VOL. 129 | NO. 70 | Thursday, April 10, 2014
Startup Conference Prepares to Return to Memphis
By Andy Meek
Final preparations are underway for the startup-focused Everywhere Else conference, which is returning to Memphis at the end of the month after its launch here last year and will bring entrepreneurs, investors and creatives from around the country to the Bluff City.
This year’s conference will be a smaller affair compared to last year’s, which also was plagued by problems with vendor payments, an unplanned shift in venue and programming aspects that caused a major sponsor, FedEx, to pull out.
Because of mismanagement, the organization behind the conference pushed out founder Kyle Sandler and replaced him with Nick Tippmann, who said the conference is aiming for a smaller scale and better quality this time around.
“This time around we’ve changed some things up and learned quite a bit and gotten a lot of feedback from supporters and attendees.”
Tippmann said this year’s expected attendance, for example, will be a maximum of 400 people, a fraction of what the event tried for last year. It will be held April 30 through May 2 at the 409 South Main gallery.
“I’m really excited about the event and the new direction the company has been able to take since Kyle was removed and Monica Selby has joined me as co-founder and editor-in-chief,” Tippmann said, adding that this year’s conference has drawn interest from entrepreneurs around the country. “This time around we’ve changed some things up and learned quite a bit and gotten a lot of feedback from supporters and attendees. One of the main changes we made this time was we decided to focus on quality over quantity, all the way from the number of startups to attendees to the venue. We decided that, unlike last year, going for the biggest and baddest wasn’t the best option.”
Tippmann said sponsors of this year’s Everywhere Else conference include Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, the University of Memphis Crews Center for Entrepreneurship, The Marston Group PLC and Elevate.co.
Speakers announced for the conference include Square co-founder Jim McKelvey, plus attendance from nationally recognized startup experts.
In addition, the conference will host three parties at different locations nearby to connect founders and creatives with the event’s speakers and investors in a more relaxed atmosphere.
“Our mission is to educate, connect and inspire entrepreneurs while invigorating the region’s startup community,” Tippmann said. “Another of the things we’re doing different this year is instead of startups paying to have a booth, we decided we were going to take applications and choose the 10 best, most promising startups that have raised under $2 million in capital.
“They’re going to get a table in our Startup Avenue, and investors will be giving out poker chips to the startups they’re interested in. The three startups with the most chips will be invited on stage to pitch.”
Three of the 10 finalists that will be exhibiting in the conference’s Startup Avenue are startups from Memphis. They include MentorMe, a mentoring platform that’s helping mentoring programs better manage day-to-day operations and keep mentors and mentees engaged. Also included is WeddingWorthy, a group shopping platform that lets brides and bridesmaids shop together from anywhere.
The third startup from Memphis is Screwpulp, an e-book marketplace that tries to make it easy and profitable for anyone to publish their book. The company recently was featured in a story by Mashable, an influential online tech publication.
A full schedule for the Everywhere Else conference, plus details about speakers and more, is available at eetennessee.com.