Let’s make one thing clear. I am a Mississippi girl, born and bred. (Back home, we call it Miss’ippi, y’all.)
Still, I’ve lived in Tennessee for almost 10 years now, and I have to say, I’m pretty proud of my adopted home state. We have amazing organizations like Launch TN and accelerators in each major city working on growing the entrepreneurial ecosystem here.
In the last week, startups and startup ecosystems in Tennessee made big strides toward putting our state on the map.
The Nashville company traveled to the Valley earlier this fall to join 500 Startups Batch 007. Late last week, they were named 3rd in the class by Mattermark. The analytics company monitors growth across a variety of web metrics, and their data shows Populr.me is building some momentum going into Demo Day.
The startup provides easy one-pagers for business and sales. The templates are fully customizable with your brand, and they’re easy enough for anyone to use, even if you aren’t a developer or designer. They’ve had a big year, including the hiring of music industry veteran Heather McBee.
Then, Chattanooga-based Quickcue announced their acquisition by OpenTable for $11.5 million. Quickcue provided restaurants an iPad app to manage wait lists. It was founded at a Chattanooga 48 Hour Launch event in 2011.
The Quickcue team will stay in Chattanooga, and its current customers will continue to be serviced. The acquisition marks the first exit for a Chattanooga tech company, a mileston any ecosystem can be proud of.
Finally, Memphis venture development organization Start Co announced its acceptance into the Global Accelerator Network. Start Co offers several resources for Memphis entrepreneurs, such as free coworking space and weekly classes with local mentors.
The organization also runs 3 accelerators: Seed Hatchery, Upstart, and the new logistics program Sparkgap. The application period is now open to all three programs, which will begin in May.
Because startup ecosystems aren’t as dense in some states as in the Valley, it’s all to easy to overlook the real momentum that different regions are seeing. Tennessee has even more going on, but these 3 events especially show traction in the Volunteer State. Congrats to all of the companies, and in the words of Start Co CEO Eric Mathews, “Never stop starting.”
Oh, by the way, you know what else is happening in Tennessee in 2014, right? Stay tuned for announcements on the version 2.0 of the Everywhere Else Conference!