2017 Summer of Acceleration Teams Announced


More than 30 startup founders and students will build businesses in downtown core

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (May 1, 2017) – EPIcenter, the collaborative hub of the Memphis entrepreneurship movement, Start Co., accelerator programming expert and member of the Global Accelerator Network, and Memphis Bioworks, the region’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience, such as health and agriculture, today announced the teams that will participate in their joint accelerator program known as the Summer of Acceleration. The programming culminates in Memphis Demo Day on August 10.

This year, 18 teams will participate in rigorous entrepreneurial startup programming across the six accelerators in the Summer of Acceleration. Accelerators will be supported by Start Co.’s core programming and expertise while co-located at its downtown space, and each accelerator partner will provide industry-specific programming. 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 seasoned investors. To date, more than 40 teams have graduated from accelerator programs to post-acceleration and secured more than $40MM in investment.

The teams, listed below under each specific accelerator program, hail from around the world and include a diverse mix of apps, platforms and initiatives:

AgLaunch, a leading global accelerator focused on agriculture, is a joint initiative of Memphis Bioworks Foundation and Tennessee Department of Agriculture. This year’s teams are:

  • Microbiometer (Englewood, NJ): Microbiometer is a rapid on-site soil testing tool that measures microbial mass. This means soil health can be assessed quickly and inexpensively, compared to traditional assay methods.
  • Persistence Data Mining (San Diego, CA): Using proprietary UAV technology, Persistence Data Mining rapidly develops soil nutrient maps over large tracts of farmland. These maps dramatically improve the efficiency of automated fertilizer applications by providing more detail than traditional soil sampling methods.
  • Kilimo (Cordoba, Argentina): Kilimo provides a decision support tool for irrigation management in broadacre agriculture. Using satellite, climate, and on site data, Kilimo feeds their proprietary Big Data engine to make the best possible irrigation prescription for each crop.

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:

  • Throughput(Houston, TX and Dubai, UAE): 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 (St. Louis, MO): A mobile app that facilitates information-sharing among truck drivers, ultimately aimed at solving the driver satisfaction problem by providing drivers with credentials and information that enable lifestyle and career improvements.
  • MedHaul (Memphis, TN): Provides full-service software for scheduling and dispatching patient transport. It ties together healthcare 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 (Chicago, IL): Provides customized B2B delivery logistics, offering a new level of visibility for merchants and control for consumers that lowers costs for carriers and provides a new last-mile delivery capacity. Through software, it connects a network of neighborhood micro-depots in under-utilized space in existing businesses and gig-economy drivers.

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:

  • Ajax Intel (Memphis, TN): A predictive algorithm that indicates stock price direction based on capital markets drivers, in particular sentiment drivers, from social media.
  • ArtSquare (Nashville, TN): An online marketplace that consolidates artists’ online portfolios on one platform for uniform, transparent transactions and reduced silo portfolio management.
  • Merjek (Memphis, TN): Produces data integration software for healthcare institutions using graph databases to make data more accessible and usable.

Sky High, a social innovation accelerator, focuses on education technology startups (EdTech) and is comprised of the following teams:

  • Building Box (Memphis, TN): Creates youth and student technology labs made from shipping containers to serve schools and learning institutions trying to scale technology efforts to youth in disparate communities.
  • SILQ (Memphis, TN): 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 (Memphis, TN): A dynamic programming, partner connectivity, and management organization addressing opportunity youth ages 16-24 who have been removed from school or work for six months or more.

Upstart, one of the top ten women-led technology startup accelerators in the world, is comprised of the following teams:

  • Dev/Con Detect (Los Angeles, CA): Protects the advertising revenue of online publishers with detection, clean-up, and on-going monitoring so that it cannot be skimmed by internal and external hackers.
  • Alwaz Pro (Memphis, TN): An online career development tool for Pink Collar and Blue Collar employees who currently do not have a place to post their degrees, work history, professional recommendations, and more.
  • Mozak Solutions (Memphis, TN): A company that assists entrepreneurs with tasks they no longer have time for, such as bookkeeping and web design, so entrepreneurs can focus on growing their businesses.

ZeroTo510, founded by and operated by 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:

  • PathEX (Nashville, TN): PathEX 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, a deadly condition that affects some 18 million people each year.
  • EMBrace (Memphis, TN): EMBrace has designed a unique back support device for individuals suffering from diseases of the spine. Unlike existing braces that trade off traction versus mobility, the novel design allows continuous application of the needed traction with unconstrained mobility that allows the user to flex, extend or twist their upper body.

ImagineU, a first-of-its-kind collaboration of seven Memphis colleges and universities (Christian Brothers University, Southwest Tennessee Community College, LeMoyne-Owen College, University of Memphis, Visible Music College, Memphis College of Art, and Rhodes College), helps students bring business ideas to fruition. ImagineU is housed at the University of Memphis Crews Center for Entrepreneurship and partnered with The College Initiative. Due to the nature of the program, teams have yet to form, though specific student participants have been selected.

“Our accelerator program is unique in the level of one-on-one mentorship and access to experts, industry partners and mentors,” said Eric Mathews, CEO and founder of Start Co. “This is the seventh year that Start Co. has operated accelerator programming in Memphis, and each year we are excited to see how teams grow and evolve before Demo Day, and then where they go during post-acceleration.”

Each team will participate in joint educational sessions along with customized curriculum focused on industry and sector-specific activities with their accelerator cohort. In addition, teams also have access to potential customers, mentors, industry partners and investment capital groups.

A critical component in any accelerator program is funding. Memphis Bioworks-founded Innova Memphis is an early-stage investor focused on starting and funding high-growth companies in the Bioscience, Technology and AgTech fields. The organization provides investments for companies in ZeroTo510, AgLaunch, EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator, Seed Hatchery and Upstart.

“This accelerator partnership leverages the diversity of participants and industries to truly create an unparalleled experience for the participating teams,” said Leslie Lynn Smith, president and CEO, EPIcenter. “Throughout the summer, we’re excited to connect these entrepreneurs into our collaborative ecosystem that will support their continued growth here in Memphis.”

The newly chosen accelerator teams are also participating in this year’s Start Q events, hosted by Start Co., EPIcenter, Memphis Bioworks, Emerge Memphis, and Innova, from May 17-20, during the Memphis in May International Festival World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest. Sponsors include American Airlines, IBM, LBMC, Louisiana Startup Prize, OPS-FUEL, Send Grid, ServiceMaster and Southern Sun Asset Management.

The Summer of Acceleration will culminate on Aug. 10 with Demo Day, the startups’ opportunity pitch their startup ideas to investors, share their insights with the greater entrepreneurial community and network with community leaders. Partners for the Summer of Acceleration include American Airlines, Archer Malmo, AutoZone, IBM, Baker Donelson, Mosiak, The Marston Group and many more.

About EPIcenter:

EPIcenter is the hub of the Greater Memphis entrepreneurship movement. With its network of partners, EPIcenter is the enabler of unified strategies to increase support to new and existing entrepreneurs for business growth. Serving as the broader voice of the partner network and a single point of accountability, EPIcenter measures and celebrates the impact of entrepreneurial support to create a just, inclusive, and growing economy that accrues to all Memphians. More information is at epimemphis.com.

About Start Co.:

Start Co. is a nationally recognized nonprofit 501(c)(3) venture development organization based in Memphis, Tennessee, that relentlessly builds founders and companies, promoting entrepreneurship for everyone with a focus on digital startups. Start Co. is a member of the Global Accelerator Network and aims to advance Memphis’ economic growth through entrepreneurship. The organization is supported by partners including American Airlines, Archer Malmo, Baker Donelson, The Marston Group, Mosaik Solutions and IBM. More information can be found at neverstop.co.

About Memphis Bioworks Foundation:

Memphis Bioworks is the Mid-South’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience and sustainability. A visionary community leader, Memphis Bioworks has a well-established record of sparking new levels of economic vitality by investing in entrepreneurs, building state-of-the-art labs and facilities, and training the next generation of workers. For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org.



Lauren Whisenant Waites
Archer Malmo for Start Co.

Jessica Taveau

Ralph Berry
Memphis Bioworks