"The first Southland conference was a big success for Tennessee because it brought together entrepreneurs and investors from all over the country to exchange ideas and experience our state's hospitality and culture," Gov. Bill Haslam said in a prepared statement. "This partnership with PandoDaily is a great way to grow the event, which I, and many others, believe has the potential to be the most important technology startup conference in the Southeast."
Launch Tennessee focuses on four main areas—entrepreneurship, commercialization, capital and outreach—to support business development
This summer at the first conference, which drew more than 650 entrepreneurs and investors to Nashville, Chattanooga company Variable Inc. won $10,000 and the title of Most Innovative Startup.
PandoDaily founder and Editor-in-Chief Sarah Lacy opened and delivered the keynote interview at the first Southland conference. A Memphis native, Lacy has been covering technology news for more than 15 years, most recently as a senior editor for TechCrunch.
"At our core, PandoDaily is a media company that connects people and bridges ecosystems," she said in a prepared statement. "There's no better time for entrepreneurs in the South to band together as a region and step up and command some attention."
Another key collaborator working with Launch Tennessee on this year’s Southland is AC Entertainment, co-creators and producers of the Bonnaroo Festival.
The two organizations worked in tandem last year surrounding the entertainment components of the conference.
For 2014, AC Entertainment will play a bigger role as collaborative partner, especially surrounding the Southern culture and music aspects of Southland.
Charlie Brock, the CEO of Launch Tennessee, used to be executive entrepreneur of Chattanooga's The Company Lab.
He said that the partnership with PandoDaily will help expand the brand and mission of Southland.
"The first annual Southland was met with incredible reception and proved to be a great success," he said in a prepared statement. "We are excited for 2014, and the partnership with PandoDaily will only increase the caliber and appeal, truly making Southland a one-of-a-kind tech conference."
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