Start Co. Expands Hub for Entrepreneurial Activity in Memphis’ Downtown Core


Expanded offices triples initial footprint and increases density of creative workers in downtown Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (May 20, 2016) – Start Co., the Memphis-based venture development organization, today announced its expansion to the sixth floor of 88 Union Ave., increasing its current footprint by 50 percent to more than 13,000 square feet. The additional 4,500 square feet on the sixth floor will house Start Co. operations and offices for staff and more seasoned startups, allotting the Start Lab significantly more space on the second floor for growing accelerator operations. Additionally, high speed fiber will also be installed throughout the offices to deliver the fastest download speeds possible, a critical factor for teams who are leveraging technology platforms, resources and in some cases, building businesses online.

“This expansion gives the Memphis entrepreneurial community even more options and resources that are needed during the critical phases of acceleration. It also increases the density of entrepreneurial activity and creativity in the Downtown Core,” said Eric Mathews, Founder and CEO of Start Co. “In addition, the expansion will give more founders the opportunity to work at the Start Lab post-acceleration, giving them a longer runway before taking off on their own.”

The space on the second and sixth floors will give startups such as Code Crew, Preteckt and Graph Story dedicated co-working facilities so they can focus resources on moving from product launch to product success to business success before making a commitment to a long-term commercial lease.

Over the last two years at 88 Union, Start Co. has increased programming and support for startups. The hub of activity, community meeting and educational space called The Start Lab is serving as the headquarters for the Summer of Acceleration which kicked off on May 2 with joint programming for 18 accelerator teams from Start Co., Start MMT, ZeroTo510 and EPIcenter. There the startups receive business development and strategy workshops, educational seminars, trainings, networking, office hours and more. Additionally, the space contains break out areas including conference rooms, a digital living room, other meeting spaces, and an outdoor patio for events and networking opportunities.

“This expansion speaks to our commitment to cultivating entrepreneurship in Memphis,” said Andre Fowlkes, president of Start Co. “It’s a big upfront investment with increased operating expenditures incurred at Start Co., but the impact of this investment extends far beyond the Start Lab – startup teams will be patronizing local restaurants for lunches and dinners, paying for parking, buying from local businesses, signing residential leases in the area – pouring millions of dollars into the Downtown Core.”

In addition to the core program supplied during the Summer of Acceleration, other activities that the accelerator teams participate in include weekly Friday office hours with business leaders and corporate partners. The teams will also be involved in industry events including the 36/86 Conference and a VIP networking event at the Levitt Shell during a concert. The program culminates on August 11 with Demo Day at the Halloran Center, when the startup teams pitch their business to potential investors, customers, and the entrepreneurial community.

Start Co.’s growth adds to an already strong technology-based business footprint at 88 Union Center. Lokion Interactive maintains four floors in the building and RocketFuel has an entire floor as well. Nearly two hundred technology and creative professionals work across 40,000 square feet of the building.

“We believe that ‘Density is Destiny.’ 88 Union Center is becoming more and more of a vertical technology campus,” said Mathews. “With the growth of Archer Malmo, Creative Works, Lokion, Y&R, and many other firms the density of creative workers within one block of 88 Union is driving the idea velocity necessary to enhance the grow our innovation economy.”

Eric Mathews conceived the design of the expanded space. Tony Fields and Jeff Witt of Belz Architecture + Construction served as general contractor and architect, respectively. The Assisi Foundation of Memphis, Inc., and many local, regional, and national partners, sponsors, funders and donors contributed funds for the Start Lab expansion.