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VOL. 128 | NO. 162 | Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Local Startup Screwpulp Gaining Attention

By Andy Meek

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Memphis-based startup Screwpulp, which participated in the latest cohort of the Seed Hatchery accelerator, has been busy in recent weeks.

Earlier this month the company was chosen by a group of out-of-state investors as one of 20 finalists for the first-ever statewide demo day in Tennessee, being spearheaded by LaunchTN. For the Aug. 27 event, Screwpulp will be part of a group of 20 companies competing for the chance to participate in a master accelerator program.

Ten companies will be chosen and will then embark on a statewide bus tour to present in front of Tennessee’s biggest investors, companies and innovators. The winning teams also will have access to an expert mentor network and free office space, and during the accelerator program those companies also will fly to California and the East Coast to network with venture capitalists and angel investors.

Meanwhile, Screwpulp was one of three startups to attend the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit in New York City last month, where the venture participated in a panel with the title of “From Author to Reader, Publishing and Selling Direct.” Screwpulp also got plenty of audience engagement during a follow-up question-and-answer session.

BILLINGS

“This was a huge event, and it is pretty exciting for our young startup to see our name and logo among so many heavy-hitters,” said Screwpulp founder Richard Billings.

While in New York, Billings said he was invited to attend two startup networking events not related to the summit, and he’s still following up on leads and contacts made during those events.

Screwpulp is an e-book marketplace that tries to make it easy and profitable for anyone to publish. Authors maintain their rights and keep 75 percent of their revenue.

Billings has been a reader from an early age, with early memories of “Green Eggs and Ham.” His venture takes its name from the screw press, the first printing method that allowed for books to be made with moveable type in large quantities. To create the company’s name, the “screw” is combined with what the book industry is moving away from – paper, or “pulp.”

In a little more than three months, Screwpulp has published 60 books. Screwpulp is working with archer-malmo’s a-m ventures division, and later this month will be releasing a new in-browser reading experience.

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