Charlie Brock, the 48-year-old co-founder of FourBridges Capital Advisors and the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, has been named chief executive of Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN), the public-private partnership created by the state to support high-growth companies in Tennessee.
Brock was elected at a board meeting today in Nashville where directors of LaunchTN also picked Stuart McWhorter, president of Clayton Associates in Nashville, as the organization's new vice-chairman.
Bill Hagerty, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and chairman of LaunchTN, praised Brock for his experience in promoting startup ventures and investing in local companies, especially as part of Chattanooga's Gig City initiative to promote more local web-based ventures.
"Charlie's experience as both an entrepreneur and investor will be critical in advancing our state's rapidly growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, over time helping create jobs and economic prosperity for Tennesseans," Hagerty said in a statement today.
Brock succeeds Brad Smith, Hagerty's former chief of staff, who had served as interim CEO of LaunchTN during a critical phase in which he developed the strategy for Haslam's job initiative in his first year in office.
"LaunchTN is a critical component of our state's economic development strategy and a unique platform to facilitate an environment where Tennessee's great entrepreneurial DNA can be unleashed to help create the next FedEx, Pilot or HCA," Hagerty said.
In 1998, Brock helped establish Foxmark Media and grew it into one of the nation's largest mall advertising companies. As the CEO and largest shareholder, he structured two rounds of private financing before selling the company in 2006 to Australia-based EYE Corp., one of the world's leading out-of-home media companies. After selling Foxmark, Brock helped launch FourBridges Capital Advisors, a lower-middle market investment bank based in Chattanooga where Brock served as managing director.
Brock most recently served as a general partner of the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, a Chattanooga-based angel investment group, and as the CEO of CO.LAB, a Chattanooga accelerator that provides advice to entrepreneurs and runs the summer Gig Tank program. Brock is an organizer and director of CapitalMark Bank and Trust in Chattanooga and also serves as a director of the Dixie Group and Park Media Software. Brock will officially begin his role at LaunchTN on Jan. 28.