Included teams spanning logistics, women-led enterprise, social innovation, early-stage technology, music industry innovation, medical technology & university collaboration
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 11, 2016) – EPIcenter, Start Co., and ZeroTo510 today hosted Memphis Demo Day, where 17 startup teams who completed this year’s groundbreaking “Summer of Acceleration” pitched their businesses from the stage at the Orpheum’s Halloran Centre for Performing Arts & Education in Downtown Memphis.
Teams pitched their businesses and progress to-date, including key milestones and partnerships, as well as the development of products, networks, customer acquisitions, and sourcing strategies. The more than 300 attendees included successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, community supporters and investors from throughout the Mid-South.
“We’re incredibly proud of this year’s cohorts, as each team has made significant strides in developing their businesses since the summer began,” said Eric Mathews, founder and CEO of Start Co. “It’s been rewarding to watch how each startup has evolved and progressed through the accelerators’ intensive programming – from redefining business plans, to sharpening business models, to attracting new partners and customers, to ultimately presenting at Demo Day.”
Demo Day was the culmination of this year’s joint summer accelerator program, which began on May 2. It was an effort to bring the region’s six vertical-specific startup accelerators and one student accelerator together through the rigorous entrepreneurial programming, taught by the region’s top accelerator experts. Each team split time between core curricula at Start Co. and industry-specific activities, led by their respective accelerator cohort director. The entrepreneurs also networked with potential customers, mentors, industry partners and investment capital sources during the summer.
“While cross-collaboration among these startups from different industries was an intended outcome of this partnership, we underestimated the benefits it would bring to our participants,” said Leslie Lynn Smith, president of EPIcenter, the convening partner of the collaboration. “We know now that co-locating these companies together at Start Co. and overlaying industry expertise that is only available in Memphis has helped these startups grow exponentially.”
Teams also participated in Start-Q during the Memphis in May International Festival World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest, which brought founders and business leaders from across the country together for networking events and entrepreneurial programming.
Sponsors of Demo Day included American Airlines, Archer Malmo, AutoZone, Baker Donelson, FedEx, Global Accelerator Network, Hulsey Hunt Parks PC, LBMC, The Marston Group and Mosaik Solutions.
Information about each team can be found below.
2016 Accelerator Teams:
EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator, sponsored by FedEx, was created to help startups bring innovative logistics products and technologies to market. It is comprised of the following teams:
- NovoNav — Provides a personal navigation platform that solves the issue of “Last segment” navigation in areas or buildings that are not mapped.
- iShipdit — Expedia-like platform for matching less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments to unused space that exists on trucks every day.
- SILQ — Relationship management platform that provides actionable intelligence and insights using machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Seed Hatchery, Memphis’ first accelerator, is one of 50 full members of the Global Accelerator Network and focuses on software and hardware as a service for enterprise customers. Its cohort this year includes:
- FitNexx – An interactive virtual reality platform that encourages children to exercise through the use of simulated environments and fitness games.
- FrontDesk Connect – Unveils an alternative solution to the in-room hotel phone by adding a quick connect capability to the guests’ own mobile device at check-in.
- ProxBox – Tailored initially for the real estate market, ProxBox combines proximity sensors with a mobile app to guide potential home buyers through the home in a self-paced manner. Potential buyers receive details room by room by standing near a ProxBox sensor.
Sky High, a social impact accelerator to build innovative business models to address challenges in the Memphis metro area, is comprised of the following teams:
- Org Connect – Combines Salesforce and Dropbox into one program, solving the painful problem that PTA associations have with maintaining record donors, documents, and best practices when there is turnover, i.e. when students (and their parents) graduate.
- One Step Initiative – A social enterprise that partners with universities and community colleges to expose, empower, and instill skills in underserved high school students via international exchange programs, technology, and service models that make them desired higher education students.
Start MMT, one of the world’s first music industry innovation accelerators, was founded in conjunction with Hall of Fame Songwriter David Porter. Its inaugural cohort includes:
- EPKpage – A web-based platform that makes it easy for musicians to create professional electronic press kits and for venues to effectively vet musicians and their credentials.
- Memphis Media Technology – A technology platform that produces plug-ins and other software solutions in the audio engineering space.
Upstart, one of the top ten women-led technology startup accelerators in the world, is comprised of the following teams:
- Coursicle – A course scheduling software and notification service to help college students easily plan their schedules and get into the classes they need to graduate.
- Homey – A mobile app for gamified management of household chores that organizes tasks by taking pictures of the mess and assigning the work to individual family members. Kids complete chores and earn rewards that parents can buy through the app.
- ZoomThru – Turns your car into a wallet using license plate recognition technology to initiate hands free payment at fast food restaurants, parking garages, dry cleaners and other drive-thru locations.
ZeroTo510, founded by Memphis Bioworks Foundation, has been named one of the top 25 accelerator programs in the country by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project for two years in a row. ZeroTo510 focuses on medical technology innovation that takes advantage of the FDA’s 510k regulatory pathway; its teams include:
- SOMAVAC — Creates solutions for the management of post-surgical fluid accumulation after surgeries like mastectomies and hernia removal. SOMAVAC helps patients at home with a wearable, ultra-low profile, low-power suction device that is comfortable and easy to conceal under clothing.
- FlexSpark — A wearable electrical muscle stimulation device used to supplement anticoagulants in DVT prevention. By stimulating the muscles in a way that causes muscle contractions, FlexSpark also decreases the rate of muscle atrophy that occurs in a patient demographic that often has limited mobility.
- Cast21 — Cast21 has designed a lightweight, lattice-structure cast that is customizable, breathable and waterproof, eliminating some of the disadvantages of traditional casts. Its design also allows for the integration of electronic therapies to decrease healing time.
- RistCall — A wearable wrist monitor that replaces the traditional call button in hospitals and nursing care facilities. RistCall’s technology provides patients with an easily accessible communication device and integrates into a shared dashboard for nurses and administrators.
ImagineU, a first-of-its-kind collaboration of seven Memphis colleges and universities (Christian Brothers University, Southwest Tennessee Community College, LeMoyne-Owen College, University of Memphis, Visible Music College, Memphis College of Art and Rhodes College), helps students bring business ideas to fruition. ImagineU is housed at the University of Memphis Crews Center for Entrepreneurship and partnered with The College Initiative.
EPIcenter is the hub of the Greater Memphis entrepreneurship movement. With its network of partners, EPIcenter is the enabler of unified strategies to increase support to new and existing entrepreneurs for business growth. Serving as the broader voice of the partner network and a single point of accountability, EPIcenter measures and celebrates the impact of entrepreneurial support to create a just, inclusive, and growing economy that accrues to all Memphians. More information is at epimemphis.com.
About Start Co.:
Start Co. is a nationally recognized nonprofit 501(c)(3) venture development organization based in Memphis, Tennessee, that relentlessly builds founders and companies, promoting entrepreneurship for everyone with a focus on digital startups. Start Co. is a member of the Global Accelerator Network and aims to advance Memphis’ economic growth through entrepreneurship. The organization is supported by partners including American Airlines, Archer Malmo, Baker Donelson, The Marston Group, Mosaik Solutions and Softlayer (an IBM company). More information can be found at neverstop.co.
ZeroTo510 is unique among accelerator programs in that it focuses on medical devices, leveraging the regional strengths of the Memphis area. The goal of the three-month, mentor-driven program is to help medical device entrepreneurs navigate the start-up process, refine their business models and achieve the Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) pre-market notification filing. ZeroTo510 has been named as one of the top 25 business accelerators in the United States by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project for the past two years and was founded as a collaboration between Memphis Bioworks Foundation and venture capital firms Innova Memphis and MB Venture Partners. More information is at zeroto510.com.
Memphis Bioworks for EPIcenter and ZeroTo510
Lauren Whisenant Waites
Archer Malmo for Start Co.