VOL. 128 | NO. 185 | Monday, September 23, 2013
Start Co. Retools Website in Push to Evolve
By Andy Meek
Start Co., a nonprofit working as a hub of public-private efforts to kick-start new entrepreneurial ventures in Memphis, has launched a new website as the group continues to shift from serving as a local startup resource to becoming a more robust venture development entity.
The address of the new site, neverstop.co, carries the same message the Start Co. community regularly tweets out and which is emblazoned across specially made Start Co. T-shirts.
That message is “Never Stop Starting,” and Start Co. CEO and co-president Eric Mathews said the new site takes the mission implied by that phrase and carries it online, putting resources and information in one place for startup founders and their companies to help them “relentlessly build.”
The new site was developed by archer-malmo, whose venture arm, a-m ventures, has invested creative capital into several of Start Co.’s early-stage companies.
The site draws visitors’ eyes to four colorfully highlighted areas of focus that correspond to Start Co.’s mission and philosophy. Those areas are labeled Start Launching, Start Mentoring, Start Empowering and Start Investing.
Start Co. co-president Andre Fowlkes said the new website is composed of the essence of the organization’s “startup DNA.”
“Organizing the website as a comprehensive platform allows us to extend the Start Co. experience online,” he said.
The four areas of the site reflect the range of what Start Co. offers, which includes helping founders “launch,” connecting them with business leaders for “mentoring,” finding “investors” and unlocking opportunities to “empower” underrepresented groups like women and minorities.
Some of that was on display a few days ago, in the form of a rooftop fundraiser that brought the entrepreneurial community together at Start Co.’s headquarters at Playhouse on the Square. Money raised is going toward Start Co.’s $20,000 match challenge and toward supporting the nonprofit’s “Start Empowering” platform.
Among some of what is in store from Start Co. for startups and their founders in the near future is a 48-Hour Launch, happening Nov. 15-17. During that event, entrepreneurs and a diverse crowd of professionals will converge at Start Co. to build new companies from scratch.
They’ll pitch their concepts during two-minute slots Nov. 15. If the crowd is sufficiently inspired, participants will have the weekend to put their plans together and introduce their companies formally Nov. 17.
Attendees beyond startup founders also are welcome at the event. That’s because participating teams will need skill sets from all kinds of people, including marketers, lawyers, accountants, graphic designers and more.
All of that activity comes at a time when interest in the city’s startup community is building throughout Memphis and beyond.
A little more than a week ago, for example, LaunchTN’s “The TENN Roadshow” bus tour made a stop in Memphis at the First Tennessee Bank building Downtown, drawing a crowd that included entrepreneurs and investors.
The visit was a pit stop for participants in The TENN, a master accelerator program for Tennessee’s top 10 startup companies that were chosen at the first statewide “demo day” at the end of August.
LaunchTN CEO Charlie Brock was on hand, and the various companies who came in on the tour made pitches and got feedback from business executives as they fulfilled, each in their own way, the Start Co. ideal of “never stop starting.”