Author Archives: Katie Milligan

The 2014 Start Co. Accelerator Graduates

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We’re excited to introduce the 16 graduating companies from our four accelerators. Join us at the historic Orpheum Theater on Thursday, August 21st to see what these amazing startups have built over the course of the summer.

Seed Hatchery – Information Technology Accelerator

  • Troopto – Private crowdfunding for the workplace
  • Phase – Schedule multi-player games without the hassle
  • Pickle – Crowdsource any opinion in less than 2 minutes
  • Well Done – Full featured tablet POS for independently-owned restaurants
  • ORB – High fashion backpacks designed to protect

 

Upstart – Women-Led Tech Accelerator

  • Play-Tag – Smart bluetooth dog tag and LED alert system
  • eDivv – A marketplace for trading excess beauty products
  • Cabsolutely – Tech upgrade for the taxi industry
  • Barter SugarBartering marketplace for businesses to trade services, space and inventory.

 

Sparkgap – Logistics Technology Accelerator

  • Graph Story – Graph database-as-a-service
  • Extra Rail – Airbnb for the railroad industry
  • Logistadvise – Platform that matches companies with supply-chain transportation

 

Sky High – Social Innovation Accelerator

  • FuelFilm – An accelerator for the film industry (non-profit)
  • The College Initiative – Prepares students for the application & college experience (non-profit)
  • Care2Manage – Simplifies organization & management for families caring for aged loved ones.
  • CoreFire Commandos – an interactive game & web-based portfolio to track the progress of students

 

RSVP for Start Co. Demo Day – Thursday, August 21st, 1pm – 6pm (4pm Keynote Speaker: The Honorable Edward Montgomery)

And come celebrate at the Start Co. Demo Day After Party!

Start Co. Announces Demo Day 2014 Aug. 21

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Graduates to present business plans to more than 750 investors, entrepreneurs and community leaders

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 11, 2014) – Start Co. today announced that 16 startup teams will present their companies to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, including community leaders, at Demo Day Aug. 21. Demo Day is the culmination of a nationally recognized intensive 14-week startup training and mentoring program, which is specially recognized by the Global Accelerator Network.

Mayor A.C. Warton, Jr., has proclaimed Aug. 21 to be “Demo Day 2014,” recognizing the efforts of Start Co. to serve the community and citizens of Memphis.  Each team will pitch their business on stage at the Orpheum Theater to investors and community members to celebrate progress to date and to seek additional funding.  The event will begin at 1:00 p.m. with pitches from the first group of teams. The keynote address will then take place at 4:00 p.m. followed by the remaining pitches.

The Honorable Edward B. Montgomery, dean of the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, professor of economics, and former chief economist to the White House, will be the keynote speaker. He plans to discuss the importance of entrepreneurial activities as key for the future economic success of the country, and especially in communities such as Memphis.

More than 750 attendees are expected, ranging from successful entrepreneurs to regional and community leaders and investors from throughout the Mid-South and even areas such as St. Louis, San Francisco and Singapore.

Start Co. operates four accelerator programs, Seed Hatchery, Upstart, Sparkgap and Sky High. Each is a 14-week intensive program created for entrepreneurs with high-growth startup ideas.

Memphis Selected for Women’s Focused Startup Weekend, Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, The Commercial Appeal and Start Co.

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54-hour event tailored toward developing talents of aspiring female entrepreneurs

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 11, 2014) – Start Co. announced today that Memphis will play host to Startup Weekend Sept. 12-14. Startup Weekend is an international series of weekend events to spur entrepreneurship, and the Memphis Startup Weekend will focus on showcasing the talents of aspiring female entrepreneurs to inspire, educate and empower female founders and teams and invigorate the community.

“Inclusion of women-led startups has always been a key priority for Start Co., so we are excited to sponsor Startup Weekend to support female founders here in the Memphis region,” said Eric Mathews, CEO and founder of Start Co. “Being selected to participate reinforces the recognition Memphis has received for being a diverse and upcoming entrepreneurial ecosystem that empowers women.”

The event will begin with a presentation from Laurie Tucker, former Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing at FedEx, to be followed by open mic pitches from potential founders, where attendees can inspire others to join their team. The rest of the weekend will be spent by the teams to build business models and presentations to pitch their ideas to judges on Sunday evening. Teams will have access to professional assistance mentors, representing a cross-section of industry talent across the Mid-South, including marketing, financial, development and legal services, among others.

Startup Weekends from UPGlobal take place all over the world and provide hands-on experiences that allow entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs to discover whether their ideas are viable. An intensive 54-hour event, Startup Weekends encourage developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts to come together to form teams, build products and launch startups.

“We’re thrilled to add Memphis to the list of cities hosting Startup Weekend Women’s Edition this year,” said Ari Kern, regional manager UPGlobal, Southeast USA. “Memphis’ vibrant startup culture and focus on supporting women and minorities aligns with the mission of making the world a more innovative and prosperous place, one community at a time.”

Memphis is only one of 20 cities hosting the special women’s edition and was selected because of Start Co.’s commitment to support the growth of women-led technology startups, as demonstrated in the two-year old Upstart accelerator program. The event is also being sponsored by Google for Entrepreneurs and The Commercial Appeal.

To sign up for Memphis’ Startup Weekend, please visit http://www.up.co/communities/usa/memphis-tn-usa/startup-weekend/3737.

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 theGlobal Accelerator Networkand is currently working withJumpStart, Inc.to advance Memphis’ economic growth through entrepreneurship. The organization is supported by partners includingarcher>malmo,Baker Donelson,The Marston Group, Orion Federal Credit Union,andMosaik Solutions.  More information can be found atneverstop.co.

New Logistics Venture Lands $250,000 Investment

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(Memphis Daily News) Start Co.’s “Summer of Acceleration” already has proven a success for at least one startup that’s participated in one of the organization’s accelerators this year.

Graph Story, a graph database-as-a-service offering for small and medium businesses and which is a member of Start Co.’s SparkGap accelerator, is the recipient of a six-figure angel investment award, the first as part of this year’s “Summer of Acceleration” program.

The $250,000 investment was mostly furnished by members of Start Co.’s Angel Network, the first angel network and fund in the region specifically designed to fund high-growth technology startups.

Graph Story’s award is the latest funding event for Start Co. Angels. At the start of the year, three previous Seed Hatchery teams – Seed Hatchery being another Start Co. accelerator program – got funding from both the network and fund itself, a result of how Start Co., since 2011, has rapidly boosted its base of angel investors at the same time it’s tried to increase entrepreneurial talent and access to mentorship in the area.

Read the full article at The Daily News

Sparkgap Cohort Member Receives First Investment of the Year

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(SouthernAlpa) Today, Start Co. announced a $250,000 angel investment for Sparkgap cohort member Graph Story, a graph database-as-a-service offering for small and medium businesses. The funding is the first investment for this year’s Summer of Acceleration programming.

“Moving through Sparkgap’s curriculum has helped me establish a valid business model and strategy,” said Greg Jordan, CEO and Founder of Graph Story. “The team and mentor network at Start Co. has helped coach me every step of the way, from customer discovery to development to receiving the investment dollars that will help propel my business forward to the next stage.”

Read the full article at SouthernAlpha

Logistics start-up gets angel funding

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(Memphis Business Journal) Ahead of Start Co.’s Aug. 21 Demo Day, one of its startups has secured $250,000 in angel funding.

Graph Story, a company participating in Sparkgap, the logistics accelerator created by Start Co., received the funding from the Start Co. Angels network.

The company was founded by Greg Jordan in February 2014. It utilizes a variety of information compiled by logistics companies to troubleshoot possible problems before they happen and save time for drivers by finding alternate routes.

“Graph Story’s funding is a validation of his hard work and business model, which provides tangible benefits to small and medium-sized businesses,” Eric Mathews, CEO of founder of Start Co., said.

View the full article at Memphis Business Journal 

Sparkgap accelerator cohort member Graph Story receives $250,000 angel investment

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First startup in Summer of Acceleration programming closes funding round in only 85 days

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 4, 2014) – Start Co. today announced a $250,000 angel investment for Sparkgap cohort member Graph Story, a graph database-as-a-service offering for small and medium businesses. The funding, mostly furnished by members of the Start Co. Angels Network, represents the first investment for this year’s Summer of Acceleration programming.

 

“Moving through Sparkgap’s curriculum has helped me establish a valid business model and strategy,” said Greg Jordan, CEO and Founder of Graph Story. “The team and mentor network at Start Co. has helped coach me every step of the way, from customer discovery to development to receiving the investment dollars that will help propel my business forward to the next stage.”

 

Graph Story is the latest funding event for Start Co. Angels, the first angel network and fund in the region that was specifically designed to fund high growth technology startups. In January, three prior Seed Hatchery teams received funding from both the fund and network. Since 2011, Start Co. has rapidly increased entrepreneurial talent and access to mentorship, while also developing a larger base of angel investors, all to further the mission to relentlessly build founders in the Mid-South.

 

“Greg took full advantage of the resources, curriculum and access to our mentors and angel network,” said Eric Mathews, CEO and Founder of Start Co. “This is further validation of our acceleration model, where we cram 12 months of entrepreneurship into three months. As a result of the strengthened entrepreneurial ecosystem, we can quickly create results and provide the resources and funding needed to help startups succeed.”

 

The Start Co. Angels has standardized the investment process to become more time and cost efficient. This efficiency and the continued efforts of Start Co. to include more investors in the network led Graph Story to have a signed term sheet in only 75 days and close the funding round 10 days later. This is due in part to the proprietary standardized term sheet and due diligence process, coupled with the education and cultural norms instilled into both investors and founders of the local startup ecosystem.

 

To see Graph Story’s business pitch and to hear the other teams present at Demo Day, register at www.neverstop.co/demoday. Media should contact Liz Hamilton at (901) 260-4168 or lhamilton@archermalmo.com to register and receive a media pass. 

 

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 theGlobal Accelerator Networkand is currently working withJumpStart, Inc.to advance Memphis’ economic growth through entrepreneurship. The organization is supported by partners includingarcher>malmo,Baker Donelson,The Marston Group, Orion Federal Credit Union,Softlayer (an IBM Company), andMosaik Solutions. More information can be found atneverstop.co.

Video showcases Memphis as a “Startup City”

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(High Ground News) Engine, the voice of startups in government, recently made the trip from San Francisco to Memphis, where we’ve seen the local entrepreneurial ecosystem flourish over the last few years. Memphis is one of the cities Engine chose for its series of “Startup Cities” videos, where several successful entrepreneurship hubs outside the larger, typical startup markets in the U.S. are featured. Start Co. was highlighted as a part of Memphis’ video, illustrating how its four accelerator programs and vast startup resources are contributing toward the entrepreneurial community.

This series of videos came following the release of a recent report by theKauffman Foundation and Engine, where it was realized that high-tech startups are key drivers of job creation throughout the United States. Each video demonstrates an entrepreneurial spirit that’s passionate about economic development and community growth. You can watch Memphis’ video here and read the blog post from Engine regarding their Memphis visit.

Memphis carried some surprises for the Engine team: a group of extremely dedicated entrepreneurs, many from other areas, and a community passionate about building a better future for the city. Entrepreneurs who moved here from other areas found an abundance of resources at their disposal: talented mentors, investors and other successful startup founders – all willing to jump in and help.

Watch the video at High Ground News

Former White House Chief Economist to Keynote Memphis Start Co. Demo Day

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(SouthernAlpha) Start Co. has announced that Edward B. Montgomery, former White House Chief Economist and the current dean of the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, will be the keynote speaker at the Summer of Acceleration Demo Day on August 21st.

Demo Day is the pinnacle for Start Co.’s 14-week startup training and mentoring program and will showcase 16 startup teams and their companies. Montgomery’s keynote will focus on the community impact of high-growth entrepreneurship and how it is key for communities such as Memphis.

“Economic growth and revitalization in today’s fast moving economy requires the deliberate and systematic development and nurturing of an entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Montgomery. “Public private partnerships can play an important role in fostering and supporting startup companies from their earliest stages through to maturity.”

View the full article at SouthernAlpha

Start Co. Steers Accelerators Toward Demo Day

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(Memphis Daily News) Memphis’ startup community is in the throes of its busiest summer in memory.

The Start Co. organization is running four startup accelerator programs at the moment simultaneously, compared to past undertakings that involved one accelerator at a time. The four programs underway now include Seed Hatchery, Upstart, SparkGap and Sky High, and they include the participation of more than two dozen teams, some of which hail from Memphis and others from around the country.

And it’s all leading up to a Demo Day Aug. 21, an event where as many as 1,000 people are expected to converge on the city to watch the startup teams present their concepts to investors in the hope of securing funding to take their ideas to the next level.

Read the full article at The Daily News