Being Held Accountable Leads to More Success


That’s right! You are far more likely to achieve your goals when you have someone to hold you accountable. Startup entrepreneurs take note and find someone.

If accountability leads to more success, why are people so afraid of it? It might have something to do with their childhood upbringing. I’m sure your parents held you accountable for completing your chores. They had to be done ‘right’ before running out the door only to return for lunch and beat the street lights home. So, what I’m really saying here is most things that fall under accountability have little to do with fun or comfort. They do, however, help us become better individuals at prioritizing, order, and systems.

At Start Co. this is exactly how we lead. Entrepreneurs and innovators come through our doors with ideas and/or working businesses seeking help to move to the next level. During our initial meetings, we spend time assessing the current needs of each individual and team so we can plug them into the proper channel of resources. These resources include one-on-one mentoring, a co-working space, 90 day accelerators programs, weekly workshops on fundraising, pitching, and general business development.

After finding a fit, the real work begins. Starting up and giving yourself a shot at success is no small task. All massive undertakings such as this require a vision, planning, and accountability. We’ve found that accountability is usually the missing (but important) piece for founders since most are starting up at home or working alone. However, there is power in the social construct of being around other people who are pursuing similar passions. The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem constructed by Start Co. is filled with people who are passionate about the mission of making Memphis a Venture City. They are the people that will hold you accountable in reaching your milestones.

But how do I find an accountability partner?

You can start by asking. Asking is free, but the work to be successful is going to cost you comfort.



Get plugged in at our upcoming events.

Apply to one of Start Co.’s 2016 Summer Accelerators


Al Pickett is the VP of Diversity at Start Co.  He can be reached at

If People Are The Hardware, Culture Is The Software


With this post we want to give you a feel for what it is like to be a part of the startup community in Memphis, and more specifically, the Start Co. accelerators.

Welcome to Start Co.

Our Culture in Action:

It wouldn’t be a Memphis without blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and BBQ.  At Start Co. we take full advantage of the natural assets of our community to make sure our founders, partners, and investors experience the true flavor of Memphis with unique events and networking opportunities.

Start-Q is hosted during The World Championship of Bar-B-Que in Memphis TN.  With National Office Hours, pitch competitions, and BBQ, we draw national partners and supporters such as Amazon Web Services, American Airlines, PayPal BrainTree, Softlayer, and more to Memphis to support the regional growth of startup ecosystem.

Start Co. Lounge is a monthly gathering of fellow innovators, investors, developers, designers, accelerator alumni, and many other business leaders in the community for an evening of drinks, good conversation, and creative collisions.

48 Hour Launch is a weekend long event where veteran, and first time, entrepreneurs come together to identify potential startup businesses and build them in just 48 hours.  Sound intense?  It is.  80-100 people are working around the clock to build new innovations that solve problems, while simultaneously building community.  You will find our accelerator alumni giving back and mentoring new generations of entrepreneurs at these events each year.

Our Space:

Start Co. Lab is ground zero for our accelerators, workshops, training sessions, and more. Each startup receives a dedicated workstation to accommodate their team and setup homebase. The accelerator co-working space is sealed away from other event space at Start Co., allowing teams to leave their things behind each night without the fear of them being disturbed.

Accessible 24/7, our newly renovated 7800+ sq ft office provides plenty of room for big ideas to grow. And our location in the core of downtown Memphis offers limitless walkable options for dining, entertainment, off-site work, and housing.  In addition, we offer a formal board room, mid-sized conference room, and other breakout spaces for whiteboarding, conference calls, and customer meetings. There is even a walk out patio and grill for working and relaxing outside.

Meet Our Founders:

As members of the Global Accelerator Network, we have benchmarked our program against the best in the world.  Start Co. is admired for the hands-on nature of the business and technical assistance that is supplied to our startups during the accelerator, and the months following it.  But you don’t have to take our word for it.  Here are quotes, and videos, from our founders on their experience and what surprised them the most about going through an accelerator.

“Upstart was the most valuable personal and professional experience I’ve ever had. I learned more in 3 months than I did in 3 years of law school.” – Rachel Fuller, Feather (Upstart ’15)

“Bring all you have to the table. Start Co. will pour gasoline on it and light your idea on fire.” – Jessica Buffington, FrontDoor (Upstart ’15)

“It’s not just business-changing… it’s life-changing.” – Ken Sills, Preteckt (Seed Hatchery ’15)

“The curriculum is rigorous and rewarding. Oftentimes, the feedback is tough but because of it, you’ll be well-equipped, if not over-prepared once you graduate.” – Aaron Fitzgerald, Ncrease (Seed Hatchery ’15)

Preteckt relocated from Canada to Memphis, the distribution and logistics capital of the world, to build their hardware and software company that predicts long-haul truck breakdowns before they happen. Peter Bassa, CEO & Co-Founder of Preteckt, shares what surprised him about Start Co. after going through our 2015 Seed Hatchery Accelerator.

FrontDoor (formerly MLSMyNest) is disrupting the real estate industry by providing home sellers with full-service agent for a flat fee of $1500.  Jessica Buffington, CEO & Co-Founder, shares what surprised her about Start Co. after going through our women-led accelerator program in 2015.

The Ncrease team moved from Los Angeles and Washington, DC to build their startup in Memphis.  The CEO & Founder of Ncrease, Aaron Fitzgerald, was surprised by the intensity of the programming in the accelerator program.  Learn more about his experience here:

DivorceSecure is a company that not only took advantage of the accelerator program at Start Co. but also took full advantage of startup programming at Start Co. before the program began to position for success.  The CEO & Founder of DivorceSecure, Hirsch Serman, shares why you should think about taking advantage of the programming.

7 Tips for Standing Out in Your Start Co. Accelerator Application


Each year we release our applications for our highly competitive accelerator programs.  Our founder, Eric Mathews, wrote two posts previously with macro and micro level application tips here (Fierce, Flexible and Functioning) and here (Application Tips).  With this post I wanted to tell how you can stand out over others during application screening.  

Here are my 7 tips for standing out in your application to our accelerator programs at Start Co.  Be sure to apply and learn more here:

  1. Teamwork makes the dreamwork

The #1 factor of success for a startup company is the team. So at Start Co. we want to see that you have a strong founding team. We want to know that your talents and skills complement each other and you can work together. Do you have the technical ability to build something?  Founding a company is not easy and you need great teammates.

  1. Amaze us!

We receive 100s of applications, so make yourself stand out! Tell us how you’ve overcome big problems in the past and what things you have loved doing. Show us why we should offer you a spot in our next cohort. We value diversity and focus on inclusion — help us understand why you are different.

  1. Build great relationships

Recommendations spark our interest and instantly catapult you forward. A strong reference from a member of the Start Co. network, perhaps a mentor or a founder from a previous accelerator, will definitely help you.  Hustling to get an awesome recommendation is a great indicator of the drive and resourcefulness we want in our accelerators.

  1. Tell us what you’ve learned

We love to see teams that have been out there working hard to get customers, even if you’ve failed. We want to see that you’re willing to iterate and adapt quickly. Tell us what you’ve learned. What have you tried and failed at? What do you know now about your customers that you didn’t know before?

  1. Tell us about your competitive advantage or unique perspective

We’ve seen countless startups in the past. It’s execution and not the idea that counts. Nonetheless we want to know you’ve spent time thinking through how you can beat out the competition. Tell us how you are better and how you’re different.  How are you better than all the other startups trying to solve the same problem?

  1. Do your homework

Know what kind of companies have gone through our accelerators before.  Are you a fit? We run 3 consecutive accelerators each year so make sure you apply to the appropriate one: Seed Hatchery for B2B tech startups; Upstart for women-led tech startups; and Sky High for social innovation startups.  

  1. Turn it in!

Remember that the application is only first step of many towards getting into our programs.  Don’t get hung up on perfection to the point you don’t submit something.  Just click submit and do it by March 1st.  And if you happen to turn it in sooner, that will just give us more time to look over and make special note of your application.  

Here’s the link to apply


Claire Coulter is the Program Coordinator at Start Co.  Contact her at

2016 Accelerator Applications are OPEN


We’ve released applications for our three 2016 Summer Accelerators:

As a participant in our program you’ll have access to world-class mentors, hands-on programming, and $25,000 in seed funding that will help you build a killer startup.  You’ll do a deep dive into your business and product strategy, learn to understand your KPI’s for growth, and perfect your investment pitches.  You’ll also build your professional network through events like Start-Q and Memphis Demo Day, forming the relationships you need to scale your business.

Since 2011, Start Co. portfolio companies have raised over $12.3M in funding, and graduates from our accelerators leave with the skills, confidence, and traction they need to take their companies to the next level. But you don’t have to take our word for it, just ask some of our 2015 startups;

“Upstart was the most valuable personal and professional experience I’ve ever had. I learned more in 3 months than I did in 3 years of law school.” – Rachel Fuller, CEO, Feather (Upstart ’15)

“Bring all you have to the table. Start Co. will pour gasoline on it and light your idea on fire.” – Jessica Buffington, MLSmyNest (Upstart ’15)

“It’s not just business-changing… it’s life-changing.” – Ken Sills, Preteckt (Seed Hatchery ’15)

“The curriculum is rigorous and rewarding. Oftentimes, the feedback is tough but because of it, you’ll be well-equipped, if not over-prepared once you graduate.” – Aaron Fitzgerald, CEO, Ncrease (Seed Hatchery ’15)

So who are we 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

Do you have what it takes? Apply by March 1st or reach out to us at with any questions.

Program Dates May 2nd – August 11th


For Tips on Applying Checkout These Posts:

Fierce Flexible and Functioning

8 Accelerator Application Tips

Delta Challenge Kick-off in Memphis


The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is kicking-off the Delta Challenge on September 18th in Memphis, TN.  This event will take place in the heart of Downtown Memphis bringing together entrepreneurs for workshops, networking, keynote speakers, and a pitch competition. Check out the schedule below and register here!


Schedule of Events

1:00 PM

Workshop Option: Accelerators 101 – Alumni Panel

Want to take your startup to the next level? Learn from alumni what an accelerator entails and if it’s the right next step for you.

Location: Start Co. (88 Union Ave 2nd Floor)

— or —

Workshop Option: Brand Strategy Canvas

Your brand is a crucial aspect of your company. Learn from the best at archer>malmo on how to create the right brand for your startup.

Location: Archer>Malmo (65 Union Ave 5th Floor)


2:00 PM

Networking at Start Co. 


3:00 PM

Workshop Option: Term Sheet Negotiation

Are you ready for investment? Not sure what terms you should settle on? Innova and Baker Donelson have put together this phenomenal workshop that will help guide you through term sheets.

Location: Start Co. (88 Union Ave 2nd Floor)

— or —

Workshop Option: Lean Product Development 

Don’t waste your time building a complete product. The team at archer>malmo will help guide you through product development so you aren’t wasting time and resources on unnecessary features.

Location: Archer>Malmo (65 Union Ave 5th Floor)


4:00 PM

Delta Challenge Pitch Competition 

Apply by September 13th to pitch your idea or business model to panel of judges. Up to 20 startup companies will be selected to represent the eight-state region and will receive a fellowship to participate in a special segment of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW 2016).  While at NOEW, fellows will have access to programmatic seminars, workshops, and mentorship from panelists and industry experts as well as the opportunity to showcase their company to a panel of investors.

Keynote Speakers

Linda Rowe Thomas is an American fashion designer with more than 20 years experience making her debut in New York fashion week in 2015. Linda also founded the Designing Hope Foundation, a 501c3 non profit organization, benefiting young burn survivors.

Moziah “Mo” Bridges is the precocious 13-year-old CEO of Mo’s Bows Handmade Bow Ties. Moziah started his own business at age 9 and has appeared on Shark Tank, Good Morning America, The TODAY Show, Stevey Harvey Show, and in the Oprah Magazine.

Location: Kress Conference Center (80 Court Ave)


7:00 PM

Evening Reception

Location: Felicia Suzanne’s (80 Monroe Ave)

All of these locations are within walking distance.  Suggested Parking: Parking Can Be Fun (79 Union Ave)