From startups to soccer clubs, Marcus Whitney has built a lot of impressive ventures in Nashville over the last twenty years.
So when you talk to him about the new data showing that more people are moving to Tennessee than any other location, he isn’t surprised.
“There’s already been so much growth and development — and an influx of capital — nothing about those numbers surprised me,” Whitney told Hypepotamus.
Whitney has certainly been part of Tennessee’s growth. He moved from Brooklyn to Nashville and entered the local tech scene with roles at email startup Emma and HealthStream.
He helped launch Jumpstart Foundry, one of the country’s earliest accelerator programs. As programs like Y Combinator and Techstars gained attention, Whitney helped pivot the program into an early-stage investing group known for its focus on healthcare startups in the Southeast and around the country.
Outside of helping get startups off the ground in the state, he was also instrumental in raising the funds to bring Nashville Soccer Club to the area. He serves as co-founder and a minority owner in the franchise.
Launching The Next Generation of Tennessee Talent
Whitney is bringing his background as both an entrepreneur and an investor to his new position on LaunchTN’s Board of Directors.
For him, it’s a way to showcase Tennessee’s opportunities to those moving to the state.
“We have this national narrative going on about the importance of entrepreneurship, and also the fact that entrepreneurship needs to be evenly distributed across the country.”
LaunchTN is a public-private partnership dedicated to making Tennessee the most startup-friendly state. Whitney said he is looking forward to leveraging the untapped potential of growing partnerships across the state.
“With the strength of the network, combined with the business-friendly nature of the state of Tennessee…it’s just a great time for this organization to be front and center in telling the rest of the nation [about the state].”
For Whitney, LaunchTN is a natural extension of the overall spirit found across The Volunteer State.
“It’s for sure true that one of the things that makes this state so great is the volunteer nature. You don’t just get to be successful and well-connected here via your commercial endeavors. There’s strong civic engagement and civic pride across the state.”
It seems like LaunchTN is a natural next step for Whitney.
“Marcus is a case study in how entrepreneurs can find great success in Tennessee,” said Van Tucker, CEO of LaunchTN. “As a serial founder and funder, he’s done amazing things for Nashville and the surrounding areas. His journey, expertise, and commitment to the growth of Tennessee’s business and community make him a perfect addition to the team shaping the direction of LaunchTN. Marcus has been an active supporter of LaunchTN’s efforts, including his participation in 2020’s 36|86 Festival as a distinguished speaker. We’re thrilled to welcome him to the organization in a more formal capacity as a member of the Board of Directors.”
As Whitney steps into his new role, we asked him what advice he has for entrepreneurs considering moving to a new state like Tennessee. His answer: “Think about how much your environment can really do for you. And keep in mind that there are environments that really want you. No business gets off the ground by itself. You can be a great founder, but you really need the support of your ecosystem.”