There are a lot of spring/summer accelerator programs “everywhere else”, Tennessee has three significant programs that will be coming to a close in the coming weeks and culminating with a demo day at the end of their session. Chattanooga, Memphis and Nashville are exploding with startup and entrepreneurial growth and it shows in the graduating classes of Gig Tank (Chattanooga), Zero To 510 (Memphis) and Jumpstart Foundry in Nashville.
The next few Thursdays will be filled with great companies, great entrepreneurs, great angels and venture capitalists and great national coverage provided by nibletz.com, and to our ever growing list of some of the top members of the venture community that subscribe to us by email and follow us on Twitter. We’ve seen 17 startups that we’ve covered in the last year, pick up traction starting with a story written on nibletz.com and seen by the venture community “everywhere else”, which is what is why our mission, as the voice of startups everywhere else, is so important. We’ve received thank you cards, thank you emails and heck even some cash from these 17 startups and at last count they were collectively funded to over $20M.
That trend will hopefully continue over the next three weeks as we continue to case the national spotlight on one of the fastest growing startup ecosystems in the country, the great state of Tennessee.
The Gig Tank started back in May. This is a unique accelerator program because it’s really two programs in one. First there is an entrepreneur track. The entrepreneur’s track started May 14th. All of the teams selected for that track received a $15,000 seed investment, lodging and a host of services from GigTank sponsors. Their season ends with a demo day and a $100,000 cash prize up for grabs for the most disruptive business plan.
The second track for GigTank is a student track. The students started their track on June 11th. They just needed to come up with a great idea to utilize Chattanooga’s gigabit internet, the first gigabit internet in the country (sorry Google). The students are competing for a chance to win a $50,000 prize and the chance to pitch their idea in front of a solid group of angels and VC’s.
GigTank comes to a close with a demo day on August 9th.
Memphis has a great infrastructure set up for entrepreneurs and startups, with most of it being based at Emerge Memphis. Launch Your City, Launch Memphis and of course the Seed Hatchery accelerator play a key role in the Memphis tech community.
August 16th it will be all eyes on Memphis again as the Zero to 510 accelerator holds their demo day. Zero to 510 is a medical device accelerator program and a joint venture between BioWorks and SeedHatchery. It’s the nation’s first cohort-based medical device incubator. The program is funded by Innova Memphis an early stage investment firm.
The companies presenting at demo day on the 16th are:
BioNanovations- a startup using bio nanotechnology for rapid detection and monitoring of bacterial infection
Handminder- has developed a technology that will help rehabilitate those with loss of function in their hands and fingers from a stroke.
NanOphthalmics- This company uses nanotechnology to more effectively treat corneal abrasions which leads to faster healing with less pain.
Randall Surgical- These guys have created an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional patient positioners used in 20 million+ surgeries in the US every year.
Restore Medical- has found a way to drastically cut down the time it takes to sterilize instruments in the OR while cutting costs and insuring compliance under the upcoming radical changes in healthcare.
Urova Medical- They’ve come up with a new way to treat feminine stress urinary incontinence.
Jumpstart Foundry is in it’s third year and they keep kicking out hit after hit after hit. One of our favorite Tennessee startups, RentStuff (who recently moved to Chicago’s 1871) is a product of Jumpstart Foundry. Co-founded in 2010 by serial startup founder Marcus Whitney, the Jumpstart Foundry follows the traditional accelerator model that has been so successful in other regions.
According to their site they’ve seen a 62% success rate to date, which is actually VERY high and quite impressive. Jumpstart Foundry (not to be confused with the national Cleveland based Jumpstart Inc) has seen a good number of their graduates see post program capital. Wannado (2011), Daio (2011), RentStuff (2011), Bizen (2010), NextGxDx (2010), and Spitsecnd (2010) have all received additional growth capital.
This years class is equally as impressive and will share their ideas on Demo Day August 23rd. Here are the companies presenting at their demo day:
Contigo Financial, an online consumer lender offering a suite of responsible loan products through the workplace.
Jamplify (formerly OKDJ), a social media marketing platform which turns fans into active promoters of online content.
The Skillery, a marketplace for classes and workshops led by experts in the community.
Evermind, the first consumer-friendly senior monitoring system. If you can plug-in a surge protector and use a smartphone, Evermind is easy.
Wax, an app that allows extreme athletes to compete with one another by completing tricks and challenges.
PhotoRankr, the first online photography marketplace to leverage the power of social media.
OurVinyl, allows users to discover new music through video. The modern day MTV minus the re-runs.