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VOL. 128 | NO. 102 | Friday, May 24, 2013

Seed Hatchery Teams Begin Next Steps

By Andy Meek

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Participants in this year’s cohort of the Seed Hatchery startup accelerator now face perhaps the most important piece of the 90-day program that puts them through an entrepreneurship boot camp.

It’s now time to stand on their own.

May 16 was Investor Day, the culmination of the three-month program. And the teams behind the six participants in this year’s crop of companies – Mentor Me, Screwpulp, Boosterville, BetterFed, Musistic and Soundstache – are in the process of a variety of tasks. Some are traveling. Others are trying to gin up interest among investors.

The morning after his pitch during the May 16 event, Screwpulp CEO Richard Billings flew to New York City to participate in a publishing “hackathon.” That fits the mission of his company, which is trying to help writers do an end-run around the traditional book-publishing ecosystem.

He’s heading back for the New York BookExpo May 30.

“Once I get back (to Memphis), the work begins on growing our user base and getting ready for investment,” said Billings, who added that he also was preparing to head to Nashville to meet with investors.

COOPER

Boosterville co-founder and CEO Pam Cooper was busy following up leads and getting documents to potential investors after her May 16 presentation. Her company has an app that helps school fundraisers raise money by connecting them with local businesses.

“We got a lot of business done even during Barbecue Fest,” said Cooper, who added the company’s attorney – Emily Brackstone of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC – was on hand. “We are squeezing in as many in-person calls as we can before we head back to Indianapolis for a while at the end of May. We’re continuing to work on the product rollout to more Project Green Fork restaurants, and we’ll be pursuing relationships with St. Jude and the Madison Avenue efforts. Additionally, we’re headed to Nashville for some meetings.”

The team at BetterFed, which aims to connect people with locally grown, healthy food, is continuing to broaden its customer base. Musistic is working with local firm Loaded for Bear and other groups like Folk Alliance International and the Memphis Music Foundation. And earlier this month Soundstache hit a few hundred signups for the beta test it’s launching.

FITZPATRICK

“To be honest, I still haven’t fully processed the last 90 days,” said Mentor Me co-founder and CEO Brit Fitzpatrick. “I am amazed at the amount of progress we were able to make during the 90-day period, and I’m excited about the partnerships we’ve built with great organizations, like the Memphis Grizzlies Foundation. I’ve been humbled by the amount of support we’ve received from fellow entrepreneurs and people in the community who want to see Mentor Me succeed.

“I’m happy that people seem to connect with our mission and see the promise in what we’re building. Investor Day was kind of a full circle moment for me, and it gave me a chance to tell my personal story and how it led me to Mentor Me. I really hope to see more female entrepreneurs go through Seed Hatchery and the other accelerators in the future. … Going through Seed Hatchery has opened up so many doors for me and has really expanded my view of the resources we have available in Memphis.”

Speaking of Seed Hatchery, its parent entity LaunchYourCity has rebranded itself, choosing the new moniker of Start Co.

Start Co. will continue to operate Seed Hatchery and Upstart, which is a new accelerator program geared toward building women-led and owned startups.

The new name, brand and identity were developed by archer-malmo and its venture partner a-m ventures.

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