury Launchpad: Pre-Incubation Firm Scouts Incubator Clients

Pre-Incubation Firm Scouts Incubator Clients
Vol. 13, Issue 6
November 2007
NBIA Updates
National Business Incubation Association
Incubator managers know that it's not just the number of potential clients walking through the door that's important. Quality matters, too. Most programs have entry criteria for would-be incubator clients to ensure that companies are ready and willing to accept incubation services.
But what about the entrepreneurs who have a great idea, but haven't yet started a business?
EmergeMemphis, a mixed-use program in Memphis, Tenn., has one way to capture such clients.  It hosts Launchpad, a firm (started by an Emerge graduate) that helps nascent entrepreneurs turn their ideas into companies, in exchange for an equity stake in that company.
"We see [Launchpad] as a precursor to EmergeMemphis," says incubator President Gwin Scott. "They will be our pipeline for qualified companies -- all pre-screened."
That's important because Scott already has his hands full with his 27 incubator clients. "I spend a lot of time on them with strategy, sales, investments," he says. He also is raising funds to expand the incubator so it can take up to 15 additional clients. That leaves little time for the kind of hand-holding a totally new entrepreneur needs -- and that is Launch Pad's stock in trade.
Launchpad currently has three clients, including the winner of a business plan competition sponsored by the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis. As a competition partner, Emerge arranged to have Launch Pad services in the winner's package.
"Since we couldn't write a check, this was our way to help the cause," Scott says. And it was a way to help everybody involved: the competition winner, Launch Pad and the incubator itself.
"We're just trying to help entrepreneurs by building the right community with qualified companies," Scott says.

04 November 2007

Mercury Technology Labs: Mercury Launchpad Opens for Business

For those looking for flexible office space to launch new business ventures check out this latest post.

Mercury Technology Labs: Mercury Launchpad Opens for Business

Memphis Daily News: Entrepreneurs Bank On Fractional Ownership Market

Entrepreneurs Bank On Fractional Ownership Market
ShareCastle LLC recently was formed by Michael Hart, Marc Diaz, and Eric Mathews to take advantage of growth in fractional ownership of vacation properties.
30 October 2007 Memphis Daily News

08 October 2007

Did Someone Say Class of ‘07?

Lantana Projects is gearing up for the second annual juried show of the best, forward-looking art created in 2007 by artists from or living in the Memphis area. The event will be held on Saturday, November 17 from 7:00-10:00 pm, so mark your calendars now!

And artists, be gathering your submissions - details will follow later this week! See the Lantana website for more info. www.lantanaprojects.org

10 August 2007

Computable Genomix software package used like Google for Gene Research

We recently had some news on one of portfolio companies, Computable Genomix . . .

Computable Genomix software package used like Google by gene researchersMemphis Business Journal - August 10, 2007 by Michael Sheffield

. . .

Eric Mathews, a principal with Mercury, sees GeneIndexer as a valuable tool in the research and development of new drugs and antibodies.

"We find the best raw technologies and research talent from research and development labs, both academic and industrial, and create new technology business ventures," Mathews says. "Rapid business prototyping is a critically important component of technological innovation."

. . .

For more information on Computable Genomix visit http://www.computablegenomix.com
For more information on Mercury Technology Labs visit http://www.mercurytechlabs.com

03 August 2007

NanoTect Spin-off Announced

Recently had an article in the Memphis Business Journal on the launch of NanoTect one of the Mercury Technology Labs portfolio companies . . .

Conceived in research, NanoTect becomes first spinoff business at U of M
Memphis Business Journal - July 13, 2007
by Michael Sheffield

. . .

"We can deal with insulation or corrosion problems with electronics suppliers," Mathews says. "This could be a NutraSweet kind of thing, an incremental ingredient that people can brand with. They can say they've got NanoTect on their stuff, like 'Intel Inside.' "

. . .

For more news on NanoTect visit http://www.nanotectllc.com.
For more news on Mercury Technology Labs visit http://www.mercurytechlabs.com.

26 July 2007

27 June 2007

Lantana Event This Weekend

From the Underground Up
Saturday, June 30
7:00-10:00 pm
corner of North Main and Jefferson

Lantana Projects announces the unveiling of a long-term outdoor art
installation by Eric Knoote. A collection of mirror "flowers" - based
on his spiegelbeeld - will be grouped in the downtown lot at the
corner of Main and Jefferson. Through the use of mirrors as a medium,
Knoote creates both a static and dynamic exhibit, where the community
and its activity are literally reflected in the art.

The public is encouraged to celebrate From the Underground Up to mark
the completion of the piece and its introduction to the community.
Beverages will be provided. A suggested donation of $5 benefits
Lantana Projects and this project.

25 June 2007

New Website Goes Live

Just wrapped up a total revamp of my personal website, thanks to the coding expertise of Sarah Petschonek. Visit http://www.ericmathews.com for more info on myself and my activities.

14 June 2007

Perceive the good from the bad

Looking at a recent interview with David Brin I came across something that hadn't immediately crossed my mind . . . . "It always takes a while for the people to learn how to use the new media critically, to be able to perceive the good from the bad." We often see rapid adoption of technologies and new media forms and delivery mechanisms and assume that because people are using them and adopting them that they are immediately good a perceiving good from bad in the new format. David's right . . . More info and a larger excerpt below with a link to the full interview.

Excerpt from David Kushner's interview with David Brin as seen in Discover Magazine online version (06.07.2007)

David Brin states:
"Printing not only vastly expanded the ability to convey human knowledge and memory to other people but also made it more robust. People tend to assume that when things like this happen, it automatically results in an improved humanity. This is what you’re hearing from the techno-transcendentalists on the Internet. It is a religious statement that what we’re seeing on the Internet today is improving discourse and improving democracy and improving markets. I’m very skeptical of that because at the beginning of any of these revolutions, always what is empowered is demagoguery. The immediate outcome of the printing press was the Thirty Years’ War. The immediate outcome of radio was the empowerment of demagogues like Huey Long and especially Adolf Hitler. It always takes a while for the people to learn how to use the new media critically, to be able to perceive the good from the bad."

17 April 2007

Memphis Soul Blog: Lantana Projects' New Exhibit

Lantana Project's Artist Barbara Bickart is presenting her final opus this Friday April 20th, 2007 at 7pm on South Main.

For more information visit:
Memphis Soul Blog: Lantana Projects' New Exhibit

05 March 2007

Financial Times Article

Big business taps into expertise of smaller neighbours
By Sarah Murray, Financial Times
Published: Feb 28, 2007

Here are some excerpts from the article . . .


At the same time, small, young companies are less wedded to ways of operating that in larger organisations, may be embedded in the culture and hard to change.

"It's a difficult proposition to find new business models when you have a current one that's working," says Eric Mathews, co-founder of Mercury Technology Labs, a venture creation company that is working with FedEx's IT Innovation group. "Small companies without bureaucracy and inertia have the flexibility to change and adapt quickly to technological opportunities."

. . . .

If venture capitalists can provide a role as middlemen between IT entrepreneurs and multinational corporations, this is something Mercury Technology Labs aims to do by developing a role as what it calls an "innovation connector". Mercury builds relationships not only with small companies but also with university research and development teams.

As companies continue to look on small companies as sources of innovation, intermediaries - whether they are business incubators, venture capitalists or organisations such as Mercury Technology Labs - are likely to become an important part of the process.

Mercury's Mr. Mathews says: "Large companies have a hard time keeping up with it all. They'll have an R&D group, but there's only so much that group can cover. So we are a force multiplier for them. We're scouts for new technologies."

Article can be seen here

As well as here http://search.ft.com/ftArticle?id=070228000899

25 February 2007

Air Freight and Space Freight

Here is a collection of information and websites, I have gathered to
develop a business plan around Space Freight for the USA.


Space Ports Blog

FAA Commercial Space Transportation Office

NASA Prediction

SpacePorts in the USA

NASA Predicts Market a while ago:

Every year, an average of 2 billion people travel by air and more than
40 million tons of freight are shipped. Air freight is a significant
part of the aviation industry, with estimated total revenues of $49.5
billion in 2005. The total value of goods transported by air in 2005
is estimated to be US$3.25 trillion, equivalent to 35.6% of the
estimated US$9.14 trillion total global exports of goods. (iata.org;

Freight operations (measured in tonnes) are expected to grow faster
than passenger operations. In 2005 freight was estimated at roughly 76
million tonnes and this number is expected to almost triple to reach
about 214 million tons by 2025 (Airports Council International, Global
Traffic Forecast 2007; http://www.speednews.com/a/aciforecast.pdf

An interesting recent analysis reaches just this conclusions—that
there are inherent risks and costs in launches that set a much higher
technical and business price floor than the assumed cost per lb. of
$100 to $400 that some predict would be needed to stimulate rapid
growth of the use of space for commercial purposes. When Physics,
Economics, and Reality Collide, Jurist, John, Dinkin, Sam, and
Livingston, David, July 2005 (draft).

Some cost reductions would be possible with an increased flight rate.
But it still remains difficult today to project any costs less than
$2,200/kg. ($1,000/lb), given that insurance, overhead, range costs,
etc. will sum to at least $1,000/lb, even before the vehicle leaves
the launch pad.

Ultra Low Cost Launch Vehicles A Stimulus For Turning Around the
Dramatic Decline of the U.S. Aerospace Industry

Price Per Pound on Average

Reusable Launch Vehicles Price

According to NASA . . . The average cost to launch a Space Shuttle is
about $450 million per mission.

Surry of England has launched 30 or more small Sats at an average cost
of less than $10 million each. It is highly evident to many, through
market studies, business studies, etc., that if a U.S. launcher were
available in the $5 to $10 million dollar range, the U.S. satellite
market and the associated launch service business would increase by as
much as 3 to 5 times over what is currently forecasted for the next 10
to 20 years. The anticipated growth in these markets will be enabled
by the incredible growth in micro-electronic devices. This will
correspondingly enable a huge growth in highly capable,
multi-functional, micro-satellites provided that ultra low-cost
launchers become available.

22 February 2007

Business Plan Competitions

Business plan competitions support "network creators" in technology development.  Participants in competitions transform uncertainties inherent in any idea and turn them into an opportunity by answering questions previously not answered by inventors.  These network creators change a problem into an opportunity through collaboration and open innovation principles that are fostered through the competition.

Business plan competitions are also designed to accelerate capability building within participants by helping them to learn about business strategy as well as innovation.  The competitions help inventors learn about, explore, and pursue business trajectories that were previously not considered.  In this way competitions permit business experimentation, naturally filtering of poor ideas as well as providing the most promising business opportunities constructive feedback.

By helping participants to master the techniques required to make solid business plans, participants in business plan competitions are well-positioned to create substantial economic value.

Mercury Technology Labs (www.mercurytechlabs.com) is organizing the FedEx Institute of Technology's 2nd Annual Mid-South Business Plan Competition.  For more information visit http://fedex.memphis.edu/bizplan/

20 February 2007

Artist Reception at RP Billards

Please help us welcome to Memphis
our Lantana / UM resident artist for spring 2007,
Ms. Barbara Bickart!

You are invited to join us at
RP Billiards (525 S. Highland)
on Thursday, February 22 at 8:00 p.m.
(following her artist's talk at the
Fogelman Executive Center)

Light hors d'oeuvres will be served.
The bar will offer Happy Hour prices until 10:00 pm.

Lantana Projects is a registered non-profit organization that is making Memphis a global leader in the contemporary arts community.

Lantana Projects, the University of Memphis College of Communication and Fine Arts, and the FedEx Institute of Technology are proud to bring video and interdisciplinary artist Barbara Bickart for a Memphis residency. Bickart's work has been presented at film festivals, theaters and galleries around the world. During her Memphis residency the artist hopes to explore the concept of resistance and its permutations.

Barbara Bickart's Artist Talk on February 22

Lantana Projects, The University of Memphis College of Communication and Fine Arts, and the FedEx Institute of Technology welcome video and interdisciplinary artist Barbara Bickart as our resident artist for spring 2007. The artist will talk about her work, inspirations, and Memphis project at the annual University of Memphis TAP (Technology, Art, Performance) lecture on February 22 at 6:30 pm in room 123 of the Fogelman Executive Center.
The presentation is free and open to the public.

Barbara Bickart's work has been presented at film festivals, theaters and galleries around the world. Her artistic inquiry over the past 15 years has been grounded in issues of power and their relationship to economic, racial, and sexual orientation as well as gender and ethnic differences. The body as a site for these issues has been an integral part of Bickart's query. During her Memphis residency the artist hopes to explore the concept of resistance and its permutations

16 February 2007

Comcast on its way to smooth landing in Memphis

Comcast on its way to smooth landing in Memphis, officials hope for easy transition

Memphis Business Journal - September 22, 2006 by Michael Sheffield

Comcast has finally begun the transition into the Memphis market, and the company is hitting the ground running in an effort to make as seamless a change as possible for cable and digital phone customers.


. . . Eric Mathews, former director of the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis and founder of Mercury Technology Labs, says the growth of On Demand shows that cable providers are listening to the demands of consumers.

"What is very clear is that consumers have spoken. It's an On Demand world and who provides the content is a point of competition now," Mathews says. "Who will win in the future remains to be seen." . . .

31 January 2007

Market Opportunities

Thinking about Camera Phones, Mobility, and Always on Internet there
are few things that would be cool or necessary:
-Speech recognition browser: Surf the web with your voice. Speech
recognition as plugin to the browser.
-GPS and Search Combined: Effectively a new search engine that adds
GPS automatically into the query.
-A system for firms to quickly create physical world hyperlinks that a
camera phone could easily identify and pop up information.

28 January 2007

In the News . . .

Contest looking for seeds of business greatness

commercialappeal.com - Memphis,TN,USA

Last year's FedEx Institute Business Plan Competition winner, Eugene Pinkhassik, offers advice to those competing this year. By Daniel Connolly ...

25 January 2007

(Net)Working to Grow Something Good in Memphis

Here is a great network building event for the cultural leaders and up-and-comers in Memphis, TN.

How do you start a personal or corporate art collection?
Where are there opportunities for artists in Memphis?
How can artists and businesses partner to improve our city's vibrancy and economy?

Please join us on Thursday, February 1
from 7:00-9:00 pm
at Tsunami Restaurant in historic Cooper-Young

for the opportunity to discuss these questions and more
as you mingle with respected guests from Memphis' cultural community.

We will also discuss 2007 activities for Lantana Projects, and tell you how you can get involved!

Entry is $5 at the door, and includes hors d'oeuvres.

Lantana logo
All profits benefit Lantana Projects, a registered non profit organization that wants to
make Memphis a recognized leader in the contemporary arts community.

Learn more about Lantana Projects by clicking the image above, or click here for emerging event details on our blog.