Two Knoxville start-ups, one Chattanooga company make it into “The TENN”

The TENNBy Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates. P.C. It was an all-day celebration yesterday in Nashville of the best that Tennessee has to offer among the graduates of its nine regional accelerators.

The first ever “The TENN,” organized by Launch Tennessee, featured pitches by 20 start-ups from across the state interspersed with presentations by nationally-recognized speakers.

The event was held at The Bridge in Nashville. When the dust settled on Tennessee’s first statewide “Demo Day,” 10 companies were selected to move forward as participants in a statewide “accelerator on steroids.” The official term used by Charlie Brock, LaunchTN Chief Executive Officer, is “master accelerator.”

The 10 selected start-ups begin a statewide tour week after next to meet corporate executives from Kingsport to Memphis, become engaged with a team of 40 “master mentors,” and travel to the East and West Coasts for meetings with angel investors and venture capitalists.

Yesterday’s event was organized by LaunchTN, the public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in the state.

Six of the 20 presenting companies came from East Tennessee, and three of those made it into the final 10 when Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam made the announcement. Those selected from this region were:

Others selected to move forward were:

With the exception of Health & Bliss, the names above are linked to the company websites.

Other presenters from East Tennessee were:

We will have additional stories in the days ahead on the special presentations made during the event by Robert Galvin of Blackstone Charitable Foundation, a key underwriter of “The TENN” event; Sabeer Bhatia, one of the co-founders of Hotmail; and John Greathouse, another serial entrepreneur and Partner in Rincon Venture Partners.

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