Brandery Draws 425 Investors In The Middle Of Cincy Startup Week

Brandery, Demo Day, Accelerator, Cincinnati, Startup Week

Ok it’s not officially Cincy startup week yet, but we’re looking to change that for next year. Our own Everywhere Else Cincinnati conference kicked off the week with two and a half days of 20 minute power talks, keynotes, and panels teaching young entrepreneurs and early stage companies anything and everything from branding to talking to investors.

The Brandery’s annual demo day, an opening of the new Cintrifuse, TED Cincinnati, and #Hack4Good rounded out more events and entrepreneurial experiences than some cities have for their actual startup week.

In planning our conference, we worked closely with The Brandery who actually housed our Cincinnati office as we geared up for the main event. Brandery co-founder Dave Knox kicked off the Everywhere Else conference. Brandery General Manager Mike Bott appeared on a panel about what accelerators are looking for.

Now in it’s fourth year, the Brandery, which some locals believed would never work, continues to improve upon the growing Cincinnati startup ecosystem. Year after year it seems the startups improve and the crowds get even bigger.

The main event for the Brandery startups kicked off Wednesday morning at 8am. Even Proctor & Gamble former CEO Bob McDonald was in attendance alongside some of the biggest investment firms in the country. Folks like Mercury Fund’s Blair Garrou, SoftBank Capital’s Joe Medved, Dundee Venture Capital’s Mark Hasebroock and others made a point to head into town a few days early to also speak to the crowd of hundreds at Everywhere Else.

Bott told that eight of the ten companies had already lined up follow on funding for after the completion of The Brandery program. Those startups were: Tapfit ($750,000), Chalky ($750,000), and Sqrl ($500,000). Co-Ed Supply has already done $25,000 in sales and raised $150,000 while Frameri, a new way to buy glasses, surpassed their $30,000 Indiegogo goal and raised $43,000.

The stand out from last year’s Brandery class, Flight Car, has already raised over $5 million dollars, graduated from the Y-Combinator program and expanded their peer-to-peer airport car rental services to multiple airports. They are preparing for a launch at LAX later this month.

Nibletz is working with The Brandery, CincyTech, the Cincinnati Regional Chamber, Cintrifuse and other organizations to make the first week of October officially “Cincy Startup Week.”

As a testament to the success of The Brandery, Modulus, a 2012 graduate of The Brandery won the Startup Champion honors at Everywhere Else Cincinnati.

Here are all of the Brandery 2013 companies:

Awesomatic: Tool allows a business’ customers to support each other.

Chalky: Connects advice-seekers with mentors who’ve been in their shoes.

Co-Ed Supply: Delivers box of college essentials on a monthly subscription, connecting brands with the college market.

Donde: Mobile locator platform helps marketers drive retail sales.

Dwllr: Allows buyers, sellers and real estate professionals to share information throughout the home-buying process.

Frameri: Provides interchangeable eyeglass frames with one pair of prescription lenses.

ShopStoree: Visual commerce platform allows retailers to create interactive online storefronts.

Sqrl: Tool makes gathering information from clients and groups of people painless. Current focus is on accounting software market.

Tapfit: Allows users to find, purchase a pass and exercise at studios, gyms and group fitness options that best fit their needs.

The Brandery’s next class will open registration in February. You can find out more about The Brandery here.

Check out our Brandery Coverage at 



5 Startups Get In Motion At NMotion Demo Day

Nmotion, Startup Acclerator, Demo Day, Nebraska Startup

There’s so much talk about startup accelerators. We report on a lot of accelerators, with an emphasis on the ones accelerating companies outside Silicon Valley. NMotion is one of those accelerators. I spent a bit of time talking with NMotion’s managing director, Brian Ardinger, throughout the course of the program. I also did a mentor session with the five companies in the program about a week before demo day.

Ardinger is one of those accelerator directors that knows the most valuable lesson already: Demo Day isn’t the end for the startups, it’s the beginning.

“When we invest in companies, we help them for life, not just for the summer,” it says on NMotion’s website. On the surface Ardinger is a tech-transfer guy. As the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at NuTech Ventures, Ardinger oversees the crossover from the University of Nebraska and the private sector. However, NMotion was by no means a “student program.”

Each NMotion team received a seed investment of $15,000 which is par for the course for a city Lincoln’s size. The teams also received over $100,000 in important business services and access to a mentor network, which Ardinger stresses doesn’t go away on demo day.

HipPocket, PaperTale, Cinnamon Social, SynserScan, and Alumni Labs worked around the clock as hard, if not harder, than startups at some of the most prestigious Valley accelerators. When the time came on Thursday afternoon, they were ready to show off their summer’s work in front of a crowd of nearly 200 (not too shabby for an inaugural cohort in Lincoln, Nebraska).

Cinnamon Social is a software for automated and intelligent social media content curation led by husband-and-wife founders Jason and Holly Petersen.

SynerScan is a software to digitize hospital operations offering better health care through data led by founder Brett Byman.

HipPocket is a software offering families better context and confidence for financial decision-making led by founder Mark Zmarzly.

Alumni Labs is a software that simplifies and manages the college selection and application process led by founders Martin Wolff and Steve Scharf.

PaperTale is a new software product founded by Dan Castagnoli designed to help manufacturers curb the $500 million dollar loss in paper coupons. reported that Castagnoli revealed in his pitch that people are using photo editing software to change coupons and dupe manufacturers and retail stores out of millions of dollars. In some cases these crooks change $5 coupons to $10 coupons.

While some accelerators immediately start taking applications for the next cohort the day after demo day, Ardinger is making sure that the teams that just graduated into the real business world adjust well. He’s also knee deep in Lincoln’s Startup Week going on all week long. NMotion’s demo day and then Startup Weekend were the official kick off events for Startup Week.

For more information on NMotion click here. Here a  re some of our interviews with NMotion teams in our Startups In The Fastlane feature.





It’s Demo Day In Indiana At Velocity

Velocity Indiana, Startup, Startup Accelerator, Demo Day

Southern Indiana’s startup accelerator, Velocity, is graduating their summer session today (August 29). The accelerator, a stone’s throw from Louisville, Kentucky, has managed to attract top startups not just from the region but as far away as California.

Each of the five teams in the Velocity accelerator received $20,000 in seed money in exchange for a small amount of equity. They also received free workspace and access to mentors from across Kentucky, Indiana, and the region.

These are the five teams launching from Velocity:


collabra-300x120Collabra- Collabra allows musicians and fans to create, collaborate, and share music in a new and innovative way. Combining a novel song arrangement platform with an easy-to-use recording suite, Collabra enables musicians around the world to connect and create music while engaging fans in the creative process for the first time ever. Due to its low-barrier-to-entry approach, for musicians and fans, as well as a robust feature set, Collabra has the potential to change the music creation process forever.

large-insights-300x120Large Insights- Large is laser-focused on generating insights from data to increase client revenues, and we do that by establishing digital and social business goals, tracking activity and measuring success.

change-my-school-300x120Change My School- Change My School is a platform for students, teachers, and parents to upload and watch videos. It is available to users of all ages and provides a video contest platform. The winning videos each month receive $1,000 for items such as supplies, projects, or technology. It also provides students and teachers opportunities to incorporate creativity, video technology and project based learning into their classrooms.

steel-fashion-300x120Steel Fashion- Steel Fashion provides a free styling software service that allows men to style clothes they have, want, or are looking to purchase. They can discover and purchase new brands easily by identifying brands they already like. Confidence and creativity are easily harnessed when visiting Steel Fashion.


greek-pull-300x120Greek Pull- Greek Pull enables a Fraternity or Sorority chapter to reach their target markets in an efficient way. Those target markets are potential new members, their alumni and the Greek Community. Because of this, GreekPull differs from other social media solutions because GreekPull is focused on bringing those target markets to chapter houses. The network is exclusive to Greek Life and helps chapters with efficient marketing. We bring Fraternity and Sorority target markets to Greek Chapters so they can be easily contacted, creating an efficient communication tool.



Ohio Accelerator FlashStarts Sets Demo Day September 23rd, The Big Day For Crowdfunding

Flashstarts, Startup Accelerator, Cleveland Accelerator, Demo Day, SEC regulations, General solicitation

Cleveland startup accelerator Flashstarts will show off their first cohort in an investor demo day set for September 23. This date was chosen for its significance to startups across the country. It’s the same day that the SEC’s new regulations allowing general solicitation go into effect. It will be the first time in 80 years that startups can publicly fundraise beyond geographic boundaries, paving the way for crowdfunding for equity.

“In most communities, raising startup money has been a process stuck in the 19th century, limited to fundraising from friends and a few local angels,” said FlashStarts CEO and Co-founder Charles Stack. “With these new SEC changes, entrepreneurs can now use all modern marketing techniques to connect with the nearly nine million accredited investors across the U.S.”

The regulations will have a significant impact on startups by removing the geographic barriers to capital that have traditionally made it more difficult for startups outside areas like Silicon Valley, Boston, or New York to grow and succeed.

On signing the JOBS Act last year that enabled these new SEC regulations, President Obama said, “[S]tartups and small businesses will now have access to a big, new pool of potential investors — namely, the American people.”

“As capital is allowed to flow to ideas and entrepreneurs—regardless of distance and location—the country will enjoy a true national rebirth of capitalism, along with job and wealth creation,” said Stack.

One of the Flashstarts accelerator companies, Crowdentials, is deeply impacted by this change in the regulations. Crowdentials will provide a compliance platform to make sure those that use crowdfunding are doing it legally and within the regulations set forth by the SEC.

Here are the other nine startups graduating from Flashstarts on September 23rd.

AProofed allows writers and editors to collaborate with each other in a marketplace environment. The online cloud-based platform allows editors to become self-employed while improving writers’ academic performances.

BOLD Guidance navigates students through college applications and allows counselors and parents to view their progress. The online platform and app makes the college application process easier with step-by-step guides and automated deadlines, tasks and reminders specific to each application.

The BranDR is committed to helping physicians create and maintain their personal brand identities online. Its mission is to revolutionize the way patients find, select and interact with their doctors, by allowing them to access personalized doctor profiles.

Curiosidy is a new online platform for sharing and promoting life’s meaningful experiences. Users can write about experiences that have shaped them and draw inspiration and insights from a passionate, global community.

LegalFunnel helps lawyers meet and engage with targeted clients through efficient lead generation and personalized online branding.

Ohio Independent Cinema strives to inspire an appreciation for independent films by making them more accessible for the general public. The company provides a new distribution option for independent filmmakers.

Smooth is a sophisticated, yet simple personal finance app currently in development. The program generates personalized recommendations that help users improve their standard of living and offers incentives for users to follow the recommendations.

Synthetic Intelligence sells Big Data cloud and consulting services. The company “makes Big Data go faster”., a product of Trailhead CFR, is a web application for managing regulatory documents of physician-sponsored clinical trials. The app is the only platform that instantly enables physicians to coordinate a clinical trial without additional procedures or risk.

FlashStarts’ 2013 Demo Day will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST on September 23, 2013. Guests can attend in-person at the NPR IdeaStream Westfield Theater in Cleveland, Ohio, or online via live Internet broadcast. In-person attendance is limited to 250 seats and virtual online attendance is limited to 2,500 viewers. To request a ticket or learn more, visit


Sisasa Is Bridging The Gap Between Young Adults And Community Banks

Sisasa, GigTank, startups, demo day

Sisasa co-founders Alejandro DInsmore and Deborah Tien (photo: NMI 2013)

Community banks are great. Often times community banks have more 1:1 resources to give to their customers. They can offer education, guidance and products that benefit local businesses, local residents and bolster the local economy.

But what happens when a college student or young adult leaves home for another city?

Well often times they turn to one of the mega banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo or Chase. There the college student is just another number and they often times have questions that they just can’t get answered by an automated phone system. This is a real problem for college students.

“Students often find themselves incurring fees they don’t understand and can never get a real person to talk with them about it so they pay it and move on” Sisasa co-founder Alejandro Dinsmore told us before GigTank’s demo day on Tuesday. “We hear horror stories from students and their parents on a regular basis”.

What they found though, is that many of these students resort to the mega banks because they have better mobile apps. Bank of America and Wells Fargo have real time banking on their mobile apps. If you deposit $10 into a Bank of America or Wells Fargo branch, you can leave the teller station, check the app and see that $10. Community Banks are often not as up to date, relying on systems implemented years ago trying to sway young people in this digital age.

That’s how Sisasa is solving this problem. By offering a better mobile banking app for community banks they can help the bank attract or retain this important customer. If a young person has a good experience with a community bank they are more likely to stay with that bank as they continue to grow. That community bank could finance their first car or that first house, but in an internet 2.0 (almost 3.0) age, and in the age of mobile, without that technology the community bank is dead in the water.

Sisasa, who’s team hails from Michigan, Boston and everywhere else, developed their current product at the GigTank in Chattanooga. Dinsmore tells us that they blew up their original idea after their first meeting with their lead mentor. After pivoting that mentor’s company is now one of their beta customers.

Sisasa private labels their mobile banking app for community bank, giving those local community banks features comparable and at times even better than their mega bank counterparts.

We got a chance to talk with Dinsmore just minutes before their GigTank pitch. Check out our interview below.

Checkout more GigTank Demo Day startup coverage here


Tennessee Prepares For Accelerator Week

Tennessee startups, Gigtank, Zeroto510,autoXLR8R, demo day, startups, accleratorsLast year August was Demo Day month in Tennessee. During the month of August (on consecutive Thursdays no less), Chattanooga’s GigTank, Memphis’ Zeroto510, and Nashville’s Jumpstart Foundry all held their demo days. The month of August was a true testament to the strong commitment to startups and entrepreneurship that exists across Tennessee.

We were fortunate enough to attend all 3 accelerator demo days and a variety of startup events that went along with those programs.

This year, Tennessee has condensed it all into one week, sans the Jumpstart Foundry demo day which is on August 22nd.

The week kicks off in Chattanooga, Tennessee today with some pre-events surrounding GigTank’s demo day on Tuesday. On Demo Day, the current class of startups who spent their summer in the GigTank will show off their work. The startup accelerator, now in it’s second year, gets it’s name from being the first accelerator on citywide gigabit ethernet.

The gigabit ethernet, and big entrepreneurial ideas, are why Bob Metcalfe, the creator of ethernet, is the keynote speaker for the GigTank’s big day.

Wednesday the festivities move about 150 miles northwest to tiny Spring Hill, TN. Spring Hill is home to a major GM plant and, this year, the Southern Middle Tennessee Entrepreneur Center’s autoXLR8R. autoXLR8R focused on technologies applicable to the automotive industry, and as per usual the companies will graduate with a demo day.

Finally we head to Memphis where ZeroTo510 will hold their second demo day on Thursday. ZeroTo510 is the first cohort-based medical device accelerator.

Stay tuned to Nibletz all week long for coverage of demo day week in Tennessee and then again August 22 for Jumpstart Foundry’s demo day.

Don’t forget The Startup Conference is also in Tennessee, in February!


Demo Days Are The Worst Source Of Deal Flow? Mark Suster Says Yes

YCombinator,Paul Graham,Mark Suster, Demo Day,startup,acceleratorSince starting our nibletz sneaker strapped startup road trip last year we’ve seen hundreds of startups pitch at countless demo days. Nick and I were finally relaxing with one of our advisors, Patrick Woods’ with a>m ventures, on the last night of SXSW and we had counted over 65 startups that we saw pitch through a variety of demo events at the annual festival.

We’ve also seen countless accelerator demo days and with it being May and most of the spring accelerators graduating this month, we’re on track to enjoy another dozen or so before we get to the thick of the summer. Speaking of summer, last August their were three accelerator demo days in Tennessee alone.

Startup community members and leaders are constantly debating “the rise of the accelerator” and where accelerators should focus their resources. Is the best accelerator model general tech and cohort based? Or vertical and rolling? Who knows, it will take several more iterations until each community finds the accelerator model that works best for them.

But what about demo day?

On Friday Business Insider ran this piece which references an indepth article about YCombinator and it’s historic demo day from the New York Times.  In it, author Nathaniel Rich, quotes an investor saying that YC’s demo day, often thought of as the super bowl of demo days, “used to be a can’t-miss event, but that’s not so anymore. It’s a different vibe. Some major investors are starting to skip it.”

Rich points out that one investor said that YC Demo Day used to be a feeding frenzy for deal flow and it’s just not anymore.

Of course YC’s demo day is all the way at one end of the spectrum. Y combinator is said to take the best of the best and with hits like DropBox and Airbnb, the newer teams know they can set their valuations and standards higher, pricing a lot of smaller VC firms out of the deal. This either leaves VC’s empty handed or startups empty handed.

“The only way for a company to be overvalued is if there’s someone willing to pay that price,” Graham told the NYT. “So what they’re saying is: Going through Y.C. causes companies to raise money on better terms than they would have otherwise. We wouldn’t have the barefacedness to make that claim ourselves!”

Graham acknowledges that YC does take some bad startups though, saying sometimes investors can’t pick out the good startups; “Well, it’s not because the good start-ups look bad,” Graham says. “It’s because the bad start-ups look good! Which means we’re doing our job.”

Business Insider recently shared some of Mark Suster’s, a VC with GRP Partners and the founder of LaunchPad LA, best and worst sources of deal flow from his personal blog.

Surprisingly, blogging was revealed to be the best source of deal flow available. “The sheer number of relationships I’ve built through being public, transparent and being willing to engage in comments and through social media has enabled me to get to know entrepreneurs even before they launch their next company,” Suster said on his blog.

Investment bankers were said to be bad sources of deal flow, but the worst? Demo Day.

“Getting excited about a company at a conference and investing is a sucker’s bet,” Suster writes. “Entrepreneurs raising at prices not normally supported by progress face risks downstream when they have to raise more capital. And that fund raising is part of the job of being an entrepreneur – not something that gets in the way of your doing your job.”

Startup accelerators everywhere else are having a hard enough time getting investors in the door for demo day as it is. One accelerator participant in the middle of the country told us “outside of the investors that had a stake already in the cohort, no investors came to our demo day last year.” That can be hard to swallow.

As to the blogging, we have a handful of angels and VC’s that email us from time to time to get the vibe on some startup we wrote about. We also get thank you cards in the mail from startups that have gone on to raise money after getting their first piece of press from nibletz. To that end, we live off of our crowdfunding so to help out the everywhere else cause, click here.


See Dave Tisch’s biggest pet peeve when VC’s are talking to women entrepreneurs.


Teen Startup Flight Car Takes On Airport Car Rental Industry PITCH VIDEO

FlightCar,Cincinnati Startup,Brandery,airport rental,startup pitch video,pitch video, Brandery Demo Day, Demo DaySo back in July when we heard the original idea behind FlightCar I thought this group of teenage ivy league dropouts was absolutely crazy. Their Cincinnati startup FlightCar is a crazy idea. Their simplest pitch, “let someone else rent your car while you’re traveling” seemed a little far fetched. Combine that with the fact that there’s maybe 10 years driving experience between the three of them and even less business traveling experience, and I was totally disconnected.

Sometime during Wednesday’s demo day for the Brandery though my opinion totally changed.

There are hundreds of thousands of rental cars available at just the top 30 airports in the United States. There’s also hundreds of thousands of cars that sit in long term parking lots at those same airports. FlightCar solves this problem.

Using the FlightCar platform somebody about to go on a trip can sign up to rent their car for the rate they want and the mileage they’ll allow. They indicate what time the car will be available and what time it will need to be back by. When they arrive at one of Flight Car’s satellite parking lots they are greeted by a friendly FlightCar team member who takes their keys and their car.  FlightCar then cleans the car and waits for the renter.

The renter checks the FlightCar website and can see what’s available by kind of car, time available, mileage allotment and price. Because this is a peer to peer sharing product there is much more variety in the cars available than your standard 5 model rental car lot. Did we mention this is also a lot cheaper.

FlightCar rentees keep 65% of the cost of the rental after taxes and fees, so rather than spending money on long term parking they’ll make money off the rental itself.

FlightCar is beta testing in Cincinnati and plans to bring San Jose and Oakland online in the next month.

As a very frequent business traveler my biggest concern was what if I rent my car out using FlightCar and when I get back from my trip the car is not back yet, or worse in an accident.

On the accident side, FlightCar has a million dollar insurance policy on each vehicle. They’ve secured this policy through the only insurance company currently insuring peer-to-peer car rental companies. Not only that but they have secured a deal with their insurance company that prohibits that company from insuring a competitor. That’s something investors will love.

On the pure timing side, the FlightCar guys said customer service is of the utmost importance to them. Their lot attendants will have the authority to give you another rental until your car comes back or get you a ride to wherever you need to go, and then bring your car to you.

See what this amazing trio of young entrepreneurs has cooked up in their pitch video below. They are currently raising $850,000 and have $200,000 committed. They should have no problem raising the entire round, and quickly.


Cincinnati Startup REPP’s Brandery Demo Day Pitch VIDEO

The Brandery, Cincinnati’s branding and marketing tech startup accelerator, held demo day on Wednesday at the Great American Ball Park. They showed off 11 new graduate startups to a packed house of nearly 400.

REPP was one of the startups we actually missed on our last trip to Cincinnati at the end of June. What we saw, was a team that knew how to dress in some awesome hot pink pants. After getting over their keen sense of fashion, REPP is actually a great new spin on a variety of old ideas rolled into one.

Have you ever met a girl that you tried to date, but a year to make love she wanted you to wait… oh wait that’s a song lyric.  Have you ever met a girl that you tried to date and after she stood you up you found out she “pre date stalked you”? Well that’s exactly what happen to REPP founder Michael Bergman, when he actually met his now wife. Luckily for Bergman he’s got a pretty popular name. In fact, Chris Bergman, the founder of Chore Monster (which is a previous graduate of The Brandery) isn’t even related to Michael.

So sure we internet stalk everyone now. The first thing I do when I get a new business card or meet someone at a conference I find intriguing is go right to good ole Google. The problem with that in the dating world is that there is a lot of stuff out there that may be better suitable after a few dates.

Now take a situation at the complete other end of the spectrum. It’s time to sell your iPhone 4s on Craigslist. Now this is a hot item and you may want to know a little bit more about the man who just pulled up to a panel van and appears to be packing a pistol in his sweatshirt.

In both of these cases you want more information about someone. If you were the someone in question, with REPP at, you can control that flow of information.

REPP aggregates your social graph and can even integrate a background check into a profile that you can give people access to. You can also control how much information is given out in that profile.

You may want the ladies to know a little more information than the guy you’re buying the stolen Xbox from. Nonetheless both the Craigslist seller and the nice young lady would be more comfortable with more information about you.

So REPP is a background profile platform. With it’s wide variety of customizations and it’s great variety of information sources, REPP stands apart from anything else in it’s space. REPP costs $9.99 per month but for that you get a whole lot more than any other similar service. Also, the person that wants to meet you or wants to do business with you doesn’t have to foot the bill. To make  that $9.99 an even better value proposition, REPP has a way to gift subscriptions of their service to other potential users.

Watch Bergman’s Demo Day pitch below. After you get over their hot pants, you’ll see why REPP won’t ruin your REPP.


Check out REPP here

Here’s more Brandery coverage

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New York Startup Jamplify Presents At Jumpstart Foundry Demo Day

What do you get when you take a bunch of good ole Goldman Sachs financial guys from New York and throw them into an accelerator in Nashville Tennessee? You get a social media, hybrid, promotional, crowdsourcing platform called Jamplify. Now at the first glance of the description I just gave them you may think we’re dealing with another Vooza, no that’s not the case at all.

Jamplify’s finished product, that’s actually available now (what a novel idea building an actual product at an accelerator), you get the most logical promotional vehicle for bands, musicians, and bloggers that’s available to date.

Jamplify crowdsources people for promoting the bands that they love. Rather than crowdsourcing for actual capital Jamplify is crowdsourcing for social capital and human capital, and then there’s the payoff.

Jamplify is like the kickstarter for fan based, crowd based musical promotion. As a fan of a band or a promotional ambassador you can agree to promote a band or musician. Based on your social graph and the amount of people that you actually touch with the campaigns short, trackable url you will become eligible for prizes from the band or artist you’re promoting.

The most interesting promotional “reward” or “perk” to date has been from a hip hop band where the artist actually recorded the outgoing voicemail message for that Jamplifier’s personal voice mail. Cool huh?

If you’re lost, you really shouldn’t be, but it would be great to check out the pitch video from JumpStart Foundry’s demo day in Nashville below:


Get Jamplifying today here

Here’s more Demo Day Coverage

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Memphis Startup: EcoSurg Pitches At Zero To 510 Demo Day

Every startup that has participated in an accelerator program wants to change the world. Some founders verbalize that they wantto change the world while others just think it. Well the six startups that participated in the inaugural class at Zero To 510, a cohort based medical device accelerator in Memphis Tennessee, are doing it.

Every startup that presented at Zero To 510’s demo day has developed to solve problems in the medical space. EcoSurg is one of those startups.

There is an environmental problem that stems from just about every surgical procedure, every day. Most surgeries use medical positioners which are foam devices that are designed to position patients in ways that are both safe, and the most convenient for doctors. These foam positioners keep legs propped up, arms propped up, patients on their side and other positions so that the surgeons have better access to the surgery site.

According to EcoSurg CEO Ray Randall, over 20 million surgical procedures per year use these foam positioners. This of course creates tons of non biodegradable waste. Specifically these foam positioners contain petroleum-based derivatives. Not only are these medical positioners harmful for the environment, but because of that, they cost more in disposal which is passed down to the customer/patient.

Randall’s company EcoSurg has developed a new line of patient positioners which are manufactured using alternative foam comprised of soybean-based composites.

With Obama Care coming into play in 2014, the amount of surgeries is going to increase significantly. EcoSurg’s medical positioners will help hospitals cut down on costs and help the environment in the process.

Check our Randall’s pitch video from Zero To 510 Demo Day below:


Find EcoSurg on the web here

See more of our Zero To 510 Demo Day Coverage Here

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Video Pitch: Asheville Startup Corpora Pitches At GigTank Demo Day

One of the startups in the entrepreneur track at the GigTank in Chattanooga is Corpora from Asheville. Corpora is a real time intelligenet agent that uses Twitter status updated and other public facing data to determine the health of individuals by geography, providing insights into the spread of illness and quantifying the impact of previously elusive factors on public health.

Andrew Abumoussa the CTO of Corpora was ready with his presentation on what seems to be an innovative new way to track health problems in mass. Now we’re not talking about an ecoli breakout. In his slides he showed off the value of aggregating this data from Twitter for things like allergy breakouts and other similar problems.

One of the judges asked Abumoussa if they were working on aggregating the data from other social networks telling Abmoussa he didn’t see people “Tweeting about that rash”. After a quick chuckle from the audience that raised a valuable point.

The team hails from Asheville North Carolina and is hoping to win the GigTank contest today and walk away with extra venture capital from one of the 500 investors in the room.

Check out his pitch here:


More Gig Tank Demo Day coverage here

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Chattanooga GigTank Mentors Log Over 600 Hours

One of the biggest things that’s struck me about the Gig Tank and Gig Tank’s demo day is how the entire city has come out to show their support. Last night we talked about how various businesses throughout downtown Chattanooga participated in the event by holding events.

We went to a reception at co.lab as well as CraftWorks headquarters. There were other events earlier in the day that we unfortunately missed.

This morning there was a bike ride organized, a tour of the Hunter Museum and a tour of the world famous aquarium here in Chattanooga. Chattanooga as a whole seems invested in the success of the entrepreneurs and students who’ve been hard at work the past three months in anticipation of the big day today.

Chattanooga is also invested in the gig itself. It’s exciting that 1 gb fiber is available everywhere in a 600 square mile radius. This morning we had the opportunity to have breakfast with Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger who admittedly isn’t a big “tech” guy but certainly understands the opportunities that come with the smart grid and the 1gb fiber.

The entire “gig” is part of his county. There are 340,000 folks in Hamilton County and of course the biggest part of that is the approx 170,000 people living in Chattanooga.

Coppinger is excited about where the “gig” goes for infrastructure, beyond running communications for power and water for residents and businesses. Coppinger is excited about what the gig will do for education in his county. Currently he has high schools with 500 students and on the other end of the spectrum, schools with 1500. Using remote teaching, relying on the back bone of the gig would mean that students county wide would have a consistent quality of education.

Mayor Coppinger, who served as Fire Chief before being elected Mayor, is also excited about what “The Gig” can do for public safety and first responders.

On the entrepreneurship side Mayor Coppinger is ecstatic about what’s happening with the Gig Tank along with the 60 companies being grown at a small business incubator on the north shore. That incubator has held 60 companies at a time and generally employs 300 per session.

Chattanooga’s support came out this morning when Four Bridges Capital and co.lab’s Charlie Brock pointed out this morning that the mentors for the GigTank entrepreneur’s track offered up a cumulative total of over 600 hours of mentorship during the three month session.

Mentor’s really got engaged with the entrepreneurs and the students as well and have provided more guidance than one would expect, which all lends itself to the buzz going on in Chattanooga surrounded by “the gig”


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Startups,It’s Demo Day Month In Tennessee: Chattanooga, Memphis And Nashville

Chattanooga Startups,Memphis startups,Nashville startups,Gigtank,Zeroto510,Jumpstart Foundry,Solidus,demo dayThere 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, 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 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.


Chattanooga Startups,Memphis startups,Nashville startups,Gigtank,Zeroto510,Jumpstart Foundry,Solidus,demo dayThe 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.

Click here for GigTank’s Website


Chattanooga Startups,Memphis startups,Nashville startups,Gigtank,Zeroto510,Jumpstart Foundry,Solidus,demo dayMemphis is bursting at the seams with entrepreneurial and startup activity. In the last few months alone we’ve covered their 48 hour launch event and Startup Weekend Memphis.

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.

Click here for ZeroTo510’s website



Chattanooga Startups,Memphis startups,Nashville startups,Gigtank,Zeroto510,Jumpstart Foundry,Solidus,demo dayJumpstart 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.

Click here for Jumpstart Foundry’s Website