VOL. 129 | NO. 19 | Wednesday, January 29, 2014
ZeroTo510 Program Opens Application Period
By Andy Meek
Applications are now starting to come in for ZeroTo510, the medical device product and services startup accelerator that’s preparing to kick off its third year.
The window to apply is now open for the program – which will see six companies tapped to go through the mentor-driven, 12-week program of instruction and hands-on activities. The companies will get $50,000 in initial seed capital and, ideally, come out the other end with a stronger, more refined vision and concept – and possibly more funding from investors.
“Like always, we look at what we did last year and we’re always trying to improve on that,” said Allan Daisley, ZeroTo510 co-founder and director of entrepreneurship and sustainability for Memphis Bioworks Foundation, which operates ZeroTo510 along with program co-investor Innova.
“One of the things we’re looking at doing new is early acceptance for three of the companies just so we can encourage people to not wait until the deadline and get their applications in quickly. We want to see the best teams come in and lock them in.”
The application period will close March 16, and by April 11 ZeroTo510 will have its six latest participants lined up in advance of a May 14 start date. On Aug. 14, the six companies will participate in Demo Day. That’s the chance when the cohort of founders can stand in front of a roomful of investors and make presentations about their companies in the hopes of securing a deal for follow-on funding and the chance of a long future.
Investors choose finalists at the end of the program to receive as much as $100,000 in additional capital and the opportunity to take their business further.
As a testament to interest in the program, Daisley said two companies had knocked on his door to participate in this year’s session before the application window was even opened. And two more were already waiting for the window to open.
“This year is all about taking that next step to really being a world-class accelerator,” Daisley said of the program. “When it started it was a first of its kind and sort of an experiment to see if it would work. Now we’ve got two years of pretty good results behind us, so this year we’re really looking to take that next step into making Memphis the place to be for medical device innovation and entrepreneurship. We’ve got great resources here and feel like a great program that complements them.”
The results Daisley referred to include the program accelerating the creation of 12 new companies, more than 25 local jobs and more than $4 million in investments. The program also has attracted participation from entrepreneurs locally and from out of town – specifically, from places like Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and Duke University in Durham, N.C.
ZeroTo510 success stories include three companies currently in the marketplace generating revenue.
ZeroTo510 participants get seed money from co-investors Innova and MB Venture Partners, a Memphis-based venture capital firm that provides equity capital and strategic direction to life sciences start-ups.