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/.

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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

 

Leslie Lynn Smith Selected to be President of EPIcenter

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (February 17, 2015) – Nationally recognized entrepreneurial and business development leader Leslie Lynn Smith has been selected as president of the Entrepreneurship-Powered Innovation Center (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. In addition to her leadership at EPIcenter, Smith will serve as a vice president on the Memphis Bioworks executive team.

Smith comes to EPIcenter following five years of successful entrepreneurial leadership as president and CEO of TechTown Detroit. As the city’s most established business accelerator and incubator, TechTown provides a powerful connection to a broad network of resources, catalyzing entire communities of entrepreneurs best poised to energize the local economy. At TechTown, Smith led the transformation of Detroit’s economy with innovative business modeling and cutting-edge economic development programs. In her role as president and CEO, she stabilized and scaled enterprise activities with new program design, provocative partnership models and a hub-and-spoke catalyst framework, at the center of which sits TechTown. Previously, she was director of business acceleration for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., overseeing the state’s $300 million investment portfolio.

“After a nationwide search, it was clear to us that Leslie had the talent, the experience and the leadership that we need here in Memphis to make EPIcenter a success and the Chairman’s Circle vision for entrepreneurial growth a reality,” said Steve Bares, PhD, president and executive director of Memphis Bioworks. “At TechTown, with more than 40 collaborators working together in the ecosystem, Leslie has proven that the model of a central organization charged with connecting, catalyzing and then supplementing a community’s entrepreneurial and business development assets can generate remarkable results. That is the kind of model we will emulate at EPIcenter, where every idea and every entrepreneur has a resource to which EPIcenter can direct them for the help and support needed, whether that’s investors, mentoring, networking, education or space.”

“I am passionate about American cities and the power of entrepreneurism as a catalyst for growth,” said Smith. “I am proud of what we have accomplished in Detroit and extremely enthusiastic about the potential for Memphis. Much like we had in Detroit when we began our entrepreneurial renaissance, Memphis has untapped opportunity, energy and a variety of successful programs. I’m particularly impressed with the level of private sector engagement in Memphis, and in the city’s embrace of its existing category strengths as a foundation for growth. I could not turn down this opportunity to become a part of an organization that is accountable for building a national model for a successful integrated entrepreneurial ecosystem that has real community impact.”

The Greater Memphis Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle is a group of more than 100 business leaders who have committed to making Memphis great through five goals, or “moon missions,” each of which is a strategic vision for bringing about transformational change in Memphis. EPIcenter was created and proposed by Memphis Bioworks in response to the entrepreneurship “moon mission,” with a goal to enable 1,000 entrepreneurs by starting 500 companies in Memphis by 2024, resulting in regional economic growth and jobs. The Chairman’s Circle benchmarked Memphis with other successful communities and determined that achieving this next level of success requires a concerted effort to organize all the organizations that serve startups and small businesses around a common strategy.

“Leslie brings a lot of passion, energy and leadership experience to Memphis. She is exactly the person we needed to help make the EPIcenter a success,” said Spence Wilson, Jr., Principal at Kemmons Wilson Companies and Chairman’s Circle Co-Chair. “The collaborative process she employed at Detroit’s TechTown is precisely what the Chairman’s Circle envisioned for Memphis.”

EPIcenter helps entrepreneurs and supporters by providing a single point of access into the ecosystem. While EPIcenter won’t be one physical location, it is a designation as a first stop for entrepreneurs, corporations and others to either access resources or obtain support. EPIcenter will assist any entrepreneur starting a business, but will focus on Memphis’ existing economic strengths: logistics and emerging technologies, healthcare and bioscience, as well as the information and software technology that enables those sectors. For these areas, the EPIcenter will work directly with companies through existing accelerator, capital and incubator programs, such as Emerge Memphis, Start Co., Memphis Bioworks, and Innova, and work in conjunction with the Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) and the Brookings Regional Economic Development plan. The EPIcenter will also launch new programs to support needs and partner with other entities to support companies outside of these areas.

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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.

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 memphisbioworks.org, Facebook at facebook.com/MemphisBioworks or follow @MemphisBioworks on Twitter.

About the Chairman’s Circle

The Chairman’s Circle is a leadership body created to engage Memphis business leaders on a variety of issues that affect Memphis and the Mid-South. The group’s intention is to cause transformational change through leadership working closely with civic partners and public officials.

About the Greater Memphis Chamber

The Greater Memphis Chamber is the lead economic development agency for Memphis/Shelby County, and is a private, non-profit, membership-driven organization comprised of 2,500 business enterprises, civic organizations, educational institutions and individuals.

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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