More than $385,000 secured by four Start Co. accelerator graduate startups

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2014 Upstart teams Cabsolutely and eDivv and Seed Hatchery team Pickle receive initial funding, final close announced for Sparkgap graduate Graph Story

Memphis, Tenn. (Nov. 11, 2014)Start Co., a member of the Global Accelerator Network operating industry-specific accelerators each summer, today announced $387,000 in angel investments for two Upstart, one Seed Hatchery, and one Sparkgap accelerator graduate startups in Memphis. These investments continue the Start Co. tradition of bringing together talent, investors and ecosystem support for startup success and bring the total 2014 investment in Start Co. teams to more than $1.4 million.

“So far this year, seven teams received post accelerator funding, illustrating that the talent pool for startups here in Memphis is becoming more robust,” said Andre Fowlkes, President of Start Co. “Our focus is to grow investment in tandem so that we can help bring new, disruptive technologies to market, and look forward to providing support to these startups in growing their valuations and securing more follow on capital.”

Four Memphis startups that closed on funding recently are:

  • Cabsolutely ($75,000): Cabsolutely is a cloud-based dispatch platform for taxi cab companies, enabling them to compete with ridesharing applications. Co-founders Virag Reti and Andras Simon plan to use the funding for application development and launch with initial customers in January, as well as consumer facing marketing. The team entered into a partnership with Premier Transportation, Yellow and Checker Cab earlier this year to utilize its technology.
  • eDivv ($242,000): eDivv is an online marketplace for trading beauty products. Co-founders Casey Casterline and Jon Katz plan to use the funding for product development, marketing and scaling customer facing operations.
  • Graph Story ($50,000): In addition to the $250,000 funding in August, Graph Story, a graph database-as-a-service offering for small and medium businesses, has secured an additional $50,000 in funding, bringing its total investment to $300,000 since its founding. Graph Story is a graduate of Start Co.’s inaugural Sparkgap accelerator.
  • Pickle ($20,000): Pickle is a platform for brand engagement via user-generated selfies. Co-founders Evan Katz and Morgan Steffy raised additional funds to keep building out the public beta product.

All four businesses have taken advantage of the Start Co. post-acceleration program, which consists of Friday office hours with key Memphis business partners and the Start Co. team, business development preparation sessions, workshops, lunch-and-learns and investment strategy sessions that include insight on investor and term sheet development. Additionally, eDivv and Graph Story have recently been chosen for the 2014 class of Launch Tennessee’s “The TENN” virtual post-accelerator program, which began Oct. 23 and is comprised of the 10 best startup companies from Tennessee’s nine startup accelerators.

“Having mentor and investor participation from day one enables the founders to build their business models quickly and correctly,” said Eric Mathews, CEO and Founder of Start Co. “Both the teams and the investors benefit from the early engagement during our accelerator programs, which builds confidence for supplying further investment after Demo Day.”

Applications for the 2015 Upstart, Seed Hatchery and Sky High cohorts are opening mid-November. The accelerators will again run simultaneously through the summer in downtown Memphis beginning in May, which allows participants to interact with the downtown business community, including many mentors and partners from varying industry backgrounds. Entrepreneurs seeking to be a part of the 2015 accelerator programming can find details to apply at www.neverstop.co/accelerators.

 

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.