While some startup communities are in their earliest stages of development, Memphis’ ecosystem is going on six years old. One of the biggest drivers of that startup community is Eric Mathews, who’s Launch Your City organization has been at the center of Memphis’ entrepreneurial community for over six years.
Launch Your City is the organization behind Launch Memphis, Upstart Memphis, and Seed Hatchery, Memphis’ intense three month startup accelerator. Seed Hatchery is currently taking applications for it’s third class which will begin in February and graduate in May during Memphis’ legendary Barbecue Festival.
We got a chance to catch up with Mathews to discuss Seed Hatchery, what makes it different, and why Memphis. Check out the interview below:
So tell us what is Seed Hatchery?
Seed Hatchery is a mentorship-driven seed accelerator for innovative startup companies and their founders. We support emerging technology entrepreneurs with $15,000 in capital, strategic mentors, a marine-style bootcamp, and a host of other support to mould them and their ideas into strong startups. Most have heard of the TechStars, Brandery, DreamIt, etc.; we operate in the same way as they do.
How does it differ from other high growth tech accelerators across the country?
There are many ways but I’ll highlight two here:
1) We focus on building great founders first and foremost. Let’s face it: failure rates are high for startups. If you go through our accelerator program and we only help you build a business, then our impact has not been fully realized. We fully expect that our founders will be serial entrepreneurs. We focus on providing each founder the skills, coaching, and training needed to lead startups.
2) We only invest in six companies per program at a time. This gives our founders plenty of face time with our leadership team as well as other experts that we bring in. Between our alumni, mentors, experts, service providers, etc there are well over 150 people working with just 6 startup teams each cohort. That is a lot of support.
When you travel internationally there are a handful of American cities that everyone knows. Memphis is one of them. This city and its people transformed the way you shop for hotels, groceries, and car parts. It was the stage of change during the civil rights movement. It upended transportation through air freight. It revolutionized the music you listen to. Our applicants know of the gravity of Memphis historically, and it provides a unique backdrop for starting up the future businesses to change the world. This is a place that knows about getting things done against all odds. Once you set foot in the city and meet the people, you too will understand the grit and grind nature that draws people here and keeps them.
What kind of startups is Seed Hatchery looking for?
We are looking for great execution oriented startup teams that are focusing on high growth potential opportunities that leverage innovative software, hardware, and other technologies to solve real problems. We admit that the size of our investment and the nature of the program make it better for information technology based startups but we are open to other innovations. The key is a great team that is passionate about solving a real problem. Enterprise solutions are particularly attractive.
What can a startup expect after completing the program?
With our focus on building great founders, the startups will find that even if they fail they will be well equipped to start another venture without the need for an accelerator. The disciplines and tools we pass along to our founders are truly transformative.
Is your startup ready? Apply for SeedHatchery here
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