Williamson Inc. welcoming applications for Franklin Innovation Center startups

An office space is occupied by Tetra Hearing at the Franklin Innovation Center. Williamson Inc., the county's business chamber, is accepting applications from startups for available space in the center, which opened in July to serve as an entrepreneurial hub for the county. (Martin Cassidy/Community Impact Newspaper)
An office space is occupied by Tetra Hearing at the Franklin Innovation Center. Williamson Inc., the county's business chamber, is accepting applications from startups for available space in the center, which opened in July to serve as an entrepreneurial hub for the county. (Martin Cassidy/Community Impact Newspaper)

An office space is occupied by Tetra Hearing at the Franklin Innovation Center. Williamson Inc., the county's business chamber, is accepting applications from startups for available space in the center, which opened in July to serve as an entrepreneurial hub for the county. (Martin Cassidy/Community Impact Newspaper)

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RXThat CEO Shannon Eubanks works in her office space at the Franklin Innovation Center on S. Margin St. The center is seeking new applicants for vacant spaces. (Martin Cassidy/Community Impact Newspaper)
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A shared conference room is in the Franklin Innovation Center at 423 S Margin St. Williamson Inc., the county's business chamber, is seeking new applicants from start ups to fill vacant space. (Martin Cassidy/Community Impact Newspaper)
As an audiologist and avid hunter, Dr. Bill Dickinson founded Tetra Hearing two years ago to sell a hearing device to help his fellow hunters and fishers save their hearing.

“It can also help if you are a cabinetry maker or a construction worker who uses a backhoe,” Dickinson said last week during an open house at the Franklin Innovation Center in the Franklin Grove LeHew Mansion at 423 Margin St.

The center, which is operated by Williamson Inc. in collaboration with the property’s owner, The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, is putting out the call for applicants for remaining vacant office spaces in the entrepreneurship hub, which opened in July.

Tetra Hearing was one of the first three businesses selected for a one-year below-market rate lease at the center.

Dickinson said being chosen for a one-year lease in the center has helped the company’s handful of workers make quicker strides to market their purpose-designed hearing devices to assist hunters.


The company’s devices combine a signature “pursuit-based hearing” technology that amplifies relevant hunt sounds like turkey gobbles or duck calls with muffling gunfire and other loud noises.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do what we’ve done to try to scale the company up if we weren’t together in this space,” Dickinson said.

Nick Biniker, director of talent development for Williamson Inc., said two of the top criteria for applying firms is whether the entrepreneurs show promise to be able to grow and a willingness to collaborate with other occupants of the center.

The available spaces at the center, which are less than 400 square feet, have lease rates of under $800, according to the center’s website.

“We’re looking for particular types of companies that we think can scale,” Biniker said. “It is a good option for a home-based company that needs to rent space to grow but isn’t able to pay market rates.”

Shannon Eubanks, another tenant of the center, said her new firm, RXThat, is looking to provide a digital platform to help patients compare pharmacy drug prices, primarily focusing on a network of independent pharmacies.

In Franklin, Eubanks is working to develop the RXThat app, a digital application, which she said performed well in a one-year trial in Austin, Texas, that was encouraging.

“We want to support independent pharmacies because they are just not getting the business,” Eubanks said.

Claire Krunk, the founder of the third business, Trace Femcare, said the business is developing biodegradable hemp cotton tampons it hopes will appeal to environmentally minded women.

The company’s brands are going to be test-marketed in Europe in hopes of applying for Food and Drug Administration approval, she said.

The opportunity to lease space at the center has given the company latitude to continue trying to seek backers to potentially launch its product next year.

“It has made a big difference in us being able to work together,” she said.

For more information or to apply for a lease online, visit here.
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