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.
EPIcenter is the hub of the Greater Memphis entrepreneurship movement. With its network of partners, EPIcenter is the enabler of unified strategies to increase support to new and existing entrepreneurs for business growth. Serving as the broader voice of the partner network and a single point of accountability, EPIcenter measures and celebrates the impact of entrepreneurial support to create a just, inclusive, and growing economy that accrues to all Memphians. More information is at epimemphis.com.
About Start Co.:
Start Co. is a nationally recognized nonprofit 501(c)(3) venture development organization based in Memphis, Tennessee, that relentlessly builds founders and companies, promoting entrepreneurship for everyone with a focus on digital startups. Start Co. is a member of the Global Accelerator Network and aims to advance Memphis’ economic growth through entrepreneurship. The organization is supported by partners including American Airlines, Archer Malmo, Baker Donelson, The Marston Group, Mosaik Solutions and Softlayer (an IBM company). More information can be found at neverstop.co.
ZeroTo510 is unique among accelerator programs in that it focuses on medical devices, leveraging the regional strengths of the Memphis area. The goal of the three-month, mentor-driven program is to help medical device entrepreneurs navigate the start-up process, refine their business models and achieve the Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) pre-market notification filing. ZeroTo510 has been named as one of the top 25 business accelerators in the United States by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project for the past two years and is operated by Memphis Bioworks Foundation. More information is at zeroto510.com.
Archer Malmo for Start Co.
Memphis Bioworks for EPIcenter and ZeroTo510