Lindsey Cox is the Chief Executive Officer at Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN), a public-private partnership supporting entrepreneurs and innovation across the state of Tennessee.
A Tennessee native, Lindsey has dedicated her career to the support and acceleration of startups and entrepreneurs in Tennessee and the Southeast. During her first tenure at LaunchTN, she reimagined 3686 Entrepreneurship Festival into a two-day celebration of startup founders, investors and partners, which generated national attention for Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. She also created LaunchTN’s government relations team and oversaw the passage and administration of the state’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Matching Program, which to date has deployed $11M of grants into tech-enabled, Tennessee-based companies.
Lindsey’s experience is vast with tenure at the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Washington, D.C., she led their signature grant program, Build to Scale. To recently, serving as CEO of The Company Lab (CO.LAB) in Chattanooga, TN, where she oversaw the relaunch of Startup Week Chattanooga, revitalized legacy programs and put in place a team positioned to grow Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Marketing & Communications DirectorClose
Marketing & Communications Director
Ashley Currie currently serves as the Marketing & Stakeholder Engagement Director, overseeing LaunchTN’s brand, marketing, event strategies and stakeholder relations.
She is a Nashville native with some midwest living in between, receiving her B.S. in Marketing from Northern Illinois University. Ashley is an entrepreneur and creative, bringing years of experience within corporate marketing, advertising and managing her own marketing consultancy along with being the founder of Nashville’s only multicultural lifestyle magazine, Urbaanite.com.
When she is not working, you can find her on a hiking trail, laughing with family or honing her at-home chef skills, trying out new recipes.
Khrys Hatch is a Nashville native and Summa Cum Laude graduate of Fisk University.
He currently serves as Launch Tennessee’s Capital Formation Manager where he works to expand and expedite the availability of capital to TN startups so that they can grow, be sustainable, create jobs, and build accessible economic prosperity. As part of those efforts, he manages LaunchTN’s investment fund, investor relations efforts, and several other capital-focused initiatives.
Outside of LaunchTN, Khrys is an active musician. He is also an HBCUvc Fellow and a class 74 graduate of Young Leaders Council.
Charles Layne, known as “Chuck” to friends and colleagues, currently serves as the Innovation Manager at Launch Tennessee, where he works to facilitate the commercialization of technologies across the state of Tennessee in addition to striving to improve the Tennessee innovation ecosystem through policy, advocacy, and development efforts. Before joining the team at Launch Tennessee, Chuck worked in Nashville and Memphis on a variety of housing, transportation, and public infrastructure projects. He holds a bachelor’s degree in community development and a Master of City and Regional Planning from the University of Memphis. His background in the civic realm taught him the importance of entrepreneurship in building equitable communities and instilled an appreciation for the ability of technology to build a more sustainable, resilient, and prosperous Tennessee tomorrow.
Chuck’s earliest entrepreneurial experience was a short venture of undercutting school vending machines in the 3rd grade, which he used the exit proceeds from to build his first computer. While not actively an entrepreneur, he plans to pick up artisanal pickling in retirement. Or build a smart city technology to address one of his pet peeves, like the urban heat island effect or poorly constructed bicycle lanes. For now, his favorite part of working at Launch Tennessee is connecting with entrepreneurs who have a vision for how they can create something new for the places they call home.
When not dreaming about the future, Chuck usually spends his time thinking about Nashville hot chicken, rooting for the Memphis Grizzlies (and Memphis at large), planning a trip to get lost in the mountains of East Tennessee – or a combination of the three.
Emily Masters is Development Director for LaunchTN. She began her more than twenty-year career in the nonprofit and public sectors as a Resolution Writer for the Tennessee General Assembly. She then spent eight years as a Program Officer then Director for Humanities Tennessee, the state partner affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2009 she began working as an independent Development and Fundraising Strategist, going on to help a broad spectrum of organizations and institutions achieve their funding goals and hone their strategic missions. Among her many engagements with clients from within and without the state,
Masters wrote and managed a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grant for the state of Tennessee, raised the local matching funds for Metro Arts when Nashville hosted the Americans for the Arts Convention, functioned as Development Consultant for NashvilleHealth from the point of its founding through the departure of the inaugural CEO, and most recently wrapped up nearly three years with The Porch Writers’ Collective, where she more than tripled the organization’s annual grant funding.
A lifelong Tennessean, Masters holds an MA in English from East Tennessee State University. Her own experience as an entrepreneur (as founder of a Nashville-based dance studio that has been in business since 2008) informs her passion for the mission of LaunchTN. Additionally, Emily serves as the District 3 Representative on the Metro Nashville Board of Education.
Evan is a Knoxville native and graduate of Appalachian State University.
He serves as the Capital Analyst where he oversees the BuildTN Regional Seed Fund, the Venture Fellows Program, and the TN Deal Reports.
He loves 11-minute naps, Dolly Parton, and dabbling in sports.
Finance & Administration DirectorClose
Finance & Administration Director
Katherine currently serves as the Finance & Administration Director, overseeing Launch Tennessee’s financial, audit, HR, and other administrative activities.
She is a Nashville native, receiving her BBA in Accounting from Belmont University. After spending several years in the tax worlds of both public and private accounting, she opened her own CPA firm, with many of her clients becoming some of Nashville’s most beloved establishments. During this time, Katherine also served as the CFO for several clients across various industries. She loves combining the 30,000-foot view with systems and processes that allow companies to work smarter.
Katherine is a CPA and member of the AICPA and TSCPA. She also serves on the Advisory Board for Restore Small Groups.
Network & Talent ManagerClose
Network & Talent Manager
A product of the LaunchTN Internship Program herself, as well as working with The Biz Foundry and Tennessee Tech’s iCube, Ashlin has gained experience with Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem on multiple levels. Being exposed to the innovation and entrepreneurship program in college ignited Ashlin’s love of ideation and collaboration, working to ensure entrepreneurs thrive as a founder at any stage.
As LaunchTN’s Market Building Manager, Ashlin has the opportunity to connect our Network Partners across the state, support university engagement and manage various initiatives at the organization. Ashlin is a Tennessee native and earned her undergraduate degree in Finance and Economics and an MBA concentrated in Information Systems from Tennessee Tech University. She enjoys venturing outdoors with her pup, water skiing and scuba diving with her family, and trying too many Pinterest crafts and recipes.
Abby has significant experience working with the state’s startups and innovation-based economy through her work as executive director of BioTN and Life Science TN (LST).
Abby is also a partner at Hall Strategies, a public and government relations firm. She was a driving force behind Tennessee’s SBIR/STTR matching program, as well as the development and expansion of LaunchTN’s Mentor Network programs that now assist startups in the life science, automotive/mobility, energy and ag-tech industries.
Abby has vast experience managing multi-faceted, complex projects that include communications, policy and advocacy, events, membership development, fundraising, and grassroots campaigns.
A native of Oak Ridge, Abby is a graduate of the University of Tennessee. Abby is regularly engaged in community work. She has a passion for education, the biosciences, the Nashville Zoo, Tennessee’s lakes, and hot chicken. Her husband Doug is a high school history teacher. She has two daughters, one freshman at Purdue and the other a senior at Nashville’s John Overton High School.
Chief Investment OfficerClose
Chief Investment Officer
Monique Villa recently joined Launch Tennessee as the organization’s first Chief Investment Officer, leading a new $70M fund backing early-stage companies in Tennessee. She is also the Co-Founder of Build In SE, a network of ecosystem builders committed to supporting entrepreneurs in the Southeast. Prior to joining Launch Tennessee, she was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) with Mucker Capital. In 2018, she joined Mucker’s investment team and opened the firm’s first satellite office in Nashville to lead investments into early-stage startups across the Southeast and North America.
A native of Los Angeles, Monique’s career in early-stage venture capital began in 2013 as Head of Investor Relations for Velos Partners, a fund based in Los Angeles and Singapore focused on emerging markets. She also served as Chief of Staff to the founding partner of Core Innovation Capital, a fintech-focused fund based in LA and San Francisco. Earlier in her career, Monique advised digital entertainment startups on business development and strategic partnerships and later went on to lead a startup accelerator for students in the Greater Los Angeles area. Her startup career began in 2008 while interning for TOMS, where she supported finance and inventory management projects for several nationwide launches.
Board of Directors
Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
Clear Strategies Group
Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP
Chief Alliance Officer
Pershing Yoakley & Associates (Emeritus)
Assistant Vice Chancellor
Center for Technology Transfer & Commercialization Vanderbilt University
Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer
Eastman Chemical Company
Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz (Emeritus)
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Pendant Biosciences, Inc.
Dr. H.M. “Hash” Hashemian
President & Chief Executive Officer
Analysis and Measurement Services Corporation
Rep. Patsy Hazlewood
Tennessee General Assembly
Dr. Brian Noland
East Tennessee State University
Dr. Stacey Patterson
Vice President for Research, Outreach and Economic Development
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Chief Strategy Officer
Denny Wayne Robinson
White County Tennessee
Sen. Bo Watson
Tennessee General Assembly
Founder & CEO
Dr. Thomas Zacharia
Oak Ridge National Laboratory