LAUNCH TENNESSEE will launch a recruitment effort for a successor to Jason Denenberg, its current director of entrepreneurship and capital formation. LaunchTN CEO Charlie Brock said the job description is being finalized and may be available for would-be applicants as early as next week. Denenberg, as previously reported, two years ago formed the healthy-eating startup Nourishwise. Denenberg will wrap-up his more than three years with LaunchTN on June 30, not long after LaunchTN's flagship 3686 conference, earlier in the month. Denenberg said he'll be raising about $500K capital, once free to focus on that full-time.
Jill Van Beke
MENTORS for Tennessee's lifesciences sector have proven they can add real value to sector startups since the launch of industry association Life Science Tennessee's Statewide Mentors Network, led by Jim Monsor, as previously reported. Monsor's network has nearly 50 mentors. Co-sponsor Launch Tennessee had months ago signaled that the mentor-network model might be replicated for other industries in Tennessee. During a LaunchTN event yesterday that was designed to help commercialization entrepreneurs win Federal SBIR-STTR grants for the earliest of nondilutive funding, Monsor and LaunchTN Director of Innovation and Commercialization Jill Van Beke mentioned that, indeed, plans calls for replicating the mentor network for Agriculture, Energy and eventually, probably, the Automotive sector. Today, Van Beek said that Memphis Bioworks Foundation exec Pete Nelson will step-in to lead the Ag mentor network. Van Beek also said LaunchTN is in discussions with allies in the Energy sector to identify a lead for the Energy mentor network. VNC