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Two Tennessee Cities Selected For National Tour of Emerging Startups

Chattanooga, Memphis will be stops on spring 2018 RISE OF THE REST® bus tour

Nashville, Tenn. (Feb. 14, 2018) – Launch Tennessee, a public-private partnership that supports entrepreneurs from ideation to exit, congratulates our partners in Chattanooga and Memphis for being selected to join the RISE OF THE REST® bus tour. Embarking on the seventh trip since its launch in 2014, the bus tour showcases emerging startup ecosystems across the U.S. With the addition of Chattanooga and Memphis, Tennessee is the first state to have three cities visited by RISE OF THE REST®, following a stop in Nashville in 2014.

Governor Haslam expressed his excitement about the selection of two more Tennessee cities through a video message, saying it “validates us [Tennessee] as the startup-friendly environment that Launch Tennessee has worked hard to build.”

LaunchTN connects entrepreneurs with the private sector, capital sources, institutions and government to offer a favorable ecosystem for entrepreneurs to thrive.

“Congratulations to Memphis and my hometown of Chattanooga for earning the opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurs on a national stage,” said U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN). “Tennessee has always been a business-friendly state with industry-leading healthcare, logistics and manufacturing innovations. This recognition from Steve Case and the team at Rise of the Rest is proof that Tennessee is also a startup-friendly state.”

Tennessee is one of the only states with an entrepreneur-resource infrastructure that operates at the state level. CO.LAB in Chattanooga and Epicenter in Memphis, members of this statewide network supported by LaunchTN, will be stops on the RISE OF THE REST® tour.

Tennessee has always been home to smart entrepreneurs,” said U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). “Today, organizations like Launch Tennessee and RISE OF THE REST® are helping more Tennesseans start and grow businesses. I’m glad the rest of the nation is hearing that Chattanooga and Memphis are two of the best cities in the nation to launch a business.”

The inclusion of both Chattanooga and Memphis marks the first time the RISE OF THE REST® tour has visited two cities in one state.

“The selection of Chattanooga and Memphis as 2018 RISE OF THE REST® cities is a testament to entrepreneurship in our state,” said Charlie Brock, president and CEO of Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN). “We’re thrilled to have this national spotlight on Tennessee and all the incredible work our entrepreneurs are doing. With three cities recognized for their startup ecosystems, we believe we’re closer to achieving our vision of making Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the country.”

The RISE OF THE REST® bus tour is powered by investment firm Revolution; AOL co-founder Steve Case is the Chairman and CEO. Case will lead the tour with RISE OF THE REST® Seed Fund partner and “Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance.

Each tour day ends with a startup pitch competition for companies based in the tour city, with the new RISE OF THE REST® Seed Fund investing $100,000 in the winning company. In addition to the pitch competition, RISE OF THE REST® spends each tour day bringing together local entrepreneurs, businesses, nonprofits, universities and public officials to discuss the opportunities and challenges of fostering startup growth, including by hosting a fireside chat on regional entrepreneurship.


About Launch Tennessee

Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership that fosters entrepreneurship, with the goal of making Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the country. Partnering with Entrepreneur Centers in six regions across the state, LaunchTN offers access to technology skills development, capital sources, entrepreneurial resources and more for high-growth-potential startups. Visit LaunchTN.org to discover what makes Tennessee the best place for innovative tech companies.


In its fourth year, the RISE OF THE REST® bus tour is a nationwide effort powered by Revolution to showcase founders in emerging startup ecosystems across the U.S. Since the tour launched, Steve Case and team have traveled more than 8,000 miles on a bus to visit 33 cities and invest in local startups. This spring, the bus tour will make stops in Chattanooga, TN, Birmingham, AL, Dallas, TX, Louisville, KY, and Memphis, TN. Google for Entrepreneurs, a longtime RISE OF THE REST® partner, will again provide coaches to help founders with their pitches. More information on the RISE OF THE REST® bus tour is available at www.revolution.com and by following @RiseOfRest and #RiseOfRest on Twitter and Instagram.

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