Just yesterday we were talking about the 9 accelerator regions in Tennessee. Launch Tennessee is the public/private partnership that oversees those nine accelerator regions and helps promote Tennessee startups statewide. Earlier this month they announced a new initiative, cleverly called TENN, that’s looking to identify the ten top startups coming out of the Tennessee accelerators. The program will kick off August 27th with a statewide demo day.
The TENN is sponsored by the Blackstone Foundation, who we just reported yesterday announced their LaunchPad program was moving into their 5th state, Montana.
“Focusing on innovation and attracting and encouraging entrepreneurs are key economic development strategies in Tennessee,” Gov. Bill Haslam said in a statement. “Launch Tennessee’s initiative to coordinate a statewide network of startup accelerators is an important part of our ongoing efforts and isn’t being done anywhere else in the country. The TENN program, which is one of the most exciting projects to come out of this effort, recognizes the best and brightest of Tennessee’s entrepreneurs. I look forward to the new ideas, partnerships and investments that will result from the program.”
Companies that have graduated from one of Tennessee’s nine regional business accelerators in the last year can apply to be one of The TENN by Aug. 2. A panel of regional and national venture capitalists and angel fund leaders will select The TENN to participate in the inaugural program. The application, a full listing of the panelists, and other program information may be accessed online.
Shortly after demo day, The TENN will leave for a statewide bus tour, where they will meet with leaders of Tennessee’s top corporations. Additionally, during the master accelerator program, The TENN companies will fly to California and the East Coast to network with venture capitalists and angel investors.
Other benefits of the TENN program include office space in the nearest regional accelerator or a subsidy for the company’s existing office space, events that connect the companies to industry-specific mentors, and high-level access to major corporations based in Tennessee.
Governor Haslam will announce The TENN at the statewide demo day, which will also include a keynote speech from John Greathouse, partner at Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Rincon Venture Partners and co-founder of RevUpNet.
“I am looking forward to participating in the upcoming TENN program, Tennessee’s statewide demo day in which the top companies from Tennessee’s accelerators join forces to network and compete,” Greathouse said in a statement. “The TENN program is an outstanding opportunity for startups that are past the initial incubator stage, but are seeking mentors, funding and other critical resources to help them achieve the next stage of success. My hope is that this unique platform spawns similar regional and statewide events targeted at assisting companies that have graduated from accelerators but have yet to reach critical mass.”
Just as it was last year, August will be a huge month for Tennessee startups. Chattanooga’s GigTank, Memphis’ ZeroTo510, and Nashville’s Jumpstart Foundry accelerators will all graduate.
You can find out more about Launch Tennessee here.
This huge startup event for startups everywhere else is also in Tennessee.