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Charlie Brock

Tennessee startup businesses attracted more than $280 million from investors last year, up 7 percent from the previous year due primarily to a surge in money put into emerging sectors like music, logistics and medical devices.

Launch Tennessee, the public-private partnership created by the state four years ago to promote the growth of entrepreneurship in the Volunteer State, said today that investments in 2015 brought the total amount of public and private money put into startup firms in Tennessee to more than $945 million since the state began tracking such totals in 2012.

"The spectacular growth of Tennessee as a center for startup innovation is a testament to the entrepreneurial culture of the region and has been exciting to watch," said Charlie Brock, the Chattanoogan who serves as CEO of LaunchTN. "Entrepreneurs and investors alike sent a strong message in 2015 that Tennessee is a fantastic place to launch a new business as we increased our investment total following a record year in 2014."

Brock said investments outside of Tennessee's traditional source of most venture capital investment in technology and health care jumped nearly four fold last year. At the current investment rate, total capital raised by Tennessee startups will eclipse $1 billion early this year, well ahead of LaunchTN's target date of 2017.

LaunchTN's flagship entrepreneurship conference and culture celebration 36|86 is slated for June 6-7, 2016 in Nashville. A regional series of pitch events will lead up to this national event highlighting the best of culture and entrepreneurship in Tennessee and the Southeast.

Updated Feb. 2 at 10:40 p.m.

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