Author Archives: Katie Milligan

Start Co. Virtual Pitch Competition 2017


Submit your video by December 17th

We want to hear about your startups, so we’ve created a video pitch contest. Win up to $1,500 in prizes for your technology startup by entering a short, 90-second pitch. Don’t know if you can win the grand prize? We also have prizes for the “Strongest Team” and “Most Enthusiastic Presentation” so check out the details below.

Description: The Start Co. Pitch Competition aims to encourage entrepreneurs with idea stage hardware or software products for businesses to pitch their ideas to the Start Co. team!


1st Place

  • $1,000 Cash
  • 1 Hour Meeting with Eric Mathews, CEO of Start Co. 
  • Finalist in the Start Co. accelerator applications
  • Promotion via our social networks

Most Creative Pitch

  • $200 Amex Gift Card

Solving The Biggest Problem

  • $150 Facebook Ad Credits

Strongest Team

  • $100 Facebook Ad Credits

Most Enthusiastic Presentation

  • $50 Starbucks Gift Card

Judging Criteria: Applicants must submit a 90-second video sharing their startup idea using the following guidelines.

  • Introduce your team
  • Describe your tech product/service
  • Tell us about your customer and the problem you’re solving for them
  • Explain how your product works to solve that problem
  • Tell us where you are in the process
  • Make a realistic ask
  • Passion and enthusiasm count

Eligibility: Must be a B2B, technology driven startup that has raised less than $100K

Entry Deadline: December 17th, 2017 at 11:59 PM.

Winners will be announced January 2nd, 2018

Click here to apply!

Contest is limited to 250 submissions

Reppin’ the 901 in Silicon Valley


As many of you know, this spring I left Start Co. to join a startup. What can I say? After surrounding myself with the grit ‘n grind of ambitious founders I caught the entrepreneurial bug myself. The company I’ve joined is called SynapsePay – a Memphis-born startup that processes bank payments (in tech-speak, we’ve built a white-labeled API for ACH payments). We have a great team that I’ve watched from the very start, so needless to say it was an honor to join and an awesome opportunity for me professionally.

Since transitioning into my new role with SynapsePay, our team has relocated to San Francisco to be closer to our customers. Although the decision to move was the right one for our team, we wouldn’t be where we were today without the amazing support we found in Memphis, including our investors and advisors, our banking partners, our early adopters, and the startup ecosystem (shout out to the Crews Center and Start Co.). As for me personally, I want you all to know that I am still as in love with Memphis as I ever was. It has had such a huge impact on my life, and I am incredibly grateful to the city and the people who poured so much into me.  When you love Memphis, it loves you back, and that has certainly been the case for me tenfold.

I am now one month into my life in San Francisco, but my eyes will be on Memphis in the coming weeks as the city’s accelerators gear up for another accelerator season. Start Co. has a fresh batch of B2B, women-led, and social impact startups beginning May 4th, and ZeroTo510 resumes its medical device accelerator shortly after. These startup founders are putting their companies on the line to startup in Memphis and I cannot wait to see what they’re building.

Though I’ll be watching from afar, I hope to continue to be an asset to the city, and Memphis startups, in whatever way that I can. It has been a privilege to be a part of the movement to put Memphis on the map, not just in tech, but in all things entrepreneurial and innovative, and I am proud to represent the 901 in Silicon Valley (or wherever else life takes me).

Don’t be a stranger. I’m just an email away.

Never Stop,


PS: If you need someone to process payments between bank accounts for only 25¢ per transaction, we can help (! #ABC #AlwaysBeClosing


Hillary Quirk, founding team member of SynapsePay, is the former Program & Community Manager at Start Co. You can follow her on twitter at @HillaryQuirk.

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

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, visit

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>malmoBaker Donelson, The Marston Group, Orion Federal Credit Union, Mosaik Solutions and Softlayer (an IBM company).  More information can be found at

Start Co. Announces Expansion and Upgrades to Co-working Space in Downtown Memphis


Build-out to include dedicated co-working space for accelerator teams and memberships for Memphis-area entrepreneurs.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (February 13, 2015) – Start Co. today announced an expansion to the Start Lab at 88 Union Ave., increasing its current footprint by 80 percent. The new build-out will include enhancements to the existing space, which will be transformed into an event space for the Memphis entrepreneurial and technology communities, but will also provide a designated co-working space for teams in this summer’s accelerator programming. The lease for the additional space was signed in early February and construction is expected to be completed in early April.

“This build-out will allow us to continue to refine and build our accelerator programs, while also allowing other groups to use the community center for the advancement of digital technologies and talent in Memphis,” said Eric Mathews, CEO and Founder of Start Co.

The new Start Lab has a total of 7,600 square feet and provides expanded space and amenities to Memphis-area entrepreneurs, including an outdoor patio to be utilized for events and networking opportunities. Memberships will be offered to the community area of the Start Lab and will allow members 24/7 access to the space.

The community event and training space will continue to be used for office hours, business development and investment strategy workshops. Additionally, accelerator alumni, technology user groups, and innovative organizations may make requests to use the space for meetings and events. The new co-working space, however, will be explicitly dedicated to accelerator participants for the building and developing of their products and businesses.

“We continue to focus on building creative density in Memphis’ downtown core and are excited that the Start Lab will provide improved functionality and additional resources to support the overall growth of technology startups in 2015 and beyond,” Mathews added.

The design and construction of the build-out is being overseen by Belz Architecture + Construction. The Assisi Foundation of Memphis, Inc., the Kemmons Wilson Family Foundation and the U.S. Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund contributed funds for the Start Lab expansion, and ongoing Start Co. operations continue to be supported by its many local, regional and national partners, sponsors, funders and donors.

Applications for the 2015 Upstart, Seed Hatchery, and Sky High cohorts are open through March 1. Teams will receive $25,000 in seed investment, and the accelerators will again run simultaneously through the summer in Downtown Memphis beginning May 4. This 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

Made In Memphis


Beyond our obvious contribution to BBQ, Memphis has a history of innovation. That’s why, in honor of National Inventors’ Day (February 11), we’re highlighting 6 innovations that arose out of Memphis.

  1. The first Self-Service Grocery Store (Piggly Wiggly) – You can thank Memphis every time you select your preferred brand in a grocery store. Prior to Piggly Wiggly’s founding in 1916, clerks were responsible for gathering a shopper’s goods from the store shelves, wasting time and limiting options.
  2. The first modern hotel chain (Holiday Inn)– After a subpar family road trip, Kemmons Wilson decided to introduce quality and consistency to the hotel industry in 1951. Guests at his original hotel were greeted with air conditioning, television, telephone service and no additional surcharges for children. Revolutionary.
  3. Everything Logistics (FedEx) – Memphis is the proud headquarters of FedEx. First to the line in almost all things logistics, FedEx delivered everything from overnight shipping to money-back guarantees and free proof of performance. In addition to the runways, Memphis also has access to the river, roads and rails, making it a magnet for others tackling logistics innovation.
  4. Musical Diversity – In addition to being the birthplace of Blues and Rock n’ Roll, Memphis was home to the first all-African American formatted radio station, WDIA in 1947. The first all-female station, WHER, was also founded in Memphis in 1955.
  5. Sewage Systems – Memphis was the first community in the US to pioneer separate sanitary sewage collection systems, which had smaller pipes (and were consequently more affordable).
  6. Cutting-Edge Cancer Research for Children (St. Jude) – Located in Memphis, the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a pioneer in childhood cancer research. But their innovative approach doesn’t stop at research. St. Jude’s fundraising branch, ALSAC, raises the required $2M daily operating cost through cutting-edge campaigns and strategies. Plus, parents don’t pay a dime and research is freely shared with other hospitals. Social Innovation for the win.

Other Innovative Bragging Rights:

  • The Rotary Lift – Invented in 1924, the rotary lift is found in almost any auto garage. What’s so special about it? It rotates, making it possible for cars to drive onto the lift in forward gear.
  • AutoZone – Founded by Memphian Joseph R. Hyde in 1979, AutoZone is in over 4,000 locations. The organization also supports Memphis innovation through programs like Start Co. & ZeroTo510.
  • Bicycle Infrastructure – Though Memphis is yet-to-rival Amsterdam or San Francisco in bicycle infrastructure, it is seeing more and more spotlight for innovative approaches to grow the cyclist community.
  • Sports FranchisesThe Memphis Grizzlies Foundation is leveraging one of the nation’s most popular sports franchises to mobilize support and mentor youth in new and creative ways. Moreover, Memphis’ baseball team, the Redbirds, is the nation’s only not-for-profit sports team and facility, with proceeds going toward youth programs.

We’re Recruiting Rockstar Startups


Calling all rockstar startups: We’ve released applications for three of our Summer 2015 Accelerators – Seed Hatchery (B2B), Upstart (Women-Led) and Sky High (Social Impact).

Highlights of the programs include $25k seed investment, mentors and partners to bring your business to the next level, national office hours with resources and influencers at Start-Q (aka BBQFest Startup Meetup), and a Demo Day drawing investors and connectors from across the country.

Ready to hit the grindstone? Here’s who we’re looking for:

  • Founders that are passionate, flexible and execution oriented.
  • Teams with the necessary technical talent and business know-how
  • Ideas that are solving a real problem (not just building a cool technology)
  • Leaders that are willing to go all in and embrace the risky business of starting up.

Think you have the team to get the job done? Apply by March 1st or reach out to us with questions at info@neverstop.coProgram Dates: May 4 – August 13

For application pointers, check out these posts:


Applications for 2015 Start Co. Accelerators Now Open


Media Alert:

Open call for enterprise technology, women-led technology, and social innovation startups.

Start Co. will be accepting applications for its Seed Hatchery (enterprise technology), Upstart (women-led technology) and Sky High (social innovation) accelerators beginning Dec. 18. For the second year, accelerators will run simultaneously, allowing for streamlined integration of resources and mentorship for all founders and teams participating in the 100 day program.

Start Co. is looking for teams who are passionate, flexible and execution oriented.  Their startups should be unique, have high-growth potential and exhibit a national or global reach. Accelerator program participants are typically making use of hardware and software to solve big problems.  Those interested in applying can find more information and applications at Applications are being offered through F6S, a leading startup community, and will close March 1. Those accepted will begin their entrepreneurial journeys at Start Co. May 4, 2015, and will receive $25,000 in seed funding.

Accelerator programming at Start Co. continues to evolve and build stronger community partnerships, and this year will feature workshops, product development sessions and other resources led by local Memphis business partners such as archer>malmo, AutoZone, Baker Donelson, JumpFund, PayPal, SendGrid, Softlayer, Springboard, The Marston Group, and many more.


Applications will be accepted from Dec. 18, 2014 – March 1, 2015


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

For additional information please contact Liz Hamilton, archer>malmo for Start Co., at (901) 260-4168,

Start Co. Takes on the Coasts


DemoDaySF2014This November Start Co. hit both coasts to build connections, onboard resources, exchange best-practices and showcase recent graduates of the 2014 Start Co. Accelerators.

Taking on the East Coast, Al Pickett (VP of Diversity) represented Start Co. at the kickoff of the SBA Growth Accelerator Fund in Washington, DC. Meanwhile, the rest of the Start Co. team met up with graduates of the 2014 accelerators in San Francisco. On the agenda: wrapping up the post-acceleration program with meetings, company tours and a Demo Day: San Francisco Edition at 500 Startups.

The trip was a great chance for our graduates to build their networks, explore a variety of startup cultures, and reconnect with Start Co. partners and mentors based in San Francisco. Additionally, the Start Co. team was busy laying the groundwork for the 2015 Accelerator Season. See a recap of our adventures on Storify.

‘Creative Collisions’ and Memphis Startups


(Memphis Daily) “We just closed a lead investor for our $1.5 million angel round,” said the entrepreneur, sipping a latte. “And we’d love to have you on board to help us round out the fundraise.”

It most cities, coffee shop conversations revolve around everything from sports to movies to current events. However, at The Creamery in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood, it’s not uncommon to overhear terms negotiations, angel pitches and potential future co-founders talking about big ideas. The place is crawling with startups and investors. Density. It’s what startup hotbeds like San Francisco; Austin, Texas; Boulder, Colorado; and others enjoy. It accelerates connections between people. It’s what enables serendipitous conversations to occur.

Read the full article at The Daily News

Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014


Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is Nov.17-23. Celebrate innovation and entrepreneurship by checking out these Memphis-area events. For news about other cities around the world visit

Tuesday, 11/18

  • Ignite Memphis, Vol. 8 7:30pm, Bridges — Twelve Memphians take the stage for 5-minute passion-packed presentations. Complimentary beer, wine and appetizers provided. These tickets will sell out, so get them quickly.

Wednesday, 11/19

  • Panel Discussion: Why I Launched a Startup in Memphis, 12pm, Memphis Bioworks Conference Center — Join Memphis Bioworks for a panel discussion with medical device, healthcare and technology entrepreneurs about the resources and network that led them to start a business in Memphis, as well as their successes and lessons learned.

Thursday, 11/20

  • The Growth Workshop: Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, 8am – 5pm, Memphis Bioworks Conference Center — Part of the EPIcenter Growth Academy, this event will help you design a roadmap to success for your business.
  • 6th Annual Core Conversations on Entrepreneurship, 12pm, Jim’s Place (Perkins) — The Society of Entrepreneurs and EmergeMemphis are hosting Core Conversations on Entrepreneurship. The purpose of this event is to bring together entrepreneurs from all across the area to have lunch together to discuss entrepreneurship in Memphis.
  • Growing the Village, 6-8pm, Forge — Memphis women entrepreneurs, business owners, nonprofit leaders, initiative drivers, artists, artisans, freelancers and otherwise rock stars are invited for drinks, hors d’oeuvres, networking and general girl power.

Missing something on the list? Let us know at