Startup First! Memphis Startups Pitch Federal Court Judge As Part Of Amazing Risk GEW Event

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Memphis startup founder Rich Billings pitches ScrewPulp to Federal Court Judge John Fowlkes

For the third year running the state of Tennessee has held the most officially sanctioned Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) events with 91. One of those events as part of Memphis’ GEW activities is the Amazing Risk scavenger hunt.

A call was put out a month ago for startups to apply to compete in the Amazing Risk challenge. The field was narrowed down to three startups; Screw Pulp, Guild Local and the Memphis Urban Farm School. These three startups are competing for $10,000 in cash and prizes (services).

The three startups began the day at Risk City Field Day in midtown Memphis. At 10:00am all three teams were given clues to what they had to do to earn up to 1100 points. At the end of the day the team with the most points will win the prize pot.

The participants had to go to local eatery South Of Beale and pitch one of the waitresses. They also had to pitch Marvin Stockwell the Marketing Director at one of Memphis’ big social entrepreneur examples, the Church Health Center.

Finally the last clue had the teams headed to the Memphis Civic Center downtown which is the collection of state, local and federal buildings. From there they needed to interrupt President Barack Obama appointed Federal Court Judge, John Fowlkes, and again give their pitch.

Judge Fowlkes is no stranger to the Memphis entrepreneur community. His oldest son Andre Fowlkes is the Co-President of Launch Your City, the startup and entrepreneurial epicenter for Memphis Tennessee. While Judge Fowlkes was in on the contest, no one else in the courthouse was, which made the experience a bit challenging at first.

Once each of the three startups arrived in the court room, jitters and nervousness went on extra high. It’s one thing to pitch a room from of entrepreneurs and startup leaders. It’s another to pitch a sitting Federal Court Judge, in open court.

The first startup to arrive in Judge Fowlkes’ courtroom was, publishing alternative startup, Screw Pulp. Screw Pulp is a web platform that allows independent publishers to publish their books. Their book is originally given out free to a certain amount of readers who agree to review the book. After the first hundred copies are given away and reviews are accumulated ScrewPulp then begins to sell the book online in a more traditional manner.

Check out the ScrewPulp Pitch here:

Wes the founder of Memphis Urban Farm School was next to pitch in the courtoom. Judge Fowlkes and his clerks had plenty of questions for Wes.

Just before the judge’s lunch break the team from Guild Local arrived. They did a decent job of describing their startup but Judge Fowlkes still had questions.

We’re pretty sure this is a first for any startup to have to go and pitch a judge, much less a Federal court judge. Later in the day we’ll find out which team won the most points in the Risk City, Amazing Risk Challenge.


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Chattanooga, America’s First Gig City, Welcomes 500 Startups For Will This Float At GEW

500 startups, Chattanooga, Will This Float, Paul Singh,CoLab,Global Entrepreneurship WeekOne of the biggest misconceptions in the startup and tech space is that Kansas City and Google were the first to offer 1GB Ethernet to businesses and residents. While we love Kansas City startups it’s actually Chattanooga Tennessee that was first with citywide 1gb Ethernet to homes and residences.

Chattanooga has been doing some very big things for entrepreneurs and startups lately. Back in August we brought you exclusive coverage of the GigTank Demo Day. Chattanooga has also been aggressively recruiting entrepreneurs and startups to the region with economic incentives.

Community leaders Sheldon Grizzle and Enoch Elwell haven’t slowed down either. Among other things, including running the Colab space, Grizzle and Elwell have recently been in Chicago, Nashville and Atlanta evangelizing about one of the most truly beautiful places in the world to launch a startup.

In fact it was at the VentureAtlanta event where Grizzle caught the eye of 500 Startups Co-Founder & Sith Apprentice Paul Singh.

500 Startups is the extremely active and diverse vc firm and accelerator in Mountain View. Although the secret 500 startup lair is physically located in Silicon Valley it’s anything but a valley accelerator. Here on nibletz alone we’ve profiled over a dozen 500 startups, none of them have been from the valley.

This week, as the world gears up for global entrepreneurship week so does Chattanooga. Their signature event pits 15 startups against each other this year, in the “will this float” startup competition. The competition, abbreviated WTF, has grown in both the number of participating startups and prize money/investment. The Times Free Press reports that last year’s winner, SupplyHog, is already making money.

This year the contestants include a new startup aiming to help convert streaming music listeners into active music purchasers. Another innovative idea vying for an investment of up to $250,000.

Another startup competing for the gold is looking to turn Farmville into somewhat of a reality. Entrepreneur Troy Cain plans on building an urban farm that is ultimately controlled by mobile devices.  Farmers would be able to buy warehouse space where they would be able to plant their own urban farms. Plant watering, and other needs would be monitored and executed via mobile phone commands.

“People want to have a garden and grow their own food, but they don’t have the space or time to maintain it,” Cain said to the Times Free Press. “We’re looking at making it less than the average people spend on food per month,”…”We think it’ll float.”

Entrepreneurs, other startups and the community can come and see the 15 teams pitch live on Thursday at 6pm on the fourth floor of the public library at 1001 Broad Street. They’ll be showing off a new space that’s dedicated to tech work and will even feature things like lights that dance on the walls in response to tweets.


Get your ticket for “Will This Float” here

Source: Times Free Press

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Memphis Prepares For Transformation To Risk City For Global Entrepreneurship Week

Next week thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs, startup founders, developers, eco-system partners and stake holders will participate in events across the globe as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. In fact, GEW officially kicks off later tonight as over 100 different cities get fired up over Startup Weekend.

Tennessee has a variety of activities going on across the state. One of Tennessee’s major metropolitan areas is transforming their city.

Memphis will turn itself into Risk City beginning Monday. Memphis has always been a city that turns adversity into opportunity and embraces risk as a path to progress. Just take a look at companies like FedEx, Holiday Inn and AutoZone. All three pioneers in their industry and when you look at them in the time and place they were founded, potential investors thought the entrepreneurs behind these Memphis based companies were nuts.

The same thing can be said about the blues and it’s off shoot, rock and roll music, which is often credited with starting in Memphis Tennessee.

In talking with a crazy conservative intern of sorts in Memphis it was mutually agreed upon that risk and aversion to risk were what separated the “startup founder entrepreneurs” and the “lets open a dry cleaner, entrepreneurs”. It’s that risk that is this years global entrepreneurship week theme in Memphis.

Risk City, Memphis, Global Entrepreneurship Week, GEW, Startup,Startups,entrepreneur,eventsDon’t get me wrong, Memphis has had it’s share of of big risks, not pan out in the end. That’s why there’s a gigantic pyramid in the middle of the city, and an entire island that’s all but a ghost town these days. However new risk takers, entrepreneurs and startup founders are going to be the ones to reclaim the city.

To that end, the folks at LaunchMemphis has put together some great programming for all of Memphis to see what the startup and entrepreneurial culture is like downtown.  Below are some of the activities going on in Memphis. The highlight of the week is “field day”, the Amazing Risk and a huge party all happening Friday night at Minglewood Hall in Memphis.

Also, with Risk City and Global Entrepreneurship Week kicking off, the applications for the 2013 class of Seed Hatchery are now open as well.

Pitch Perfect
Monday, November 12 from 2:00-5:00pm in the Launchpad
For those actively moving forward with their startups – like those involved with Office Hours, BOOSTcamp, 48 Hour Launch or the Launchpad – we will provide a panel of diverse experts to provide feedback on your latest pitch. Accompanying visuals like PowerPoint are encouraged.

Memphis Startup Meetup
Monday, November 12 at 6:00pm in the Launchpad
The Memphis Startup Meetup group offers a special GEW edition of their monthly meetup for anyone interested in and involved with a startup company- entrepreneurs, developers, geeks, tech enthusiasts, professionals.

Mentor Mixer
Tuesday, November 13 from 5:30-7:00pm at Alchemy
It takes a village to grow a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. We invite you to a casual cocktail event to learn more about the benefits of sharing your time, insights, experience and leadership with our founders and their startups.

High Octane Office Hours
Thursday, November 15 from 9:00am-3:00pm in the Launchpad
Memphis area business leaders join us in the Launchpad for an exclusive, high-powered set of one-to-one Office Hours for high growth potential startup companies. Like Pitch Perfect, these sessions are for those actively moving forward through our platform and process.

Friday, November 16 from 11:00am-1:00pm at Minglewood Hall
Similar to speed dating, LaunchMemphis introduces an event for those with fresh, bold ideas ready for some creative customer discovery. You get two minutes to pitch, then three minutes for feedback from business and community leaders. When the bell rings, you’re off to the next table!

Field Day
Friday, November 16 from 9:00am-4:00pm at Minglewood Hall
Co-working facilitates conversation, collaboration and impromptu synergies- we hope your startup or organization will bring a team to our inaugural GEW Field Day. Wifi will be available, and food trucks will be around for lunch!

Field Day Mixer and Amazing Risk Finals
Friday, November 16 from 4:00pm-6:00pm

Risk City Soiree
Friday, November 16 at 8:00pm at Minglewood Hall
$5 cover, cash at door or
Join us at Minglewood Hall to conclude Memphis’ biggest Global Entrepreneurship Week to date, with our biggest party to date! As if a full week of activities fueling entrepreneurship and growing our innovation ecosystem wasn’t reason enough to celebrate, entertainment includes:

Finally as part of Risk City and Global Entrepreneurship week in Memphis. Anyone who attends any of the events above and brings a friend can get a FREE ticket to “ The Startup Conference” just find an official Launch Memphis employee or volunteer and tell them you want your free ticket to “ The Startup Conference” and introduce them to your friend and you’ve got it.


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