Vendor Registry co-founder says California trip validates his startup

Guest blog by Chris Van Beke, co-founder of Vendor Registry.
Launch Tennessee’s master accelerator program, The TENN, took 10 startup companies –- including my company, Vendor Registry –- to Silicon Valley this week. We have spent the week networking with entrepreneurs, investors and media and working from some of San Francisco’s co-working spaces and accelerators.
It has been a great opportunity for me and other Vendor Registry co-founder, Brian Strong, to talk about our company to a new set of people. We’ve connected with many of the incredible startup folks in Knoxville and throughout Tennessee, but this trip has introduced us to California-based investors and entrepreneurs that we would have been hard-pressed to meet on our own.
This week’s learning events gave us the chance to see the headquarters of Google and Intuit, as well as Microsoft’s Silicon Valley office. We received valuable advice on a variety of topics, but these events also introduced us to more people than we could have ever imagined. We made great contacts through the events Launch Tennessee set up and by working on our own during our free time.
The startup culture in San Francisco is obviously different than Tennessee’s. We have had a great time experiencing the energy that can be found everywhere from co-working spaces and accelerators to coffee shops. We also learned a lot about Tennessee’s strengths in entrepreneurship. The feedback we have received this week definitely shines a light on our great state and the bright future ahead. I think we are all leaving San Francisco feeling validated by our conversations and confident that we can bring a flavor of that startup culture back to Tennessee.
Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in the state of Tennessee with the ultimate goal of fostering job creation and economic growth.  Brock can be reached at or @cebrock on Twitter.