Logistics Accelerator now Taking Applications

via Memphis Business Journal

A new logistics accelerator is currently accepting applications for its first cohort of startups.

EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator, which is sponsored by FedEx Express and is part of the Entrepreneurship Powered Innovation Center, will launch May 18 and host its first Demo Day Aug. 13. The accelerator’s goal is to help startups bring logistics technology to market, while leveraging the region’s strengths as the world’s distribution hub.

“With a competitive advantage in supply chain integration, unparalleled business-to-business capabilities, four modes of transportation readily available to connect local companies to a global marketplace and a workforce that has expertise in logistics technology, Memphis can provide the ideal ecosystem and mentorship for this new business accelerator,” said Leslie Lynn Smith, president of EPIcenter.

Created last spring through a collaboration of corporate partners and economic development organizations, EPIcenter has the goal of creating 1,000 new entrepreneurs and 500 new companies in the next 10 years.

Up to six companies will be selected for the first cohort and receive $25,000 in initial seed capital from Memphis-based venture capital firm Innova. National and international startups can apply for the accelerator but must be based in Memphis for the duration of the program. Applications are available at EPIcenter’s website and are due by April 10.

“FedEx was itself an innovation, and our entrepreneurial roots still permeate our culture today. We are proud to support a business accelerator that will give promising new logistics technology companies the resources they need to grow,” said Richard Smith, vice president of Global Trade Services, FedEx Express.

 

Innova Memphis and Start Co. partner to support 2015 B2B accelerator teams with investment

Innova Memphis and Start Co. partner to support 2015 B2B accelerator teams with investment

Partnership to provide Seed Hatchery and Upstart accelerator teams with $25,000 of investment capital

 

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Jan. 14, 2015) – Innova Memphis, an early-stage venture capital firm, and Start Co., a nationally recognized venture development organization based in Memphis, are partnering to invest capital into high-growth-potential B2B startups in the Seed Hatchery and Upstart accelerator programs.  Applications for those accelerator programs are now open.

 

Startup teams selected for Seed Hatchery, the first accelerator in Memphis now focusing on B2B technology businesses, and Upstart, one of the first accelerators to focus on women-led tech startups in the United States, will each receive $25,000 of investment capital from Start Co. Angels and Innova Memphis.

 

“To date, we’ve invested in more than 30 companies, including 16 teams through the ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator, a program of Memphis Bioworks, that alone have gone on to raise $7.5 million,” said Jan Bouten, partner, Innova Memphis. “With this partnership, we’re seeking new startups in the B2B technology space that have the potential to become economic engines and create new jobs.”

 

Start Co. completed four accelerator programs in 2014, including Seed Hatchery and Upstart.  Eighteen accelerator teams came from all over the world in 2014 and benefited from early investment capital, mentorship, and business and technical assistance.  In total, over $3.8 million was raised by Start Co. teams in 2014 adding to a total of over $11.3 million raised in recent years by Start Co. startups.

 

“With accelerator applications now open and Innova engaged, it’s an exciting time for B2B technology startups to tap into the unique resources of the Memphis area,” said Eric Mathews, founder and CEO of Start Co.  “Memphis is an ideal location to build, specifically for startups selling into other businesses or organizations.”

 

Both Innova Memphis and Start Co. are members of EPIcenter, an initiative to boost entrepreneurship in the Memphis region. This partnership marks what will be a series of EPIcenter-led collaborations among entrepreneurial support organizations in Memphis to bring new opportunities to area startups.

 

“Beyond investment, Innova will leverage our team’s expertise in technology and B2B solutions to provide strategic mentorship to participating teams and help grow their businesses,” said Bouten.  “The EPIcenter initiative has enabled this and other partnerships that serve to build the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Memphis.”

 

For more information on the accelerator programs and to apply, visit neverstop.co.

 

About Innova Memphis 

Innova Memphis invests in early-stage, high-growth companies that have the potential to grow into significant economic contributors and generate great returns. Our focus is on companies with strong intellectual property or other competitive advantages in the Healthcare, Technology and AgBio fields. Innova was created by the Memphis Bioworks Foundation to help establish Memphis as a national center of excellence in entrepreneurship. Innova’s goal is to nurture the growth of high technology and entrepreneurial efforts across the Mid-South that will result in significant job creation, economic growth and competitiveness. For more information, and for a list of portfolio companies, vistartsit innovamemphis.com.

 

About Start Co.
Start Co. is a nationally recognized nonprofit 501(c)(3) Memphis-based venture development organization 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 is currently working with JumpStart, Inc. to advance Memphis’ economic growth through entrepreneurship. The organization is supported by partners including archer>malmo, Baker Donelson, The Marston Group, Orion Federal Credit Union, Mosaik Solutions and Softlayer (an IBM company).  More information can be found at neverstop.co.

 

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Chamber and local partners create new “EPIcenter” for entrepreneurs

Via Memphis Business Journal:

If a plan developed by the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle comes to fruition, the entrepreneurial community in the city will get a lot more crowded in the next few years.

The chamber, along with multiple organizations including the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, the Economic Development Growth Engine of Memphis & Shelby County, Innova, Start Co., EmergeMemphis and the Crews Venture Lab, are launching the Memphis Entrepreneurship Powered Innovation Center, an organization that has the goal of creating 1,000 new entrepreneurs and 500 new companies in the next 10 years. The organization will be led by Steve Bares, president and executive director of the Memphis Bioworks Foundation.

The EPIcenter, as it will be known, will assist any entrepreneur starting a business, but will emphasize the city’s economic strengths, including logistics and emerging technologies, healthcare and bioscience.

Multiple member companies of the chamber will have various levels of involvement with the EPIcenter. Richard Smith, managing director of Life Sciences & Specialty Services/US International, Global Trade Services, for FedEx Express, who will represent FedEx, said he plans to take the plan to FedEx’s corporate leadership to gauge the company’s level of involvement. However, having firsthand experience with entrepreneurship, through his father Fred Smith’s founding of FedEx Corp., Smith is looking forward to seeing what companies develop. However, he acknowledges the startup community has been fractured for a few years.

“I see how difficult it can be to deal with Memphis’ fragmented entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Smith said. “This will accelerate and help entrepreneurs navigate the system, and it also creates a strong front door for funding.

J.R. Pitt Hyde, founder of AutoZone, who is also a member of the Chairman’s circle, said the growth of the entrepreneurial sector in the city needs to continue.

“In order for Memphis to get to the next level where startups can move beyond the startup phase requires leadership and support from the business community,” Hyde said. “The Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle is stepping up to transform Memphis into a destination for talent, companies and investment.”

Startup Memphis: Memphis to be EPIcenter of entrepreneurship

Via The Commercial Appeal:

The idea is audacious, innovative and perhaps a little crazy, but if it works, brilliant.

A coalition of Memphis leaders propose to recruit 1,000 entrepreneurs to launch 500 new startups in Memphis over the next decade.

Sounds great, but how?

First off, provide them with support and resources and opportunities to take chances. Next, hold them accountable to the mission of developing solid companies staffed by energetic creatives who will ignite this city with a belief that anything is possible.

That mindset fueled historic entrepreneurship in Memphis and it’s the premise and the promise of the Entrepreneurship Powered Innovation Center or EPIcenter. The initiative was developed by local business, civic, education and nonprofit leaders under the auspices of the Chairman’s Circle at the Greater Memphis Chamber and launched to sizable fanfare last week.

If this plan flourishes the way its organizers hope — itself a high-growth-potential startup, if you will, one that’s scalable and sustainable — more than 4,500 jobs will be created by mostly tech, medical device, and logistics firms resulting in an economic impact topping a half-billion dollars.

So what’s the process?

In short form, more than 100 Chairman’s Circle leaders, including executives from AutoZone and FedEx, selected the Memphis Bioworks Foundation to be the entry point for entrepreneurship in this city. Bioworks will operate as the coordinating agent for entrepreneurial access in this city, collaborating with other organizations to schedule programming, foster mentoring opportunities and direct this influx of creatives to funding sources and make them aware of the variety of entrepreneurship resources available here.

While this coordinated concept is new, the nuts and bolts of this plan have been in place for years. This will just make it simpler for folks with great ideas to look to a single agency that will in turn guide them to the appropriate starting point. And for Steve Bares, who is a driving supporter of this effort and director of Bioworks, the goal of recruiting 1,000 entrepreneurs, launching 500 companies and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity will actually be accomplished in as few as seven years.

That means by 2021, Memphis will be a dramatically different city with an explosive entrepreneurial ecosystem.

For skeptics, consider this.

Since 2009, more than 950 entrepreneurs participated in programming and/or received some level of support from Bioworks, EmergeMemphis and Start Co., three of the city’s top startup accelerators and incubators. From those participants, 181 startups were launched, 532 jobs were created and equity funding from private and angel investors surpassed $50 million, positioning Memphis as one of the region’s emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Building on that foundation, innovative thinkers today are promoting a blueprint for a thriving Memphis of tomorrow. The EPIcenter is the front door and we must make sure that it opens frequently and ushers in a new era of entrepreneurial achievement.