Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe announced Thursday that Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN), will return to work in the private sector in October. Mr. Brock, who is from Chattanooga, has served in his role since January 2013.
LaunchTN, a public-private partnership, supports entrepreneurs by focusing on early-stage capital formation, market access, commercialization resources, talent development and retention, and startup-friendly legislation.
Under Mr. Brock’s leadership, LaunchTN has built a statewide network to offer mentorship, how-to programming and capital to entrepreneurs building the companies of tomorrow. In addition, the team has developed 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival into the Southeast’s premier entrepreneurship conference, provided programming reaching entrepreneurs in 75 percent of Tennessee counties and developed startup-friendly legislation. Early-stage investment in Tennessee has increased 100 percent during this period.
“Because of Charlie and the team at LaunchTN, Tennessee entrepreneurs have been able to take advantage of the startup-friendly environment that has been fostered in our state,” Commissioner Rolfe said. “More than 1,700 jobs have been created and $186 million has been raised by accelerated-assisted companies thanks to LaunchTN. Governor Haslam and I are enormously grateful to have had Charlie lead LaunchTN for the last five years, and we wish him well on his next venture.”
The Chattanooga native has been a serial entrepreneur for nearly 20 years, having focused primarily on the growth of Southeast Tennessee entrepreneurship and ecosystem development.
“My time as CEO of LaunchTN has been the most rewarding period in my professional career,” Mr. Brock said. “Working with an amazing group of colleagues and many partners across Tennessee, we’ve created a best-in-class collaborative network across the state, substantially increased the availability of and access to resources and developed national relationships that have elevated Tennessee as a great place for entrepreneurs to launch and grow a startup. This will lead to continued future job growth and economic prosperity for citizens and communities across Tennessee.”
Mr. Brock will continue to serve through early fall 2018. His successor will be announced at a later date, following a search process with a committee led by Tom Ballard, emeritus board member of Launch Tennessee.