There is something good brewing in TN…

36|86 Festival
2 min readOct 24, 2018

Originally published at on October 24, 2018

Written by Carmen Palafox, Partner at

I’m deeply inspired by innovation ecosystems. Within these communities, I find visionaries that want to push culture forward by challenging the status quo. Through my work as a VC I have had the great fortune of getting to know and explore many states and cities. When I travel, my goal is to develop relationships with folks that I hope to one day invest in or alongside.

I first interacted with LaunchTN at South by SouthWest 2018. I was excited to hear about the ecosystem, so when I was asked to speak I didn’t hesitate. I was curious about the culture and felt that 36|86 would provide the perfect intro. After several action-packed days at the festival, I can confidently say that I’m bullish on Tennessee Tech for many reasons including LaunchTN’s visionary leadership and public-private partnerships.

Visionary Leadership:

The leadership team at 36|86 has fostered community and attracted investors from all over the US to the area, which is important to founders that want to scale to new markets. I met cool local investors and folks from Texas, Florida, New York, and the Bay Area.

Public-Private Cooperation:

It takes money and government support to set an ecosystem up for success. Tennessee has it with Impact Fund, LaunchTN’s seed fund that provides initial risk capital to get founders going. And 36|86 has secured anchors, e.g., Nissan that can open doors for founders. We at dig mobility tech so will keep tabs here.

Cool memories from 36|86 Festival:

  • My favorite sessions: panel on Opportunity Zones, AMA with SEC Chairman Jay Claton, and mentor hours with local founders.
  • Great eats around town: Husk- yum.
  • Good times: Live On The Green…I’m a sucker for live music!

Thanks for the hospitality TN. I look forward to investing in one of your startups…

About MiLA
MiLA Capital is a venture capital firm that invests in technology-enabled hardware. The firm invests in seed stage hardware in various sectors including ag+tech, healthcare+biotech, mobility+aerospace, advanced manufacturing, and clean energy. MiLA’s ecosystem includes an early stage accelerator (Make in LA), a coworking space (Toolbox LA), and a strong partnership with NEO Tech — a global tier 2 contract manufacturer.



36|86 Festival

36|86 brings together innovators, pioneers, investors & visionaries to shape the future of business.