Welcome to Trep Talk! Trep Talk features some of our city’s compelling entrepreneurs who are boldly building what is uniquely Memphis. The spotlight series is curated by Elizabeth Lemmonds, Director of Talent Programs for the EPIcenter.
We’re only three weeks into the Trep Talk series, and I’m already shifting gears. Instead of a Q&A with a notable Memphis entrepreneur or startup, I want to introduce you to the 18 startup teams building and launching their bold ideas here in Memphis as part of a groundbreaking collaborative Summer of Acceleration.
Memphis accelerators – EPIcenter, Start Co. and Zero to 510 – are highly competitive programs that offer selected teams with high growth potential rigorous business building curriculum, mentors and coaches, and seed investment. This is the first year that all accelerators will be headquartered together, and share core curriculum workshops and events. Starting today, these 2016 teams will over the next intense fifteen weeks validate their ideas, speak with dozens of potential customers, build and test prototypes and software, explore revenue models, develop sales and marketing strategies and prepare for investor pitches. The formal programming culminates with a Demo Day in August, at the Halloran Centre.
I have been involved both peripherally and directly with local accelerators in the past, and am beyond thrilled to meet these teams! The passion and tenacity are contagious, and it’s extraordinarily exciting to think of what Next Big Thing might come out of the Bluff City. I’d be remiss as Director of Talent Programs to not put out there that we welcome your support! It takes a village to launch a new company, and we always welcome mentors, coaches, service providers and champions. You’ll hear more about the program between now and August 11, but in the meantime, allow me to proudly introduce the teams, listed with their respective accelerator, who hail from around the world and include a diverse mix of apps, platforms and initiatives:
• EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator, sponsored by FedEx, was created to help startups bring innovative logistics products and technologies to market. It is comprised of the following teams:
o NovoNav — Provides a personal navigation platform that solves the issue of “Last 100-foot” navigation in areas that are not mapped.
o Roundabout Markets — Brings technology to the pawnbroker industry to create a national marketplace for pawn shops, increasing market exposure and streamlining product marketing and delivery.
o iShipdit — Expedia-like platform for matching less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments to unused space that exists on trucks every day.
o Magneto Innovations — 3D-printable magnetic sensors that can be created on demand and to user specifications for a variety of applications.
• Seed Hatchery, Memphis’ first accelerator, is one of 50 full members of the Global Accelerator Network and focuses on software and hardware as a service for enterprise customers. Its cohort this year includes:
o FitNexx – An interactive virtual reality platform that encourages children to exercise through the use of simulated environments and fitness games.
o FrontDesk Connect – Unveils an alternative solution to the in-room hotel phone by adding a quick connect capability to the guests’ own mobile device at check-in.
o ProxBox – Tailored initially for the real estate market, ProxBox combines proximity sensors with a mobile app to guide potential home buyers through the home in a self-paced manner. Potential buyers receive details room by room by standing near a ProxBox sensor.
• Sky High, a social impact accelerator to build innovative business models to address challenges in the Memphis metro area, is comprised of the following teams:
o PIE Link – Combines Salesforce and Dropbox into one program, solving the painful problem that PTA associations have with maintaining record donors, documents, and best practices when there is turnover, i.e. when students (and their parents) graduate.
o One Step Initiative – A social enterprise that partners with universities and community colleges to expose, empower, and instill skills in underserved high school kids via international exchange programs, technology, and service models that make them desired higher education students.
• Start MMT, one of the world’s first music industry innovation accelerators, was founded in conjunction with Hall of Fame Songwriter David Porter. Its inaugural cohort includes:
o EPKpage – A web-based platform that makes it easy for musicians to create professional electronic press kits and for venues to effectively vet musicians and their credentials.
o Memphis Media Technology – A technology platform that produces plug-ins and other software solutions in the audio engineering space.
• Upstart, one of the top ten women-led technology startup accelerators in the world, is comprised of the following teams:
o Coursicle – A course scheduling software and notification service to help college students easily plan their schedules and get into the classes they need to graduate.
o Homey – A mobile app for gamified management of household chores that organizes tasks by taking pictures of the mess and assigning the work to individual family members. Kids complete chores and earn rewards that parents can buy through the app.
o RevvPay – Turns your car into a wallet using license plate recognition technology to initiate hands free payment at fast food restaurants, parking garages, dry cleaners and other drive-thru locations.
• ZeroTo510, founded by and housed at Memphis Bioworks Foundation, has been named one of the top 25 accelerator programs in the country by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project for two years in a row. ZeroTo510 focuses on medical technology innovation that takes advantage of the FDA’s 510k regulatory pathway; its teams include:
o SOMAVAC — Creates solutions for the management of post-surgical fluid accumulation and the prevention of seroma, a condition that occurs after large-flap surgery where fluid accumulates in the dead space between tissue.
o FlexSpark — A wearable electrical muscle stimulation device used to supplement anticoagulants in DVT prevention. By stimulating the muscles in a way that causes muscle contractions, FlexSpark also decreases the rate of muscle atrophy that occurs in this patient demographic, that often has limited mobility.
o Cast21 — Cast21 has designed a lightweight, lattice-structure cast that is breathable and waterproof, eliminating some of the disadvantaged of traditional casts. Its design also allows for the integration of electronic therapies to decrease healing time.
o RistCall — A wearable wrist monitor that replaces the traditional call button in hospitals and nursing care facilities. Provides patients with an easily accessible communication device and integrates into a shared dashboard for nurses and administrators.