LaunchTN Mentor Networks: Student Edition


LaunchTN Mentor Networks: Student Edition (MN:SE) is an eight-month virtual mentoring program for early-stage Tennessee student-founded companies. Startups will connect with a network of valuable guidance and resources while the founders continue to pursue their degrees.

2020 Timeline

January 10
Company applications due

January 31
Selected companies notified

LaunchTN company intake and mentor match (at company location)

February – March
Mentor intake and evaluation (in-person or virtual)

Panel 1: Marketing and sales

Panel 2: Finance

Panel 3: Strategy and culture

Final panel and showcase at 36|86 Festival



The 2020 MN:SE cohort presented their final panel presentations in August. Companies include ARMS Cyber (Vanderbilt), Pure Legacy (MTSU/TN Tech), Shades (Vanderbilt), Skip Cosmetics (Lipscomb), The Beachy Clean (University of TN), and WhatNxt (Vanderbilt). Check out their pitches below!



What you'll gain:

  • A cohort experience with six other Tennessee student-run companies
  • Four in-person panels and workshops with mentors and domain experts, including individual evaluation sessions
  • Feedback and mentoring on your business model and go-to-market strategy, in addition to one or more mentors assigned to your company
  • Startup showcase at 36|86 Festival
  • Program travel expenses covered by LaunchTN

Startup eligibility:

  • At least 50%* of each company’s founders and/or leadership team must be students currently enrolled and pursuing a degree at a university or college
    • Full-time and part-time students are eligible
    • At least one team member must be enrolled at a Tennessee university or college
  • Company must have a written reference from a representative of their college or university
  • At least one person from each company must be present at each of the four panel events. Three day-long sessions will be scheduled for April, May, and June; selected companies will commit to specific dates at the start of the program.

*Preference given to majority student teams



Who makes a great mentor?

  • Senior executives, current and former, with expertise in specific areas (e.g., marketing, finance, regulatory, operations)
  • Subject matter experts
  • Serial entrepreneurs
  • Businesspeople with strong Tennessee networks they’re willing to share
  • Leaders able to critique company presentations and provide feedback
  • Supporters of student entrepreneurship

Time commitment:

  • Lead Mentors are assigned to a Student Mentor Network company and commit to semi-monthly calls/meetings with the company, in addition to attending the company’s panels (outlined above) as available; 2-4 hours per month
  • Domain Experts are called upon on an as-needed basis to provide specific expertise (technical or otherwise) to companies in the Student Mentor Network; 1-2 hours per month/as needed
  • Panelists attend one or more panels (outlined above) to provide feedback to Student Mentor Network companies in the area(s) of marketing/sales, finance, strategy, and/or culture; occasional/as needed


Interested in mentoring a student company?

Apply now or contact allie@launchtn.org for more information.

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