Never stop starting.

Building a startup into a business takes a lot of things.

Capital. Guidance. Discipline.

But above all, it takes work. Relentless work. Work that’s driven by desire and fueled by an unwavering optimism. Work so focused, so purposeful, that in a way, it’s not like work at all. Start Co. is part venture development group, part accelerator, and all work. Because while access to mentors, investors and facilities is helpful, there are two much simpler steps to turning great ideas into great companies:
  1. Start.
  2. Never stop.
Let‘s get started.

Meet the Start Co. team.

  • Eric Mathews

    CEO & Founder

    Eric Mathews is CEO and Founder of Start Co. bringing his experience in technology transfer, research and development, and business operations to lead efforts in building innovative technologies into successful businesses going to market. His core efforts are building early stage startup companies, accurately identifying gaps in the ecosystem, and filling those gaps with expert technical assistance, resources, and/or capital. Eric was formerly with the FedEx Institute of Technology, leading corporate R&D. He has been an early stage investor in startups for over 11 years.

  • Andre Fowlkes


    Andre Fowlkes is the President of Start Co. bringing seven years of startup building experience and over 15 years of investment and portfolio management experience to the team. He spends his time at Start Co. providing programming and guidance to startups, with corporate innovation clients, raising and managing capital with limited partners, and brokering civic growth opportunities that leverage entrepreneurship. Working in wealth and money management, startups & entrepreneurship, government, journalism, civic entrepreneurship, and economic & community development has allowed for Andre to accumulate a unique set of skills to build social, political, and financial capital for growing entrepreneurial ecosystems.

  • Shelby Peranich

    Community Manager

    Shelby Peranich currently serves as the Community Manager of Start Co. With a background in communications and community organization, Shelby builds lasting social change through innovative and entrepreneurial efforts. Previously, Shelby served as the Director of Social and Philanthropic Affairs on the Graduate School Council at The University of Mississippi, and the liaison to the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on LGBTQ+ affairs. Her efforts are focused in creating and growing community among entrepreneurs in the greater Memphis area.

  • Katherine Milligan

    Chief of Staff

    Katherine (Katie) Milligan brings the power of public policy to building entrepreneurial communities. She serves as Chief of Staff at Start Co. where she supports the development of corporate, governmental, and investment relationships to support building inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems. Katie previously served as the Director of Small Business and Entrepreneurship for the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), a federal agency that works to improve regional economic opportunity in the eight-state Delta region. While at the DRA, Katie launched the Delta Entrepreneurship Network, a competitive fellowship program to identify entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship support organizations in the Delta. She is a founding member of the Start Here Initiative, a community-led effort in Little Rock seeking to close the gap that exists for women and minorities in access to capital in entrepreneurship. Katie has a B.A. in political science from the University of Mississippi and a M.P.S. from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.