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Launch Tennessee bolsters offerings for entrepreneurs with two new hires

State’s innovation-based economic development organization adds commercialization and capital managers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN), a public-private partnership that fosters entrepreneurship across the state, recently added two new hires, Allie Mikels and Shaun Randolph, to its team, enabling the organization to provide increased programming and resources to founders of all stages. Mikels joins LaunchTN as commercialization manager and Randolph as capital program manager. Both positions are new to LaunchTN.

As commercialization manager, Mikels will seek to expand the organization’s commercialization portfolio, working closely with various stakeholders and universities to deepen connections and delivering numerous resources to startups seeking to commercialize their technologies in Tennessee.

Mikels recently graduated from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development with a master’s degree in education. Prior to joining LaunchTN, Mikels was the associate director of Project Return, Inc., an organization that focuses on helping former prisoners enter back into their communities and the workforce.

“Tennessee has both exceptional research universities and a wealth of talented entrepreneurs eager to commercialize their products,” said President & CEO of LaunchTN Margaret Dolan. “While LaunchTN currently offers a number of resources for entrepreneurs, including grant-writing assistance and the SBIR/STTR matching program, adding Allie to focus on commercialization full-time will enhance our program at a time when new technologies are hitting the marketing daily.”

Randolph will manage LaunchTN’s capital program, assisting entrepreneurs as they seek traditional and alternative forms of funding. He brings 10 years of experience in entrepreneurship and investment advising to the organization, most recently serving as managing director of SoTech Ventures, a Los Angeles, Calif.-based company with a platform to help startups transfer technology assets between private and non-profit corporate structures.

“LaunchTN works to ensure startups have access to angel, venture capital, corporate venture capital and alternative funding sources for non-venture backed founders,” said Dolan. “Shaun’s years of experience as a venture capital advisor will greatly benefit Tennessee entrepreneurs who are seeking funding in such a competitive marketplace.”

These two hires came soon after Dolan finished a statewide listening tour in January where she met with entrepreneur centers, city leaders and startups in cities across Tennessee to learn about the obstacles and opportunities in each region to foster innovation and promote small businesses.

About Launch Tennessee
Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership that supports entrepreneurs from ideation to exit and is guided by a vision of making Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the nation. Partnering with Entrepreneur Centers in six regions, Launch Tennessee creates collaboration among entrepreneurs, the private sector, capital sources, institutions and government to offer entrepreneurs what they need to succeed and stay in Tennessee to build companies and create jobs. Visit LaunchTN.org to discover what makes Tennessee a great state for startups.

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