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VOL. 132 | NO. 89 | Thursday, May 4, 2017

Eighteen Startup Teams Set to Begin ‘Summer of Acceleration’ in Memphis

By Andy Meek

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Eighteen startup teams this week have kicked off the “Summer of Acceleration,” the season of joint accelerator programming across six startup accelerators overseen by the EPIcenter, Memphis Bioworks and Start Co.


The startups – whose founders come from Memphis, Los Angeles and many other markets – are participating in a boot-camp style of programming that culminates on Aug. 10 with Demo Day, at which the teams will make pitches to potential investors. The startups over the course of the summer will get hands-on training and mentorship, as well as help refining their business plans and concepts.

By the end of the summer, many of the teams will have built or refined a business model, conducted customer discovery and sales pipeline development, developed relationships with potential mentors, and made connections with investors. To date, more than 40 teams have graduated from accelerator programs and secured more than $40 million in investment.

This is the seventh year Start Co. has operated accelerator programming in Memphis, according to its CEO and founder Eric Mathews. The accelerator teams are also participating in this year’s Start Q events from May 17-20 during the Memphis in May International Festival World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. Sponsors include American Airlines, IBM, LBMC, Louisiana Startup Prize, OPS-FUEL, Send Grid, ServiceMaster and Southern Sun Asset Management.

Partners for the Summer of Acceleration include American Airlines, Archer Malmo, AutoZone, IBM, Baker Donelson, Mosaik, The Marston Group and others.

“I think this time we have a little bit more seasoned folks who’ve been around the block a couple of times and who are better able to hit the ground running,” said Start Co. president Andre Fowlkes about this summer’s selection of teams. “We’re seeing some who are a little further along, meaning some are already generating revenue and launching products. So we have a little more variety in terms of the stages they’re at. We’re looking forward to kind of pushing them forward. I think we have a really strong group.”

For the AgLaunch accelerator, an agriculture accelerator that’s a joint initiative of the Memphis Bioworks Foundation and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, the teams include:

• Microbiometer from Englewood, New Jersey, which has a rapid on-site soil testing tool that measures microbial mass, making it possible for soil health to be assessed quickly and inexpensively.

• Persistence Data Mining from San Diego, California. It uses proprietary technology to rapidly develop soil nutrient maps over large tracts of farmland.

• Kilimo, from Cordoba, Argentina. It provides a decision support tool for irrigation management in broad-acre agriculture.

Teams in the EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator, sponsored by FedEx Corp., include:

• Throughput, of Houston, Texas, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which eliminates supply-chain waste by providing software as a service, data analytics and predictive analytics that discover bottlenecks, automate tasks, and add controls to standard operations.

• Truck Driver Power of St. Louis, Missouri, a mobile app that supports information-sharing among truck drivers aimed at solving driver satisfaction problems.

• MedHaul of Memphis, which provides full-service software for scheduling and dispatching patient transport. It links health care organizations and patient transport brokers to automate processes, reduce costs, increase efficiency, increase patient satisfaction, ease audit and compliance processes, and provide improved data analytics.

• Shurpa, of Chicago, which provides customized B2B delivery logistics and uses software to connect a network of neighborhood micro-depots in underutilized space in existing businesses.

Teams in Seed Hatchery, an accelerator that focuses on software and hardware as a service for enterprise customers, include:

• Ajax Intel of Memphis, which has a predictive algorithm that indicates stock price direction based on capital markets drivers, in particular sentiment drivers, from social media.

• ArtSquare of Nashville, which has an online marketplace that consolidates artists’ online portfolios.

• Merjek of Memphis, which produces data integration software for health care institutions using graph databases to make data more accessible and usable.

Teams in Sky High, a social innovation accelerator focused on education technology startups, include:

• Building Box of Memphis, which creates youth and student technology labs made from shipping containers to serve schools and learning institutions.

• SILQ of Memphis, a data visualization and predictive tool that allows schools and third-party education organizations to see data across all their platforms and creates tracking databases with predictive capabilities to increase intervention opportunities for at-risk youth.

• The Collective, of Memphis, which is a programming, partner connectivity and management organization addressing opportunity for youth ages 16-24 who have not been in school or working for six months or more.

Teams in Upstart, a women-led technology startup accelerator, include:

• Dev/Con Detect, of Los Angeles, which protects the advertising revenue of online publishers with detection, clean-up and ongoing monitoring so it can’t be skimmed by internal and external hackers.

• Alwaz Pro of Memphis, an online career development tool for pink-collar and blue-collar employees who currently don’t have a place to post their degrees, work history, professional recommendations and more.

• Mozak Solutions, of Memphis, a company that helps entrepreneurs with tasks like bookkeeping and web design.

Teams in ZeroTo510, which focuses on medical technology innovation, include:

• PathEX, of Nashville, which is creating a dialysis-like device that can capture and remove blood-borne pathogens, including multi-drug resistant variants and associated toxins for the treatment of sepsis.

• Embrace, of Memphis, which has designed a unique back support device for people suffering from diseases of the spine.

The formation of teams is still to come for ImagineU, which is a collaboration of seven Memphis colleges and universities including Christian Brothers University, Southwest Tennessee Community College, LeMoyne-Owen College, University of Memphis, Visible Music College, Memphis College of Art and Rhodes College.

It helps students bring business ideas to fruition and is housed at the University of Memphis Crews Center for Entrepreneurship in partnership with The College Initiative.

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