Women Wow Again in Launch Tennessee’s 36 86

Launch Tennessee’s fourth annual 36 86 event highlighting entrepreneurialism and southern culture, like its predecessors, was a huge success. More than 950 attended this years event. In addition to the 36 companies who pitched, 100 investment firms joined the proceedings in search of opportunity. They were not disappointed!

As was the case with it’s predecessors, the program offering was outstanding, the presenting startups were excellent, Nashville and the local entrepreneurial community rolled out the “Red Carpet”, and female entrepreneurs were well represented this year.

In fact, as was the case with last year’s event, a female entrepreneur won the event walking away with the $ 5o,000 Prize! Torch, which offers a smart, wi-fi router with user-friendly parental features so parents can manage their kids’ technology simply and effortlessly, was the winner of the non-equity cash prize. Founded by Shelley Prevost, the Chattanooga company was a clear favorite of the audience and the leader of a female contingent of companies. The event included at least ten presenting companies with women founders or who otherwise serve in executive positions. Twenty eight percent of this years companies had females in the “C” suite as opposed to approximately twenty percent last year. A noticeable 40% + increase! 

Launch Tennessee’s 36/86 Startup Conference “Lights it Up” with Strong Representation from Women Entrepreneurs

In addition, the conference kicked off with a Keynote address by Joanne Wilson, a “Super-angel” investor out of New York City and follow-on panel discussion led by Ms. Wilson which Focused on the female experience in the entrepreneurial world. As a bonus, last year’s winner, Jewel Burks, participated on the panel. As is probably obvious, the female contingent “wowed” again!

An overview of the companies and the women who lead them:


Acivilate makes the criminal justice system more efficient and effective through it’s SaaS platform offering. Government agencies currently utilize older, less secure tools for managing their processes. Additionally, agencies face capital and labor constraints as they pursue their missions.  The solution is Acivilate’s mobile, confidential information-sharing platform which is designed to fit the needs of a diverse user base. It combines technology, psychology and compassion to build a mobile platform where professionals and justice-involved people can work together.

Louise Wasilewski

Co-founders Louise Wasilewski, CEO and Darryl DeFreese who serves as CTO. Ms. Wasilewski has more than twenty-five years of experience in the business of software and communications, including experience within four other startups. An MBA graduate of Emory University, Ms. Wasilewski is passionate about improving the way criminal justice works for everyone involved.

Avrio Analytics

The mission of Avrio Analytics is “Delivering the promise of Big Data and leveling the playing field for every business through democratized predictive analytics.” To accomplish this, the company provides Big data analytical services that allows companies to develop predictive models based on data without incurring the traditional costs related to staffs of data science experts.

Alicia Caputo

Alicia Caputo, the company’s CEO is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She brings an extensive background in finance and insurance analytics to the table in her efforts to leverage Big Data capabilities.

36 86

Laura Donald


BLOX provides a nested system of medical modules such as operating rooms, exam rooms, patient rooms, MEP Racks and other complex building components permitting the construction of a faster, higher quality medical building complexes at a cost which is less than those of traditional methods.

Laura Donald

Laura Donald, a graduate of Auburn University, serves as COO of this Birmingham, Alabama company.


Leora Nosko

Collabra, of Louisville, KY, is an education technology company. Their flagship product, Collabra Music, “is a platform that enables instructors and students to better collaborate and tighten their feedback loop. Their technology provides instructors the flexibility to teach and enables students to share feedback, anytime, anywhere. Practice lessons are tracked giving the students a sense of accomplishment, and instructors a birds eye view of their classes.

Leora Nosko

A graduate of the University of Southern Indiana, Leora Nosko, serves as the Chief Revenue Officer of  Collabra. Previously an advertising executive, Ms. Nosko is a Singer / Songwriter, Piano Coach, Certified Vocal Instructor and lover of music and all things related.


Fathom is a Antioh, TN social enterprise which enables young people to earn a living pursuing their passions. By leveraging online technology to support entrepreneurial problem-solving and project-based learning, they empower youth in the communities where they live, learn, shop and serve.

Julie Dunlap

Julie Dunlap, Co-founder of Fathom is a Vanderbilt graduate with more than eight years experience in the medical field and public health education.”A social entrepreneur interested in finding innovative ways to address social problems through community engagement and social capital building.”  Additionally, she has a high interest in ways technology can be leveraged to optimize efforts for social innovation and self-empowerment.


Brook Beach

An e-commerce marketing automation platform that helps online retailers grow their revenue by personalizing the online shopping experience, Kevy is an Atlanta, GA based company. Through Kevy, retailers can engage shoppers in real time and at scale, with messages catered to their unique interests and behaviors.

Brook Beach

Brook Beach, Co-founder & CEO of the company is a University of Georgia graduate with a background in public relations and journalism. Her work history includes more than five years of experience in public relations, special events, social media and marketing. In addition to Kevy, she is Founder and Chairman of MarketWake, a digital marketing agency focused on creating compelling and personalized experiences for every customer.


mSIGNIA, a mobile security company out of Franklin, TN “provides safe, customer-friendly authentication by applying privacy-compliant, ongoing behavioral data analysis to recognize a user across any device, reducing fraud and the dependence on unreliable passwords.” The company’s patented iDNA Platform “uses a mobile-first approach to user authentication, helping businesses limit risk, reduce fraud and enhance the customer experience across all devices, including newly-added devices.”

Emily Anderson

An alumni of Middle Tennessee State University, Emily Anderson serves as Executive Administrator of the company.


Shevirah ia a Herndon, VA based company which “offers software to security professionals that tests the weak link in Mobile Security – the user and all the potential
impacts their actions cause.” Shevriah believes “mobile security has not kept up with the disruption mobile has caused, and software to test mobile security is non-existent.” The company “enables security professionals to test mobile security solutions leading to more secure enterprise endpoints: smartphones, tablets, wearables, and the Internet of Things.”

Georgia Weidman

Noted security author, researcher and trainer, Georgia Weidman, invented the core technology with funding support from DARPA. Ms. Weidman holds degrees from Mary Baldwin College and James Madison University and serves as  Co-founder & CTO.


Jennifer Silverberg of Smart Commerce

Jennifer Silverberg

SmartCommerce is a Barcelona, Spain based company established in 2009. The company launched in the US in 2013. It provides a SaaS tool that gives consumer packaged goods brands like Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and Nestle visibility and control over their customers’ online retail experience. This is accomplished through Smartlin, a “living” brand asset library.

Jennifer Silverberg

A graduate of Furman University  Jennifer Silverberg, serves as CEO of the SmartCommerce. A seasoned executive with more than twenty-five years of experience, Silverberg leads an international team that, through SmartCommerce, offers the major CPG brands the shortest, simplest path into the shopping carts of their end use customers.


Torch, a Chattanooga, TN company and the 2016 36 86 winner, provides a “smart, wi-fi router that gives parents digital peace of mind as their kids explore the Internet.” Torch enables parents to establish the same online rules for their children, as they do for their offline activities.

Shelley Prevost

Shelley Prevost graduated Wheaton College with an M.A. in Clinical Psychology and from Argosy University Sarasota with a Ed.D in Counseling Psychology.  She served as a Clinical Counselor in her early career. In 2010 she became a Partner and the “Director of Happiness” at the Lamp Post Group, the Chattanooga Venture Capital Incubator. In 2013 she became a General Partner in The Jump Fund, a micro VC with the mission to invest women’s capital in female-led companies with growth potential to generate strong financial returns and elevate the role of women in business. In November of 2014 she established Torch.


Clearly 2016’s 36 86 event was a overwhelming success. Based on the attendance of companies being led and managed by female entrepreneurs, it was an overwhelming success for women as well. Finally, top honors once again went to a female led startup. Yes, women Wow again at 36 86!

Want to Read More About Female Led Companies and Women Entrepreneurs?  Check out our Women Entrepreneur’s Spotlight!


Alexa Cleek