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VOL. 127 | NO. 80 | Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Seed Hatchery Participants Prep for Investor Day

By Andy Meek

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For months, the entrepreneurs behind six new startups have refined their concepts, listened to mentors, learned from each other – and counted down the days.

In a little more than a week, that counting will be over. For the enrollees in this year’s Seed Hatchery program — an intense boot camp-style, mentorship-driven seed stage investment program – May 3 is the day they’ve been working toward.

That’s Investor Day, which is when they’ll pitch themselves and their ventures to a roomful of investors who can write the checks that help get their young companies off the ground. The series of presentations will take place in the Bioworks Conference Center at 20 Dudley St. from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

It will be followed by a reception at Felicia Suzanne’s from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

A variety of Memphis businesses are sponsoring the event. They include a-m ventures; BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee; The Marston Group; Memphis Bioworks Foundation; Orion Federal Credit Union; and Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC.

In addition to Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. being on hand to share his vision about Memphis as a city of choice and as a launching ground for talent and startup businesses, Investor Day also will showcase a preview of some big things to come for Memphis’ startup community, according to Elizabeth Lemmonds, chief brand officer for Launch Your City Inc.

The six teams in the current Seed Hatchery cohort are Haversack, friendsignia, CloudAptitude, Safety Hound, Paytopia and KnoCo.

The entrepreneurs behind six new startups that are enrolled in this year’s Seed Hatchery program are eyeing next week’s Investor Day when they’ll make their pitches to potential investors.

They run the gamut from social media services to educational gaming to new e-commerce solutions. Each Friday for the last five weeks, The Daily News has profiled the CEOs behind those companies.

The sixth and final CEO profile, of Safety Hound founder Clifton Wilson, will run Friday, April 27.

CloudAptitude co-founder Clint Rosenblatt said the thing he found most valuable about the Seed Hatchery program is the way it’s always tried to keep the teams’ products moving. The program founders and mentors are always pushing the teams to think through problems, new iterations, new customer areas they can tap into, and more.

In addition, a few of the teams are taking a detour to Nashville prior to Investor Day. Kenn Gibbs, the founder of KnoCo, and Mike Hoffmeyer, the founder of Paytopia, will be making presentations at the 2012 Governor’s Innovations Conference.

Also presenting will be Demarcus Love, co-founder of ChooMoGo, a startup from the 2011 Seed Hatchery cohort.

The day after they present, EmergeMemphis interim executive director Eric Mathews will be part of a panel discussion.

“There will be people there from Knoxville and Nashville and Chattanooga and all around the state, as well as everyone focused on economic development,” Lemmonds said. “It’s another way to pitch and to be part of all the great things happening around innovation in Tennessee.”

In addition to highlighting new startups and technology commercialization ideas, the conference will include national speakers, panelists and experts to talk about ways the state can promote economic growth through research innovation and commercialization.

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