A Week in Review: Start Co. in San Francisco 2016


Each year, select Start Co. teams are invited to San Francisco to meet with potential investors, mentors and network with founders in the Bay Area. This year, six teams made the trek to the West Coast to attend the Evolving E Summit, meet with investors from ventures like Growth X and meet founders at incubators like Runway. In this blog post, we’ll recap the top activities of each day to give an inside look into founders’ experience. In Key Learnings, we’ll recap the top overall learnings from the trip.

Sunday, October 9th: Four of our 2016 Summer of Acceleration graduate teams — Homey, Soundways, FitNexx, and ProxBox — landed in San Francisco ready for a week of constant networking, meetings, and office hours. They were joined by two of our alumni teams, FrontDoor and CodeCrew, as well as one of our current AgLaunch teams, Skycision, throughout the week for office hours, meetups, and events.


Monday, October 10: In the afternoon, the teams had office hours at the Market Bar in the Ferry Building with a handful of West Coast investors. The teams had time to talk with investors from e.Ventures, Growth X, MergerTech, Keen.io, TechCode, SendGrid, Twilio, and Early Growth Financial Services, only to name a few. Building relationships, creating partnerships, and acquiring insight from major corporations that remain intimate with Start Co. is what our startups are constantly exposed to, even on the West Coast.



Tuesday, October 11th: That morning the Start Co. team toured the Runway Incubator located in the Mission District of San Francisco. The large co-working space holds up to 90 startups and currently holds 70. The Incubator gives each startup a working space along with access to the open co-working spaces, kitchens, event area, and even their zen room. There are two conference rooms for startups to converse with some privacy, and one is shaped like a giant igloo! The incubator is a large space that is cunning with an edgy taste. It is definitely inspiration for Start Co. and was a pleasure to explore.



Wednesday, October 12th: Wednesday was by far the busiest day. We first attended the 2016 Evolving E Summit hosted by GGV Capital that was located at the Terra Gallery in the South Beach area of the city. The Summit featured multiple talks throughout the day with a handful of talented and experienced entrepreneurs, and we’ll give more details into our insights from the Summit in our next post, “Key Learnings.”



Later we visited the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center located in-between the Financial Center and the South Beach area in San Francisco. The center is an open, non-profit space that acts as a resource to many entrepreneurs and provides them with mentors, training, and networking. The building is tall and made of glass amongst other skyscrapers. The interior features a co-working and networking room with tables, chairs, and tv screens. The other side of the building holds an event room with a massive screen, a small stage, and chairs. They also have a broadcasting room that is kept to the side, filled with live cameras and a screen that takes up an entire wall. Resources that the Nasdaq Center provides for its community are tips on how to deliver a lean and persuasive pitch, how to create an effective presentation, overcome a fear of public speaking, learn how to negotiate deal terms, prepare your business to be media-ready, and how to get your small business ready for a big challenge.



That night, our final night of the trip, Start Co. held a mixer for our startups, partners, and investors at the restaurant at Aventine Taverna in the Financial District of San Francisco. We invited West Coast Angels, Investors, Partners, Founders, and VC’s to mingle and network with the startup teams, Homey, ProxBox, Soundways, and Fitnexx, as well as some of our alumni teams, FrontDoor and CodeCrew. The night was a success with much constructive conversation throughout the night. We occupied the entire bottom floor of the restaurant, and it was a networking madhouse. It was the perfect way to end a successful week on the West Coast.



Lindsay Gess is a rising senior at Rhodes College and an Associate at Start Co. She can be reached at lindsay.gess@neverstop.co

10 Reasons to Join the Party in the CLOUD!


10 Reasons to party in the CLOUD at the Memphis Public Library:

The Memphis Library Foundation is hosting their annual event, Party in the CLOUD, in their teen room on Saturday, November 5th at 7pm! Here are the 10 reasons why you should definitely make an appearance:

1). Get lost in virtual reality games!
2). Join a photo shoot in the video lab!
3). Paint your own wine or beer glasses!
4). Dance & Groove to the awesome DJ!
5). Play old-school video games!
6). Watch 3D printing in the makerspace!
7). Sip on craft beer and wine!
8). Enjoy tastings from local restaurants!
9). Hang out with Ralph Cahoun in the audio lab!
10). Watch SEC football on the big screen!

They will have door prizes and more! Get your tickets here! Tickets are $50 per person until October 28th, then they go up to $65 per person after that date! If you are interested in purchasing more than one ticket contact Shelley Thomas at sthomas@memphislibraryfoundation.org.

If you’d like to donate to the Memphis Library Foundation, click here.

Hope to see you all there!

AgLaunch Virtual Pitch Competition



AgLaunch Virtual Pitch Competition
We’re opening up the opportunity for any ag entrepreneur to upload a pitch video and win some cash! All pitches will be reviewed by the experts at Ag Innovation Development Group and our accelerator partners at Start Co.

The Prize:
Winner of the pitch competition will receive $1,000. Second place gets $500. Both will have an opportunity for an extended pitch and feedback session with a panel of investors, farmers, corporates, and entrepreneurs.

Generally follow content outlined in Start Co.’s template
Do your best in under 5 minutes (if you are over you will be disqualified).
Relate to in-field agriculture, agricultural supply chain, food safety & integrity, livestock production, dairy production, or food supply chain.
Be submitted by 6pm EST on October 27th, 2016.

What You Have to Do:
Upload your video on the F6S application page.
Fill out the short associated application.
There is no cost to you.
Winners will be announced by November 1st, 2016.
We look forward to hearing about your innovation! Contact Rebekah Veldhuizen if you have any questions.


New Propel Accelerator Open for Applications


The application for the new Propel Accelerator is now open!

Propel is a 12-week minority business accelerator run by the partnership of Start Co. and The City of Memphis Office of Business Diversity and Compliance. It focuses on the enhancement of business models through hands-on programming, mentor opportunities, technical resources and more with an objective to further enhance capacity with existing minority companies. There is a stringent criteria for companies that apply, as we are looking for the following:

 2 or more full-time employees
 At least $400,000 in annual revenues
 Established for more than 3 years

Learn more about the expected outcome and review the timeline of the accelerator at this link.

Apply here.

News Release on Partnerships and Initiatives



Sept. 28, 2016 — Mayor Jim Strickland today highlighted a handful of partnerships and initiatives that are integral to his administration’s goal of assisting small, minority, and women-owned businesses in Memphis.

“My administration absolutely means business when it comes to small, minority, and women-owned businesses,” Mayor Strickland said. “The initiatives we’re highlighting today show that we’re putting action behind those priorities.”

The four highlighted initiatives are:

The “Start Up In Day” website, smartstartmem.com. Made possible by a grant from the Small Business Administration, this online “one-stop shop” seeks to streamline the process for citizens to establish and legally form a business, thus enabling them to get off the ground quicker. This website is the result of a partnership among the City of Memphis, EPIcenter, Memphis Bioworks Foundation, the Shelby County Clerk’s Office, and the Memphis & Shelby County Office of Planning and Development.

Propel, a minority business accelerator partnership with Start Co. Propel seeks to help existing businesses by strengthening their business models, the delivery of their business models, and their access and engagement of customers in particular contracts with governments and other corporations. Visit memphistn.gov for more information.

The Equitable Economic Development Fellowship, an initiative of the National League of Cities, PolicyLink and the Urban Land Institute. Through this fellowship, Memphis leaders will get a rare opportunity to learn more about how to increase economic development tax breaks and incentives for small, minority, and women-owned businesses.

The signing of a Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM) with the Small Business Administration. This formal partnership will increase opportunities within the city for the common goal of expanding small business development.

Said Joann Massey, the city’s Director of Business Diversity and Compliance: “These great partnerships demonstrate how our team, through the Office of Business Diversity & Compliance, is being very intentional about leveraging resources to try and make it easier to do business with the City of Memphis under Mayor Strickland’s administration.”

Link to copy of News Release: final_wemeanbusiness