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February 09, 2020 | Tom Ballard

LaunchTN expands pilot Bundled Initiative to East Tennessee start-ups

A program first pilot-tested last fall with support from Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN) is now being rolled-out in a second phase to support entrepreneurs in East Tennessee.

The program, called the Bundled Initiative, is designed to provide a “bundle” of pre-paid professional services that will enable an entrepreneur to quickly and completely meet an important milestone on the road to a successful launch. Those services could include legal, accounting, technology, marketing, human resources, business development, or assessment and coaching.

Courtney Jones, who is also the Founder of Knoxville-based MomSource Network, developed the concept for Bundled based on her experience as a Tennessee Founder and worked with financial support from LaunchTN to pilot test it with start-ups participating in a cohort of the Bunker Labs Nashville Chapter.

“Our goal is to see the selected companies hit their next major milestone during the program by providing them access to select vendors who are offering their expertise at a preferred rate,” she explained. “We look forward to partnering with Launch to utilize this program to better understand the needs of growing start-ups in Tennessee and to provide the resources to support them.”

The program runs from March through September.

“We’re excited to collaborate with our East Tennessee network partners on this innovative program to support start-ups,” said Margaret Dolan, LaunchTN President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our Bundled Initiative will enable entrepreneurs to enlist the right professionals to tackle milestones and make progress toward their goals. Bundled is also a terrific enhancement to the growing ecosystem in that part of our state, with the addition of Sync Space in the Tri-Cities as part of our LaunchTN network. We’re thrilled to extend our network of resources to help Tennesseans succeed.”

Ahead of the pilot with Bunker Labs, Jones vetted professional services resources in the various subject areas and negotiated hourly rates. Then, each of the participating start-ups was allocated a certain number of units that could be used to secure services needed to meet the agreed upon milestone.

That same approach will be used in the project focused on East Tennessee.

Applications from start-ups interested in participating are now being accepted until February 25. One important eligibility requirement is that applicants must be located in the East Tennessee region and have an affiliation with a LaunchTN network partner. The organization has enabled continued scale, based on funding specific to the region, and hopes to continue to scale beyond East Tennessee as the program succeeds and is viewed by network partners as valuable for start-ups.

On the application website, Launch Tennessee provides answers to a number of questions including the types of services available. They include:

  • Legal (contract, intellectual property, licensing, raising capital, employee equity, business formation options, vendor/employee agreements, and research);
  • Accounting (tax compliance, forecasting, budgeting and planning, financial solvency, bookkeeping, payroll, and employee benefits);
  • Technology development (technology or security review, minimum viable product analysis, prototype development, software development, technical staffing and interviewing assistance, and bridging of business and technical matters);
  • Marketing/design services (email marketing, graphic design, press kit, content marketing, public relations, website, and search engine optimization);
  • Human resources (recruiting, job descriptions, salary surveys, employee handbook and employment contracts);
  • Business development (growth leadership, automation and lead generation); and
  • Assessment and coaching (focus groups, management consulting, sales assessment, and executive coaching).