First Recommendations from Data-Driven Plan to Support Makers in Shelby County to Roll Out this Fall

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (June 19, 2017) EPIcenter and Little Bird Innovation today announced the first recommendations from a plan focused on growing maker businesses and strengthening the maker community over the next three years in Memphis. The plan was developed using data from the Made By Project, first-of-its-kind qualitative and quantitative research of more than 300 makers, artisans and micro-manufacturers in Memphis and Shelby County, Tenn. The announcement comes during the National Week of Making, June 16-22, which highlights activities in communities throughout the United States that celebrate the innovation, ingenuity, and creativity of makers.

The Made By Project sought to understand the aspirations and needs of “makers,” or entrepreneurs creating and selling physical goods created at small scale in one of four sectors: packaged food and beverage; fashion and accessories; home goods; and technology and hardware. The resulting development plan outlines strategic and tactical solutions that are intended to create and coordinate programs and infrastructure to support maker businesses and to prepare those who want to scale to meet the demand for handcrafted and small-batch products.

Implementation of the plan’s entrepreneurial support recommendations will be led by EPIcenter, while Little Bird Innovation will continue to develop the maker network established through the Made By Project outreach. The first two recommendations within the plan, which fill infrastructure gaps within the maker ecosystem, are:

  • Business Plan Competition, Fall 2017: EPIcenter will seek entrepreneurs to build businesses around several of the recommended solutions within the development plan, including logistics-related solutions. These solutions not only address challenges identified through the Made By Project, but they also have the opportunity to leverage the region’s global logistics capabilities into a competitive advantage for Memphis-based makers. EPIcenter previously partnered with the Memphis Medical District Collaborative and U3 Advisors on the Operation Opportunity Challenge, which called for entrepreneurial solutions to challenges within Medical District anchor institutions. More information about the proposed solutions in the logistics space, application process, and competition prizes will be released in August of this year.
  • CO.STARTERS Cohorts, Late Summer and Winter 2017: CO.STARTERS is a nine-week program that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn business ideas into action. Each week tackles the fundamentals of business owning and operating, such as intellectual property issues, customer discovery, customer relationships, pricing, break-even points, associated costs, maintaining financial records, creating a workable business plan, and more. EPIcenter will facilitate two CO.STARTERS cohorts in 2017 that are customized for makers and entrepreneurs who support the maker community. Winners of the business plan competition are expected to participate in one of the cohorts.

“By starting with known challenges that creative entrepreneurs face within our ecosystem and looking to entrepreneurs to solve those challenges with real businesses, we can exponentially strengthen our economy and our system of support,” said Leslie Lynn Smith, president and CEO, EPIcenter. “Beyond these first initiatives, we’re looking forward to connecting makers – especially African American, Latino, and women makers – to more capital, customers, partner organizations, and programming in the region that can help them grow their businesses.”

Over the next three years, the development plan aims to grow the greater Memphis economy in new areas, specifically: the number of maker enterprises, especially by women and minorities; the diversity and quality standard of products; the number of micro-entrepreneurs scaling to small- and medium-sized businesses; the demand for skilled workers; and the brand perception of Memphis for making and creative enterprises.

“Together with EPIcenter, we are jointly committed to moving these proposed solutions forward, with the goals of realizing the economic potential of this segment and fostering a vibrant, thriving and inclusive community of makers and artisans across the region,” said Nicole Heckman, co-founder of Little Bird Innovation.  

In addition to entrepreneurial support, nominations are open for a Maker Council that will give strategic guidance and advice to help grow creative entrepreneurship in Memphis. Nominations of makers, including self-nominations, can be made through this link and are due on Friday, June 30.  

The Made By Project, results of which were released in February and served as the basis of the development plan, explored the following:

  • Data about makers in the region, including demographics, geographic location, the kinds of products made locally, and the business goals and aspirations of respondents
  • Assets and gaps in the area’s maker ecosystem, including sourcing, logistics, production, distribution and sales channels, as well as business support and skill-building services
  • Opportunities and challenges makers typically experience as they start a business
  • Distribution of makers across business stages, from hobbyist to reputable national or global brand, and the fundamental resources they need to succeed and grow

In December 2016, Etsy, a marketplace where people around the world connect, both online and offline, to make, sell and buy unique goods, named Memphis as a “Maker City.” Memphis is the fifth North American city to be named a Maker City, a designation given to a network of “strong municipalities that value entrepreneurship, sustainability, and responsible manufacturing with the creative and innovative spirit of the Etsy community,” according to Etsy.com. A map of makers in Shelby County can be viewed here, and artisans, makers, and micro-entrepreneurs are invited to add themselves to the Memphis Maker map.

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About EPIcenter

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 Little Bird Innovation

Little Bird Innovation is a Memphis-based research, strategy and design firm focused on projects that drive economic development, social impact and civic innovation. We collaborate with others to tackle challenges that inspire us. From developing plans to support food entrepreneurship among immigrants and refugees to helping the Memphis public library system redefine its value and role in the lives of its residents, we bring a people-centered approach to solving complex problems. More information is at littlebirdinnovation.com.

 

2017 Summer of Acceleration Teams Announced

More than 30 startup founders and students will build businesses in downtown core

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (May 1, 2017) – EPIcenter, the collaborative hub of the Memphis entrepreneurship movement, Start Co., accelerator programming expert and member of the Global Accelerator Network, and Memphis Bioworks, the region’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience, such as health and agriculture, today announced the teams that will participate in their joint accelerator program known as the Summer of Acceleration. The programming culminates in Memphis Demo Day on August 10.

This year, 18 teams will participate in rigorous entrepreneurial startup programming across the six accelerators in the Summer of Acceleration. Accelerators will be supported by Start Co.’s core programming and expertise while co-located at its downtown space, and each accelerator partner will provide industry-specific programming. By the end of the summer, many of the teams will have built or refined a business model, conducted customer discovery and sales pipeline development, developed relationships with potential mentors, and made connections with seasoned investors. To date, more than 40 teams have graduated from accelerator programs to post-acceleration and secured more than $40MM in investment.

The teams, listed below under each specific accelerator program, hail from around the world and include a diverse mix of apps, platforms and initiatives:

AgLaunch, a leading global accelerator focused on agriculture, is a joint initiative of Memphis Bioworks Foundation and Tennessee Department of Agriculture. This year’s teams are:

  • Microbiometer (Englewood, NJ): Microbiometer is a rapid on-site soil testing tool that measures microbial mass. This means soil health can be assessed quickly and inexpensively, compared to traditional assay methods.
  • Persistence Data Mining (San Diego, CA): Using proprietary UAV technology, Persistence Data Mining rapidly develops soil nutrient maps over large tracts of farmland. These maps dramatically improve the efficiency of automated fertilizer applications by providing more detail than traditional soil sampling methods.
  • Kilimo (Cordoba, Argentina): Kilimo provides a decision support tool for irrigation management in broadacre agriculture. Using satellite, climate, and on site data, Kilimo feeds their proprietary Big Data engine to make the best possible irrigation prescription for each crop.

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:

  • Throughput(Houston, TX and Dubai, UAE): Eliminates supply chain waste by providing software as a service, data analytics, and predictive analytics that discover bottlenecks, automate tasks, and add controls to standard operations.
  • Truck Driver Power (St. Louis, MO): A mobile app that facilitates information-sharing among truck drivers, ultimately aimed at solving the driver satisfaction problem by providing drivers with credentials and information that enable lifestyle and career improvements.
  • MedHaul (Memphis, TN): Provides full-service software for scheduling and dispatching patient transport. It ties together healthcare organizations and patient transport brokers to automate processes, reduce costs, increase efficiency, increase patient satisfaction, ease audit and compliance processes, and provide improved data analytics.
  • Shurpa (Chicago, IL): Provides customized B2B delivery logistics, offering a new level of visibility for merchants and control for consumers that lowers costs for carriers and provides a new last-mile delivery capacity. Through software, it connects a network of neighborhood micro-depots in under-utilized space in existing businesses and gig-economy drivers.

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:

  • Ajax Intel (Memphis, TN): A predictive algorithm that indicates stock price direction based on capital markets drivers, in particular sentiment drivers, from social media.
  • ArtSquare (Nashville, TN): An online marketplace that consolidates artists’ online portfolios on one platform for uniform, transparent transactions and reduced silo portfolio management.
  • Merjek (Memphis, TN): Produces data integration software for healthcare institutions using graph databases to make data more accessible and usable.

Sky High, a social innovation accelerator, focuses on education technology startups (EdTech) and is comprised of the following teams:

  • Building Box (Memphis, TN): Creates youth and student technology labs made from shipping containers to serve schools and learning institutions trying to scale technology efforts to youth in disparate communities.
  • SILQ (Memphis, TN): A data visualization and predictive tool that allows schools and third-party education organizations to see data across all their platforms and creates tracking databases with predictive capabilities to increase intervention opportunities for at-risk youth.
  • The Collective (Memphis, TN): A dynamic programming, partner connectivity, and management organization addressing opportunity youth ages 16-24 who have been removed from school or work for six months or more.

Upstart, one of the top ten women-led technology startup accelerators in the world, is comprised of the following teams:

  • Dev/Con Detect (Los Angeles, CA): Protects the advertising revenue of online publishers with detection, clean-up, and on-going monitoring so that it cannot be skimmed by internal and external hackers.
  • Alwaz Pro (Memphis, TN): An online career development tool for Pink Collar and Blue Collar employees who currently do not have a place to post their degrees, work history, professional recommendations, and more.
  • Mozak Solutions (Memphis, TN): A company that assists entrepreneurs with tasks they no longer have time for, such as bookkeeping and web design, so entrepreneurs can focus on growing their businesses.

ZeroTo510, founded by and operated 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:

  • PathEX (Nashville, TN): PathEX is creating a dialysis-like device that can capture and remove blood-borne pathogens, including multi-drug resistant variants, and associated toxins for the treatment of sepsis, a deadly condition that affects some 18 million people each year.
  • EMBrace (Memphis, TN): EMBrace has designed a unique back support device for individuals suffering from diseases of the spine. Unlike existing braces that trade off traction versus mobility, the novel design allows continuous application of the needed traction with unconstrained mobility that allows the user to flex, extend or twist their upper body.

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. Due to the nature of the program, teams have yet to form, though specific student participants have been selected.

“Our accelerator program is unique in the level of one-on-one mentorship and access to experts, industry partners and mentors,” said Eric Mathews, CEO and founder of Start Co. “This is the seventh year that Start Co. has operated accelerator programming in Memphis, and each year we are excited to see how teams grow and evolve before Demo Day, and then where they go during post-acceleration.”

Each team will participate in joint educational sessions along with customized curriculum focused on industry and sector-specific activities with their accelerator cohort. In addition, teams also have access to potential customers, mentors, industry partners and investment capital groups.

A critical component in any accelerator program is funding. Memphis Bioworks-founded Innova Memphis is an early-stage investor focused on starting and funding high-growth companies in the Bioscience, Technology and AgTech fields. The organization provides investments for companies in ZeroTo510, AgLaunch, EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator, Seed Hatchery and Upstart.

“This accelerator partnership leverages the diversity of participants and industries to truly create an unparalleled experience for the participating teams,” said Leslie Lynn Smith, president and CEO, EPIcenter. “Throughout the summer, we’re excited to connect these entrepreneurs into our collaborative ecosystem that will support their continued growth here in Memphis.”

The newly chosen accelerator teams are also participating in this year’s Start Q events, hosted by Start Co., EPIcenter, Memphis Bioworks, Emerge Memphis, and Innova, from May 17-20, during the Memphis in May International Festival World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest. Sponsors include American Airlines, IBM, LBMC, Louisiana Startup Prize, OPS-FUEL, Send Grid, ServiceMaster and Southern Sun Asset Management.

The Summer of Acceleration will culminate on Aug. 10 with Demo Day, the startups’ opportunity pitch their startup ideas to investors, share their insights with the greater entrepreneurial community and network with community leaders. Partners for the Summer of Acceleration include American Airlines, Archer Malmo, AutoZone, IBM, Baker Donelson, Mosiak, The Marston Group and many more.

About EPIcenter:

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 IBM. More information can be found at neverstop.co.

About Memphis Bioworks Foundation:

Memphis Bioworks is the Mid-South’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience and sustainability. A visionary community leader, Memphis Bioworks has a well-established record of sparking new levels of economic vitality by investing in entrepreneurs, building state-of-the-art labs and facilities, and training the next generation of workers. For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org.

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CONTACT:                                                                                                

Lauren Whisenant Waites
Archer Malmo for Start Co.
LWaites@archermalmo.com
901-260-4121

Jessica Taveau
EPIcenter
jessica@vibrantmemphis.org
901-220-2710

Ralph Berry
Memphis Bioworks
rberry@sullivanbranding.com
901-486-4269

Seventeen Startups Presented Business Plans at Memphis Demo Day Aug. 11

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.

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About EPIcenter:

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.

About ZeroTo510:

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.

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CONTACT:     

Jessica Taveau 
Memphis Bioworks for EPIcenter and ZeroTo510
JTaveau@memphisbioworks.org
901-866-1435

Lauren Whisenant Waites                                                         
Archer Malmo for Start Co.                                                                      
LWaites@archermalmo.com
901-260-4121                                                                                             

Summer of Acceleration Launches in Memphis with 18 Teams Across Seven Accelerators

More than 50 startup founders and students will build businesses in downtown core

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (May 2, 2016) – EPIcenter, hub of the greater Memphis entrepreneurship movement, and Start Co., a member of the Global Accelerator Network, together with ZeroTo510, have today announced the teams that will participate in this year’s groundbreaking ‘Summer of Acceleration.’ This will be the first time in the region that six industry-specific startup accelerators and one student accelerator will journey together through rigorous entrepreneurial startup programming led by the region’s top accelerator experts to grow and develop their business.

The teams, listed with their respective accelerator, hail from around the world and include a diverse mix of apps, platforms and initiatives:

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 100-foot” navigation in areas that are not mapped.
  • Roundabout Markets — Brings technology to the pawnbroker industry to create a national marketplace for pawn shops, increasing market exposure and streamlining product marketing and delivery.
  • iShipdit — Expedia-like platform for matching less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments to unused space that exists on trucks every day.
  • Magneto Innovations — 3D-printable magnetic sensors that can be created on demand and to user specifications for a variety of applications.

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:

  • PIE Link – 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 kids 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.
  • RevvPay – 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 and housed at 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 and the prevention of seroma, a condition that occurs after large-flap surgery where fluid accumulates in the dead space between tissue.
  • 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 this patient demographic, that often has limited mobility.
  • Cast21 — Cast21 has designed a lightweight, lattice-structure cast that is breathable and waterproof, eliminating some of the disadvantaged 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. 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. Due to the nature of the program, teams have yet to form, though specific student participants have been selected.

“Teams are joining us from as far away as Slovenia and Israel but also hail from Illinois, Pennsylvania and our metro area,” said Eric Mathews, CEO and founder of Start Co. “We look forward to hosting the teams at the Start Co. Lab and are honored that the partner accelerators have trusted us to provide their core accelerator programming.”

In addition to the customized curriculum, each team will have access to potential customers, mentors, industry partners and investment capital groups. Teams will also spend much of their time focused on industry- and sector-specific activities within their respective accelerator cohort.

“Beyond the core programming, our accelerator operators, like ZeroTo510, have deep expertise in industries that are specific to and strong in Memphis,” said Leslie Smith, president of EPIcenter. “We’re confident this model — co-locating the companies at Start Co. for expert core curricula, and allowing each accelerator operator to focus on providing world-class, sector-specific engagement — will create a culture and experience that our participants can’t get anywhere else.”

The newly chosen accelerator teams are also participating in this year’s Start Q events, hosted by Start Co., EPIcenter, ZeroTo510, and Emerge Memphis, from May 11-13, during the Memphis in May International Festival World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest. The Summer of Acceleration will culminate on Aug. 11 with Demo Day, the startups’ opportunity pitch their startup ideas to investors, share their insights with the greater entrepreneurial community and network with community leaders.

Investment partners include Innova, a Memphis-based venture capital fund that is leading the co-investment into the accelerator teams participating in ZeroTo510, Seed Hatchery, Upstart, and EPIcenter Logistics, as well as MB Venture Partners, The JumpFund, and Wolf River Angels. Program partners include Launch Tennessee, the Chairman’s Circle of the Greater Memphis Chamber, Memphis Bioworks, Baker Donelson, American Airlines, IBM, Amazon, Paypal, Archer Malmo, Mosaik Solutions, The Marston Group, Waller, and many more.

About EPIcenter:

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.

About ZeroTo510:

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 is operated by Memphis Bioworks Foundation. More information is at zeroto510.com.

 

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CONTACT:

Lauren Whisenant
Archer Malmo for Start Co.
LWhisenant@archermalmo.com
901-260-4168

Jessica Taveau
Memphis Bioworks for EPIcenter and ZeroTo510
JTaveau@memphisbioworks.org
901-866-1435

 

Unprecedented Community Collaboration Recruits Businesses to Memphis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Unprecedented Community Collaboration Recruits Businesses to Memphis

More than 50 startup founders and students will grow their businesses through seven accelerators in joint partnership

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Apr. 19, 2016) – For the first time, EPIcenter, Start Co. and ZeroTo510 are today announcing a partnership of six industry-specific startup accelerators and one student accelerator that will host more than 20 technology-based teams from around the world and 12 students from seven universities in Memphis this summer. The joint accelerator program will kick off on May 2 and is operated by EPIcenter, hub of the greater Memphis entrepreneurship movement, and Start Co., a member of the Global Accelerator Network. The 100-day-long “Summer of Acceleration” will culminate in the region’s largest Demo Day on Aug. 11 at the Halloran Center in Downtown Memphis.

Teams that participate in any of the seven accelerators will collectively experience the rigorous entrepreneurial startup programming curriculum, have access to potential customers, mentors, and industry partners, and be able to network with investment capital groups. All teams will also spend time focused on industry- and sector-specific curriculum activities in each individual accelerator cohort.

“We’re not aware of another market executing this kind of entrepreneurial collaboration, especially through student and industry-specific accelerators – industries in which our region has a competitive advantage,” said Leslie Smith, President of EPIcenter. “Having more than 50 founders of startups coming to Memphis to participate in these accelerators this summer puts Memphis on the map as a vibrant destination in which to start and grow a business.”

Applications for the accelerators were due in March, and participating teams will be announced May 2. The seven partner accelerator programs include:

  • EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator was created to help startups bring innovative logistics products and technologies to market and is sponsored by FedEx.
  • ImagineU is a first-of-its-kind collaboration of seven Memphis colleges and universities to provide a true startup acceleration experience to help their student teams bring business ideas to fruition. ImagineU is developed and sponsored by Christian Brothers University, Southwest Tennessee Community College, LeMoyne-Owen College, University of Memphis, Visible Music College, Memphis College of Art, Rhodes College and community partner The College Initiative, and it is housed at the University of Memphis Crews Center for Entrepreneurship.
  • Seed Hatchery was Memphis’ first accelerator and focuses on software and hardware as a service for enterprise customers. Seed Hatchery is one of 50 full members of the Global Accelerator Network.
  • Sky High: is a social impact program to build innovative business models to address challenges in the Memphis metro area.
  • Start MMT was founded in conjunction with Hall of Fame Songwriter David Porter and is one of the first music industry innovation accelerators to operate in the world. They will be holding their inaugural cohort this year.
  • Upstart is one of the top ten women-led technology startup accelerators in the world and one of 50 full members of the Global Accelerator Network.
  • ZeroTo510, founded by and housed at 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 running. ZeroTo510 focuses on medical technology innovation that takes advantage of the FDA’s 510k regulatory pathway.

EPIcenter is the convening agent of the collaboration, and, for the first time, all seven accelerators will be supported by Start Co.’s core accelerator programming. This core accelerator programming will take place among all accelerators at Start Co., and the partnering accelerator operator will handle the industry-specific programming.  Logistics expertise will be coordinated and provided by EPIcenter for its innovation accelerator. Start Co. will provide B2B IT and social innovation expertise, as well as customized support for female founders, for its Seed Hatchery, Sky High, and Upstart accelerator cohorts.  The Consortium MMT will provide music-industry specific programming for the Start MMT program.  Memphis Bioworks will provide medical device expertise for the ZeroTo510 cohort. While ImagineU does not have a specific sector focus, students will be matched with subject matter experts and mentors based on the focus of their business.

“With the increased density of teams, investors, partners, and mentors, startup founders will experience dramatically improved idea velocity and enhanced value creation.  The individual accelerator programs would find it hard to attain this in isolation,” said Eric Mathews, founder and CEO of Start Co. “All the participants will reap the benefits that occur with the increased creative collisions with teams from varied industry verticals, as well as the assembled technology and creative community in the area.”

Both Start Co. and EPIcenter have the experience and expertise to deliver world-class startup support. EPIcenter, led by Leslie Smith, formerly CEO of TechTown in Detroit, Mich., is supporting the rapid increase of local entrepreneurial activity and serves a common voice for change in the Memphis community.  Start Co. is one of the most experienced venture development organizations in the Southeast, having operated 11 accelerator cohorts and co-built another four accelerator programs within the last five years.

Investment partners include Innova, a Memphis-based venture capital fund that is leading the co-investment into the accelerator teams participating in ZeroTo510, Seed Hatchery, Upstart, and EPIcenter Logistics, as well as MB Venture Partners, The JumpFund, and Wolf River Angels. Program partners include Launch Tennessee, the Chairman’s Circle of the Greater Memphis Chamber, Memphis Bioworks, Baker Donelson, American Airlines, IBM, Amazon, Paypal, Archer Malmo, Mosaik Solutions, The Marston Group, Waller, and many more.

 

About EPIcenter:

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.

About ZeroTo510:

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 is operated by Memphis Bioworks Foundation. More information is at zeroto510.com.

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CONTACT:                                                                                                          

Naomi Bata
Archer Malmo for Start Co.
nbata@archermalmo.com
901-260-4143

Jessica Taveau
Memphis Bioworks for EPIcenter and ZeroTo510
JTaveau@memphisbioworks.org
901-866-1435

Job Opening: Logistics Accelerator Leader

Job Description

The EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator is an entrepreneurship program that was created to help startups bring innovative logistics products and technologies to market and is sponsored by FedEx. The accelerator is a 15-week intensive program for innovative startups investigating transportation- or logistics-oriented solutions within areas including:

  • Cross-border E-Commerce solutions
  • First- and last-mile delivery solutions
  • Fleet efficiency
  • Data-driven supply chain management, including predictive analytics
  • Payment systems
  • Location and contextual-based services
  • Internet of Things
  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Robotics
  • Sensors
  • Smart packaging

The accelerator is operated by EPIcenter, a collaborative and community-wide strategic initiative that connects the Memphis region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and coordinates resources from various organizations in the community, such as accelerators, incubators, mentors, investors, networking programs, and technical assistance programs for entrepreneurs.

The accelerator leader is tasked with leading one of our industry-focused accelerators. You will work with the Director of technology-based entrepreneurship to create and execute the strategic plan for the accelerator, including developing the curriculum and programming and the mentor network.

During the execution of the accelerator program, you will lead program management, ensuring that all activities progress as planned and deliver the value expected to our stakeholders, including corporate sponsors and startup teams.

Role & Responsibilities:

  • Manage the logistics accelerator programs in collaboration with our corporate sponsors
  • Support strategy for the program as well as help build the list of program mentors
  • Manage recruitment and selection of cohort
  • Manage recruitment activities and work with other key team members to execute marketing and promotion activities
  • Work directly with the client to support the review and assessment of startups
  • Work with the broader Memphis ecosystem team to produce the end of program demo day and create buzz about the event in the community
  • Manage execution of the Accelerator schedule, including: managing interface with core curriculum provider; organization of mentoring introductions and sessions; organization of logistics-specific content and resources to best help participants
  • Work closely with startups to guide them through their startup path, helping to define, manage and measure their hypothesis testing
  • Manage stakeholders (startups, cooperates, media partners, mentors, general public) and provide one-on-one support where needed

Required Skills/Experience:

  • Prior Logistics experience
  • Prior experience with technology accelerator programs
  • Strong and effective communication skills, with the ability to multi-task and manage multiple expectations of team members and stakeholders
  • Strong program management experience – you always ensure that deadlines are met and processes, operations and logistics run smoothly
  • Experience with event coordination and planning, administration and logistics; Marketing and Social Media as well as community management

You must embrace and exhibit our core values:

  • We take the high road.
  • We honor our partners.
  • We share openly.
  • We celebrate success.
  • We rock our swagger.
  • We recognize failure as a part of the process. We invite everyone.
  • We do hard things.
  • We bring the fun. We connect the dots. We provide tough love.

We’d love it if you have…

  • A passion for tech and in-depth knowledge of the startup landscape
  • A point of view on how corporates can best leverage the tech ecosystem
  • Knowledge of the challenges facing big companies trying to innovate

To apply, please e-mail your cover letter and resume to Allan Daisley, Director of Technology-Based Entrepreneurship.

Memphis Logistics Innovation Accelerator Opens 2016 Application Process

Second year of program leverages regional strength in logistics technology

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (February 15, 2016) – Applications are now open for the 2016 EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator. The entrepreneurship accelerator program was created to help startups bring innovative logistics products and technologies to market and is sponsored by FedEx.

The accelerator is a 15-week intensive program for innovative startups investigating transportation- or logistics-oriented solutions within areas including:

  • Cross-border E-Commerce solutions
  • First- and last-mile delivery solutions
  • Fleet efficiency
  • Data-driven supply chain management, including predictive analytics
  • Payment systems
  • Location and contextual-based services
  • Internet of Things
  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Robotics
  • Sensors
  • Smart packaging

The EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator is strategically located in Memphis, Tenn. – America’s distribution hub – home to the world’s second-busiest cargo airport and in close proximity to five Class 1 railroads, the mighty Mississippi River, FedEx World Headquarters, and the I-40/I-55 corridors – making it the ideal place to launch new logistics innovations.

“Coming to Memphis from San Francisco for the EPIcenter accelerator was a no-brainer. It’s one of the best things we’ve done to move our business forward,” said Vijay Harrell, CEO of OneClickShip Logistics and a graduate of the accelerator’s 2015 cohort. “The connection to logistics expertise, potential customers, and mentors were all benefits we couldn’t have found anywhere else.”

Through a competitive application process, up to six companies will be selected for the 2016 cohort and will receive $50,000 in initial seed capital, including $25,000 from Innova, a Memphis-based venture capital firm that has invested in more than 60 early-stage companies and co-founded the ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator with Memphis Bioworks, and a $25,000 match from EPIcenter.

Selected teams will also be immersed in a rigorous business-building curriculum, and will be matched with highly experienced mentors. The accelerator concludes with a public Demo Day. Post-acceleration programs will be available thereafter to help the startups to continue to develop and grow their business. The deadline for submitting applications is March 18, with a targeted cohort start date of May 2.

The accelerator is operated by EPIcenter, a collaborative and community-wide strategic initiative that connects the Memphis region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and coordinates resources from various organizations in the community, such as accelerators, incubators, mentors, investors, networking programs, and technical assistance programs for entrepreneurs. Beyond the accelerator, participants will also have access to expertise and support from the business and entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region.

“Not only is Memphis a prime location for a logistics accelerator, but also our community’s collaborative approach to entrepreneurship provides an unparalleled development experience for our cohort companies,” said Leslie Lynn Smith, president of EPIcenter.

“FedEx is a proud supporter of the EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator,” said Russ Fleming, vice president, strategy, innovation and product development, FedEx Services. “We are a company committed to innovation, and look forward to helping connect these start-ups with the regional expertise and resources they need to grow.”

More information on applying to the EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator program is available at http://www.epimemphis.com/logistics-accelerator/.

# # #

 

About EPIcenter

EPIcenter serves as a central point of contact for the Memphis region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and coordinates resources from various organizations in the community such as accelerators, incubators, mentors, investors, networking programs, and technical assistance programs for entrepreneurs.  Together with the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle, Memphis Bioworks, Emerge Memphis, Start Co., and other partners, EPIcenter is pursuing a common goal of creating a robust and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Memphis to service the Mid-South region. For more information, visit epimemphis.com.               

                     

Contact:
Jessica Taveau
901-866-1435
jtaveau@memphisbioworks.org

City of Germantown and EPIcenter Open Collaborative Work Space

EPIcenter Germantown will help support growth of local start-ups and small businesses

Germantown, Tenn. (December 18, 2015) – The City of Germantown and EPIcenter, through a public-private partnership, have opened a collaborative working and business space in Germantown’s West Poplar Avenue District.

Located in Carrefour at Kirby Woods, at the intersection of Poplar Avenue and Kirby, EPIcenter Germantown offers collaborative co-working opportunities to entrepreneurs. The facility is intended to provide a cost-effective work environment as well as programming and expert support to encourage the growth of start-ups and small businesses.

The 900-square-foot space features furnished cubicles, a common area that can be converted into additional work space to accommodate growth, a conference room, Wi-Fi, and a monitoring system with secure access. Scheduled programming, networking events and office hours will provide access to local experts in venture capital, finance and accounting, marketing and sales, City of Germantown services and support, and connections to other EPIcenter programming and events around the region. A community manager will oversee scheduling and a full calendar of programming and events will be available in January 2016.

The space and programming were developed by the City of Germantown, EPIcenter and Memphis Bioworks Foundation in response to recommendations in the City’s Economic Development Strategic Plan.  Funding for EPIcenter Germantown was approved by the Germantown Board of Mayor and Aldermen in June 2015 as a civic support grant in the amount of $20,000. The Delta Regional Authority’s States’ Economic Development Assistance Program (SEDAP) also made an investment of more than $93,000 to fund programming that supports the growth of members and other companies in the region.

EPIcenter was created to provide a unified voice across the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by thoughtfully connecting resources such as accelerators, incubators, mentors, investors, networking programs, the higher education community and technical assistance programs for entrepreneurs. EPIcenter also highlights resources offered by its partners, connects them to more entrepreneurs and to each other, ensures they have the support to continue being successful and identifies opportunities or gaps where EPIcenter can provide additional resources or programming.

“EPIcenter Germantown is one part of our economic development strategy to connect and catalyze our regional entrepreneurial resources and neighborhoods,” said Leslie Lynn Smith, president of EPIcenter.  “This kind of space is ideal for creative or tech-based entrepreneurs or small business owners who are looking for a collaborative community. This space and its programming will help participating companies grow and connect to each other, to needed expertise and resources, and to the broader ecosystem.”

“Germantown is proud to partner with EPIcenter to strengthen the region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem by supporting emerging businesses and providing resources to our citizens,” said Mayor Mike Palazzolo. “A space like this in Germantown helps expand the opportunities for economic development and business growth for our entire region.”

Memberships, which are open to all area residents, are $125 per month per person and will be available for purchase beginning January 6, 2016. An Open House will be held at the space on January 12, 2016, and more information about the event is here. More information about the incubator’s amenities and membership benefits is available at epimemphis.com or Germantown-TN.gov/EPIcenterGermantown.

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About the City of Germantown

Intellectual capital is one of Germantown’s greatest assets.  The City has a population of 40,123, and in 2010, 98% of the population over 25 years old had obtained a high school diploma or higher.  More than half of the population has a bachelor’s degree or higher.  EPIcenter Germantown supports the City’s Economic Development Strategic Plan by promoting assets and leveraging intellectual capital to foster business creation and expansion. The City’s location and partnerships with Memphis organizations combined with Germantown’s reputation for safety and exceptional quality of life provide an attractive opportunity for entrepreneurs and innovators in the area.
About EPIcenter

EPIcenter serves as a central point of contact for the Memphis region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and coordinates resources from various organizations in the community such as accelerators, incubators, mentors, investors, networking programs, and technical assistance programs for entrepreneurs.  Together with the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle, Memphis Bioworks, Emerge Memphis, Start Co., and other partners, EPIcenter is pursuing a common goal of creating a robust and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Memphis to service the Mid-South region.

 

Contacts:

Jessica Taveau                                              Marie Lisco
Memphis Bioworks Foundation                City of Germantown
901-866-1435                                                901-757-7281
jtaveau@memphisbioworks.org                mlisco@germantown-tn.gov

Five Companies Selected for EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator

Inaugural Program Leverages Regional Strength in Logistics Technology

MEMPHIS, Tenn., (August 19, 2015) – Five entrepreneurial teams have been selected for the 2015 EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator, which is sponsored by FedEx, and began the 14-week program on August 17.  The 2015 participants, which represent a diverse set of logistics technology solutions, are:

  • Burro, from Austin, Texas, is a father and son team who are leveraging the popularity of ridesharing and applying it to local deliveries.
  • LiLoE, from Washington, D.C., is founded by a U.S. Navy veteran who is working on a solution to the doorstep delivery of unattended packages.
  • L7, of Memphis, Tenn., is developing an online marketplace for consumer-to-consumer shipping options.
  • One Click Ship, from San Francisco, is developing a website that aggregates available shipping options and costs for freight forwarders.
  • Thaddeus Medical Devices, founded by a former Mayo Clinic researcher from Rochester, Minn., is developing a device that regulates package temperature.

The EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator is unique among entrepreneurship programs in that it focuses on technologies and products that enable and enhance logistics, leveraging the region’s strengths as the world’s distribution hub.

The accelerator is operated by EPIcenter, a collaborative and community-wide strategic initiative that is helping entrepreneurs conceive, launch and scale businesses in the Memphis region.  Beyond the accelerator, participants will also have access to EPIcenter-led collaborations among entrepreneurial support organizations in Memphis, as well as support from the full ecosystem in the region.

“Memphis has unparalleled logistics expertise and capabilities, which makes it ideal for a business accelerator in this space,” said Leslie Lynn Smith, president of EPIcenter.  “We’re thrilled to bring these companies from across the country here to Memphis to connect them with our vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem and the resources they need to grow.”

Through a partnership with the University of Memphis, the accelerator will also leverage resources of the staff and space at the FedEx Institute of Technology.

“Entrepreneurial inspiration and a commitment to innovation have allowed FedEx to expand its footprint around the world,” said Richard W. Smith, vice president, Global Trade Services, FedEx Express.  “We are proud to support EPIcenter as it seeks to tap that same entrepreneurial spirit in our hometown.”

The five companies received $25,000 in initial seed capital from Innova, a Memphis-based venture capital firm that has invested in more than 35 early-stage companies and co-founded the ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator with Memphis Bioworks.   At the end of the 14-week program, the participants will pitch to a group of investors, business leaders and community supporters at Demo Day, on November 19, 2015, for the opportunity to secure additional funding to further develop their businesses.

More information about the EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator program is available at http://www.epimemphis.com/logistics-accelerator/.

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About EPIcenter

EPIcenter serves as a central point of contact for the Memphis region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and coordinates resources from various organizations in the community such as accelerators, incubators, mentors, investors, networking programs, and technical assistance programs for entrepreneurs.  Together with the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle, Memphis Bioworks, Emerge Memphis, Start Co., and other partners, EPIcenter is pursuing a common goal of creating a robust and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Memphis to service the Mid-South region.

 

Contact:
Jessica Taveau
901-866-1435
Via e-mail

Logistics innovation accelerator opens application process in Memphis

Sponsored by FedEx, inaugural program leverages regional strength in logistics technology

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (March 10, 2015) – Applications are now open for the 2015 EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator, an entrepreneurship accelerator program sponsored by FedEx and created to help startups bring innovative logistics technology to market.

The EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator is unique among entrepreneurship programs in that it focuses on technologies and products that enable and enhance logistics, 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.

The accelerator is operated by EPIcenter, a collaborative and community-wide strategic initiative led by Memphis Bioworks that is helping entrepreneurs conceive, launch and scale businesses in the Memphis region.  Beyond the accelerator, participants will also have access to EPIcenter-led collaborations among entrepreneurial support organizations in Memphis, as well as expertise and support from the full ecosystem in the region.

“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 W. Smith, VP Global Trade Services, FedEx Express.

Through a competitive application process, up to six companies will be selected for the summer 2015 cohort and will receive $25,000 in initial seed capital from Innova, a Memphis-based venture capital firm that has invested in more than 35 early-stage companies and co-founded the ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator with Memphis Bioworks. Now in its fourth year, ZeroTo510 has accelerated the creation of 16 new companies, more than 30 jobs, and $7.5 million in investments. As the first-ever medical device accelerator, ZeroTo510 is now recognized as a benchmark in medical device accelerators, and was recently recognized as a favorite accelerator program by TechCrunch.

Competition for participation in the program is open internationally.  However, companies selected must be based in Memphis for the duration of the program.

More information on applying to the EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator program and related deadlines are available at http://www.epimemphis.com/logistics-accelerator/.

# # #

About EPIcenter

EPIcenter serves as a central point of contact for the region’s ecosystem and coordinates resources from various organizations in the community such as accelerators, incubators, mentors, investors, networking programs, and technical assistance programs for entrepreneurs.  EPIcenter also represents the complete picture of the region’s entrepreneurial activity and resources in high-growth, scalable startups and businesses. The Greater Memphis Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle has tapped Memphis Bioworks to lead the efforts and objectives of EPIcenter, in collaboration with Emerge Memphis, Start Co., and other partners, to pursue a common goal of creating a robust and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Memphis to service the Mid-South region.  For more information, visit epimemphis.com.

Contact

Jessica Taveau, Memphis Bioworks Foundation
901-866-1435
jtaveau@memphisbioworks.org