6 Reasons to Keep Accelerators Everywhere Else


There’s an accelerator bubble.

Accelerators, except for Ycombinator/TechStars, are irrelevant.

We should get rid of the Demo Day.

If you’ve been in the startup space for more than a minute, you’ve probably heard someone say something like this. Founders and startup advocates have naturally critical minds; it’s why we can solve complex problems in innovative ways. But, that also means we spend a lot of time second guessing and rethinking every single thing we do.

I’ve had my own doubts about the accelerator model, and they mimic most of the concerns people bring up. There are so many (2000 around the world). What company can really be built in 3 months? It seems that the only real success comes from the big names, so why bother with smaller, local accelerators?

But, this week I was convinced that accelerators everywhere else can be just as beneficial to companies as the more publicized YCombinator and TechStars. Yesterday I attended the Investor Day for Jumpstart Foundry, in Nashville, TN and was duly impressed with what I saw. Of course, they had the bells and whistles–cool venue, great food, open bar. But more impressive were the companies that presented.

Every company had made significant strides in the 3 month program. Most could give detailed explanations of revenue. Quite a few already had traction and are well on the way to making real money already.

Vic Gatto, founder of Jumpstart Foundry and partner at Solidus Company, is well aware of the negative perception accelerators carry.

“We’re definitely a young industry going through definitional challenges,” he told me. He talked about meetings with other accelerators around the world. The leaders of these accelerators are talking about what defines success. Is it funding? Exits? Revenue? Level of mentor networks?

By most metrics, Jumpstart Foundry is finding success. 65% of its graduates are still in business, either bootstrapping or with funding. They have over 100 mentors, and that network grows each year. Gatto insists, though, that another real metric of success will be future exits, and most of the industry is still too young to really see that achieved yet.

One mentor told me that this year’s cohort may be the best she’s seen. “And they didn’t start off particularly special,” she said. “I think that really speaks to how the program itself is growing.”

And, as far as getting rid of Investor Day, Gatto won’t be doing that any time soon.

“That pressure is important,” he said. It’s the deciding factor sometimes when a new founder is tired and wants to call it a night. With Investor Day looming, it’s easier to focus and do the hard work of a young company.

Make sure to check out Jumpstart Foundry’s latest cohort because there are definitely some companies to watch. We’ll cover some of them here on Nibletz in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, here are a few reasons we shouldn’t give up on the accelerators everywhere else just yet:

  1. In the life of a young company, it can be easy to let an idea go when it gets hard. Surrounding yourself with mentors and good advice in an accelerator can help you push through those first stage challenges.
  2. The pressure of Investor Day can give you more traction than you thought possible in 3 months.
  3. Accelerators everywhere else understand companies everywhere else. We’ve talked before about how companies outside of Silicon Valley are innovating in industries besides the Internet and apps. Local accelerators inherently “get” that more easily than accelerators that are used to churning out consumer-facing apps.
  4. A good accelerator can be a rallying point for a whole ecosystem. Yesterday in Nashville, it was a packed house. Not just investors, but anyone interested in the startup scene showed up to support the cohort.
  5. Even if your first company doesn’t succeed, the 3 month MBA you get by doing the hands on work of an accelerator will be invaluable to the next companies you build.
  6. Accelerators may not be perfect, but what is?Anything that spurs innovation is good for the local community as well as for global issues that need creative problem solvers.

Startups In The Fastlane: Jumpstart Foundry Startup ZingFin


One startup is tackling personal investment by polling the best social media information to help anyone have a better grasp on investing. ZingFin is currently accelerating in Nashville, Tennessee at JumpStart Foundry, and we’ve got them in the Fastlane.

Accelerators are a big part of the startup ecosystem globally. Good accelerators aren’t always rosy. They pick the best of the best in their application phase, and then through mentorship and in-depth insight, they turn the idea upside down to get it to market.

ZingFin is one of the teams that will graduate from Jumpstart Foundry on August 22nd. The JSF demo day is often standing room only with over 400 in attendance, so pressure is on for all of the startups. For ZingFin though, the pressure may be greater.

They’ve put together a product that integrates social media into a dashboard that helps investors make more educated decisions for their personal investment portfolios. Hopefully the room full of investors will be chomping at the bit to try out this new product. Some of the accelerator’s investment backers, like Vic Gatto of the Solidus Company, have already been spreading Zingfin out to their social networks.

Zingfin, Jumpstart Foundry, Nashville Startup, Startups In The FastlaneSo what does ZingFin do exactly?

They stay on top of trending stocks. “Zingfin’s text analytics filter the more relevant conversations that impact stocks on social media channels such as Twitter® and Stockwits®. You’ll make sense of the aggregate market trends before anyone else sees them coming,” the company says on their website. They also tout the fact that Cornell researchers have found that Twitter mood predicts the stock market at an accuracy of 87.6% in predicting the up and down changes in closing values of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

They also use social media to help identify industry and opinion leaders and they also connect the dots with “indepth visualizations”.

To find out more we talked with Balaji Viswanathan, co-founder of ZingFin in our Startups In The Fastlane interview. Check out the interview below.

Where is your startup originally from? 

Boston, MA

Tell us about your current team?  

We are a team of 3 – Balaji, Manju, Anup. Balaji has a MS in Computer Science and worked for Microsoft Redmond as a developer for 4 years. Balaji is the CEO and manages the technology execution. Manju is an electronics engineer and she has a background in operations and database management. She is the COO and manages the operations & administration. Anup has an MBA and has expertise in user experience & product development.

What does your startup do?  

We help investors be in the know of market trends and pick the right stocks based on social sentiments.

What are your goals for the accelerator program?  

To fine-tune product and get the product-market fit.

What’s one thing you’ve learned in the accelerator? 

To perfect on that one thing that will gain us the initial advantage. We can always scale from that point.

What’s the hardest piece of advice you’ve had to stomach so far? 

Really making the product focus.

What is your goal for the day after demo day? 

To hunt for angels who can help us move to the next stage.

Why did you choose this accelerator?      

The mentoring is hands-on and Nashville is a city that is on rise.

If you relocated for the accelerator are you staying in your new city?     

We moved from Boston. We might temporarily move back to Boston and then will keep traveling back and forth. Depending on our funding we will decide on the final location.

 What’s one thing you learned about an accelerator that you didn’t know when you applied? 

The fact that Jumpstart has so many mentors who are so interested in getting us successful.

Where can people find out more?      

Here is our landing page: Zingfin.com, Our blog is at zingfin.quora.com.

What’s your twitter handle?  


Find out more about JumpStart Foundry here. 


Startups In The Fastlane: Jumpstart Foundry Startup Gun.io

gun.io, Fastlane startup, startup interview, accelerator, Jumpstart Foundry

Gun.io, like “gun yo, think hired guns,” Teja Yenamandra told us about the name of his startup. Gun.io is currently going through the Jumpstart Foundry accelerator in Nashville’s brand spankin new Entrepreneur Center.  They’re the latest startup we’re featuring in our new Startups In The Fastlane series.

Jumpstart Foundry is in the midst of its fourth class, which will graduate on August 22nd.

Gun.io is connecting clients with hackers. If a company is looking for a rockstar ninja developer, they will find him or her on gun.io. The team at gun.io realizes there are plenty of startups already in the space. Even venture backed startups that have expanded nationally have succumbed to failure, like the popular path.t0.

That doesn’t have the gun.io team worried one bit. In our interview below Yenamandra tells us “Other sites let you hire adequate software developers; we try to cater to the best. Software development is a subtle art, and the difference between a shitty developer and a great one is pretty significant. There are a few sites that are working on the same problem, and many of them are quite good. Others are not. It would be rude to mention any by name, but we think we’ve got the problem identified better than they do, and we think we’re able to keep building a solution both sides (hirers, hackers) want more.”

Check out the rest of our interview with Yenamandra below:

What is the name of your startup?

Gun.io (gun-yo). Think hired guns.

What accelerator are you in?

We’re a part of Jumpstart Foundry in Nashville, TN, one of the oldest accelerators in the country. It’s backed by Solidus Company, one of the best, most progressive VCs in the game right now. And we say that as entrepreneurs. In fact, we were pretty reluctant to accept money, even a nominal amount, since we were already making it. But Solidus is awesome. They get it. The South’s technology ecosystem owes them a tremendous amount. Shout out to Vic Gatto, Townes Duncan, and all of the LPs who made it possible.

Where is your startup originally from?

We’re a distributed team out of CA, TN, and PA. It’s cheap, there’s less distractions with management process, and much more freedom to produce. Plus, our community of made up of freelancers and clients who work often in a remote fashion, so it’s fitting that it’s exactly how we built our own company.We get it how we live. And we encourage others to do so as well. That said, it’s nice to mostly be in the same place for now. We’re not entirely what the future holds for us, however. You can build a massive technology company anywhere these days — and that’s the exciting part.

Tell us about your current team?

Hackers and hustlers, baby. Rich Jones is a technology beast, and was named by Intel as one of the “30 under 30 to watch.” JohnPaul’s worked in business development for an Asian master franchising firm and as a portfolio analyst for Merrill Lynch. Teja Yenamandra’s worked for a consulting firm as well as an early employee for a startup in Shanghai that sold for $65M in under two years. They all know each other from university, and from working together in Shanghai, China.

What does your startup do?

Gun.io helps clients hire hackers. Other sites let you hire adequate software developers, we try to cater to the best. Software development is a subtle art, and the difference between a shitty developer and a great one can produce is pretty significant. There are a few sites that are working on the same problem, and many of them are quite good. Others are not. It would be rude to mention any by name, but we think we’ve got the problem identified better than they do, and we think we’re able to keep building a solution both sides (hirers, hackers) want more.

What are your goals for the accelerator program?

Build more awesome stuff, sell said awesome stuff. The only two goals any startup should have.

What’s one thing you’ve learned in the accelerator?

We knew agile software development. We now practice agile business development.

What’s the hardest piece of advice you’ve had to stomach so far?


What is your goal for the day after demo day?

Build more awesome stuff, sell said awesome stuff.

Why did you choose this accelerator?

Vic Gatto, David Ledgerwood, Julia Polk and Shawn Glinter. They’re awesome, all are major players within the startup ecosystem here in Nashville, and were the four people who convinced us us to join Jumpstart Foundry.

What’s one thing you learned about an accelerator that you didn’t know when you applied?

Speed is the only advantage a startup has.

Where can people find out more?



Nashville’s Jumpstart Foundry Announces Summer 2013 Class

Jumpstart Foundry,Accelerator,Nashville startup,startupsWe told you today was going to be a big day for summer startup accelerator classes. Earlier today we reported on Memphis’ highly successful medical device accelerator Zeroto510 and their summer class. Before that we reported on Techstars Boulder class for summer 2013.

Now we turn to Nashville Tennessee and the Jumpstart Foundry. This startup accelerator offers an intense program in Music City USA, that will “graduate” during the summer. Last year there were three startup accelerator demo days in Tennessee in the month of August. Gigtank, Zeroto510 and Jumpstart Foundry all had cohorts conclude their program and pitch at demo/investor day, in a succession of Thursdays.

Jumpstart Foundry supports it’s cohort with over 125 mentors and an intense program. Also as an added bonus, midway through the program the cohort will move to Nashville’s new entrepreneur center, slated to open next month.

Check out this year’s cohort.

● eVisit ­ a secure and convenient mobile platform to facilitate communications between primary care providers and patients
● Chalky ­ an e­learning video platform where experts can earn money through remote coaching and teaching
● Gun.io ­ an exclusive Elance­like marketplace to connect with the best­of­the­best open stack developers
● InvisionHeart ­ a secure mobile platform for emergency responders to communicate critical medical statistics to doctors during emergencies
● LoadTag ­ a SaaS mobile platform for trucking and freight companies
● MyMedMatch ­ a service to match underutilized specialized rehab equipment to patients who need it
● NewsBreak Media Networks ­ video­based advertising, interaction and promotion platform for gas stations and convenience store networks
● Poliana ­ an online matching service for political­based social networking and advocacy
● Rocket Link Mobile ­ a platform for SMS­based text ads that pay users to sharing them
● Zingfin ­ a financial services SaaS platform that facilitates ETF analysis

Check out these two Nashville entrepreneurs talking about the “yes mentality”

Nashville’s MedSolutions Innovation Challenge Apps Close Next Week

Medsolutions,Jumpstart foundry,innovation challenge,Nashville startupMedSolutions is partnering with Nashville’s tech accelerator Jumpstart Foundry to offer one startup that has an “innovative idea to help consumers improve healthcare decisions”, the opportunity to be a full fledged member of the summer 2013 cohort.

They are taking applications from healthcare focused startups now through April 12th.

“When you combine MedSolutions’ leadership in medical cost management and Jumpstart Foundry’s program to quickly accelerate innovation, all housed in Nashville’s booming healthcare community, the opportunity for entrepreneurs who participate in the Innovation Challenge just doesn’t get much better,” said David Ledgerwood, COO of Jumpstart Foundry.

Through this program, MedSolutions will partner with selected entrepreneurs to develop and introduce new products and services that help consumers make better decisions around their utilization of the healthcare system. These innovations will allow patients to capture maximum savings and improve the overall quality of care they receive.

“Our company places a high value on entrepreneurship, and we’re always looking for new, problem- solving innovations, so this is a natural partnership for us,” said Gino Tenace, chief strategy officer for MedSolutions.

The startup selected through the Innovation Challenge will go through the same rigorous 14 week program that the other applicants selected for Jumpstart Foundry participate in.  They will also get the opportunity to present to over 400 investors at Jumpstart Foundry’s investor/demo day in August.

To get rolling on that application click here

More startup news from the midsouth can be found at siliconmidsouth.com

Nashville: Jumpstart Foundry Startup, Jamplify, Raises $600K

Jamplify,Nashville startup,New York Startup,Jumpstart Foundry,startup,accelerator,fundraisingOne of the highlights at the 2012 Jumpstart Foundry Demo Day in Nashville Tennessee last August, was how many startup teams actually had a product ready to go. Jamplify was one of those teams.

Jamplify crowdsources people for promoting the bands, brands and products  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.

What’s even cooler is you wouldn’t know it if you saw them pitch, but Jamplify was founded by two friends that met while they were coworkers in New York at Goldman Sachs. Andy Pickens and Moses Soyoola, left one of the most prestigious addresses on Wall Street and spent last summer iterating, developing, pivoting and reworking Jamplify to the product that it is today.

They’ve already started seeing great results. Business Insider reports that Jamplify was able to drive 190,000 views to a 15 year old pop stars YouTube video. What’s even more impressive is those 190,000 views were referred by 670 fans, meaning each fan drove about 280 views.

Their $600,000 round came from a number of unnamed Nashville and New York based investors and will allow the team to continue working on a product that’s been tried,proven and is developing traction.

Here’s their pitch video from the Jumpstart Foundry demo day:

We cover high growth technology in the South and Everywhere Else.

Nashville Accelerator Jumpstart Foundry Announces Early Bird Applications Now Open

Accelerator, Jumpstart Foundry, Nasvhille startup,startups, startup acceleratorHere at nibletz.com we continue to provide superior national coverage of the southeast. With that in mind we love covering Nashville’s startup scene and especially their local accelerator program Jumpstart Foundry.

Jumpstart Foundry is a three month cohort based startup accelerator program. Several alumni have received follow on funding. RentStuff, a Jumpstart Foundry graduate from two years ago was acquired back in November..

JSF’s 2012 program accelerated the growth of ten startups and built on the overall Jumpstart Foundry track record of success. Like other national accelerators, JSF rates its success in part on the number of graduate companies that are able to raise capital or boot-strap operations without additional capital. Over the first three years of the program, JSF has achieved a very strong 65% success rate. Thirteen JSF alumni have raised follow- on capital and are building operations. These results combined with a rigorous program refined over multiple years, a deep mentor pool and affiliation with the Global Accelerator Network position Jumpstart Foundry as one of the top accelerators in the United States.

“Each year both the number and quality of applicants has grown,” Marcus Whitney, chief technology officer for Moontoast and one of Jumpstart Foundry’s managing directors said in a statement. “Given the program’s established track record of success for our graduates, I’m excited to see the group this year.”

“Year after year we increase the strength of the Jumpstart Program expectations in terms of Mentors, guest speakers and participating company performance. The tradition continues this year as we open up the application process for 2013” Vic Gatto, Partner at Solidus Company and Managing Director at Jumpstart Foundry told nibletz.com.

Startups interested in applying can head over to jumpstartfoundry.com

Meet Marcus Whitney, and Several Jumpstart Foundry startups at the biggest startup conference in the country.

Nashville: Jumpstart Foundry’s Marcus Whitney Named CTO Of The Year By Nashville Technology Council

Marcus Whitney, Jumpstart Foundry, Nashville startups,accelerator,Moontoast, Boston startup,startup,startups,startup news

(photo: marcuswhitney.com)

Marcus Whitney is a renaissance man of sorts when it comes to entrepreneurism and startups in Nashville and Boston Massachusetts. Some of his credentials include being an advisor and curriculum lead at Nashville’s Jumpstart Foundry accelerator where he traditionally fires up the troops on day one. He is also an advisor to several Nashville area startups, co-founder of Southernalpha.com and an overall leader in Nashville’s startup community.

It’s actually for his day job though, as the CTO of social marketing, commerce and analytics startup Moontoast that has earned him the title of CTO Of The Year by the Nashville Technology Council.

Moontoast was founded in 2008 as a social knowledge base provider that eventually led to the social marketing and analytics suite that they employ today to companies big and small including some on the Fortune 500. Their stable of top-shelf clients include branding power house Proctor & Gamble, Ford, Kirkland’s, and Universal.  Even Nashville country powerhouse record label Big Machine records uses Moontoast, you may have heard of their superstar Taylor Swift.

Whitney has grown to become an expert in the world of social and email engagement. Prior to starting Moontoast in 2008 he spent the previous four years of his career as Director of Technology and Partner at Emma. Emma is an email marketing firm that uses creative, out of the box approaches, to again engage their over 10,000 customers.

Whitney’s energetic personality and real life experiences have led him to be engaging in person as well. In different discussions with Whitney we’ve talked about how he and his team at Jumpstart Foundry are able to pull the real entrepreneur and founder out of a startup. Some startups come into the three month accelerator program with a great idea and a horrible pitch. Whitney is able to pull the real message out which has actually led to follow on funding for several program startups.

Whitney’s latest startup is Southernalpha.com a regional tech blog focused on high growth potential startups and technology in the southeast. They’re centralizing out of Nashville at the moment with plans to rapidly expand across the south east in the same way that Silicon Prairie news covers the Silicon Prairie.

Whitney was honored at the annual Nasvhille Technology Council Awards on October 23.


Moontoast is here

Jumpstart Foundry is here

SouthernAlpha is here

Everywhere else is here

Nibletz Is At The DNC And We’re Using Nashville Startup: KiWi

The Obama Administration continued to pave the way for Startups all over the country with the creation of Startup America, the passing of the JOBSAct and many other initiatives that have been it in place to help entrepreneurs and startup founders across America.

Thats why it’s our honor to cover the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte North Carolina. We’ll be partnering with Startup America and the guys at StartpRockon.com to bring you guys everything there is about Startups at what’s sure to be one of the best DNC’s of our time.

We’ve got some great access to bring the best coverage for Startups across America.

We’ll be representing one of the best states “everywhere else” for Startups and entrepreneurs and that is Nibletz home state, the great state of Tennessee. Not only that but starting Tuesday we’ll be using one of the exciting new startups that just graduated from JumpStart Foundry’s 2012 class, KiWi,

We got off to a rough start with KiWi after their founder ad libbed at the end of his presentation. Since then KiWi and it’s co-founder Jayme Hoffman has come highly recommended by Michael Burcham, Vic Gatto and Marcus Whitney,

Hoffman and his team couldn’t catch a break after demo day as they’ve been working tirelessly since then to make sure we’ve got something great to use at the Democratic National Convention.

KiWi is like Instagram except instead of photos you are taking short videos. The UI is extreme

As for Demo Day, Hoffman had said that he would be looking for term sheets in Nashville for thirty days. It came off to me that he was giving Nashville an ultimatum, give us a term sheet in 30days or we’re leaving. That was far from the case. Hoffman was trying to convey that things have been moving so fast for the KiWi team that an opportunity for local investors to get in at the ground level may not exist in 30 days. Of course we may speed that process along this week.ly user friendly. Filter selection is topnotch and from capture to share, the experience is fast and fluid. It’s actually not nearly as clunky as SocialCam.

We’re looking forward to the next few days here in Charlotte representing our home team: LaunchMemphis,LaunchYourCity,Launch Tennessee and Startup Tennessee.


Startup Demo Day Month In Tennessee The Good, The Bad, The NSFW


August is just about over and “Demo Day Month” in the great state of Tennessee concluded last Thursday at JumpStart Foundry’s Demo Day in Nashville. It was a month that Vice President Gore should be proud of afterall nothing says innovation like inventing the internet.

Overall it was an impressive month for innovators in Tennessee. Tennessee has nine regional accelerators and groups like Launch Tennessee are paramount in keeping the statewide ecosystem flourishing and the accelerator leaders connected with each other.

“Demo Day Month” kicked off in Chattanooga Tennessee with the graduation of the GigTank. The GigTank was in its first year and actually included two simultaneous classes; entrepreneurs and students. The entrepreneurs group accelerated at Colab in downtown Chattanooga while the students accelerated at the Lamp Post Group’s offices. The classes came together on Thursday August 9th to show off their startups.

Out of all three demo days Chattanooga had the most pizzazz. They really did a great job of setting up a bunch of entrepreneurial networking events on Wednesday evening all over town. Thursday’s Demo Day event was one to be reckoned with, professional lighting, big signage, and a simulcast on the local PBS channel all helped set the stage for some great demos.

To top that off, unlike the other two demo days, Chattanooga’s GigTank featured a $100,000 cash prize for the top voted startup in the entrepreneur class (Banyan) and a $50,000 prize for the top student startup (Babel Sushi).

Chattanooga merged traditional southern hospitality with blazing fast internet. The blazing fast internet was the reason it was called “GigTank”. Chattanooga was the first city in the United States to offer 1 GB ethernet to the home and office within a 600 square mile area.

The bad: We found out late Wednesday night that the startups would actually pitch in front of the judges first thing Thursday morning and again on Thursday afternoon in front of the people. We went around in circles about it and I even spent some time with Colab Director Shelddon Grizzle, who had come up with the idea for the double pitching. Regardless of the reasoning I didn’t like it and once I knew it was happening it detracted from my view of the actual presentations.

The other downside to GigTank is that we saw a lot of slides, a lot of presentations and a lot of business plans. Unfortunately we didn’t see nearly enough working demo products. Also most of the startups said they would build scale organically and virally over the next year and make money in year two. This isn’t a practical path to scale in a market outside Silicon Valley or New York. I felt that go to market strategies needed improvement.

The NSFW: Check out this story about the first startup that presented at GigTank.

The following week we moved on to Memphis Tennessee and the Zeroto510 accelerator Demo Day. Zeroto510 is a cohort based accelerator based on medical devices. It’s a joint venture between Memphis Bioworks and Seed Hatchery.

The ZeroTo510 Demo Day was very academic in nature and top-notch professional. You could tell that all of the startups had worked extremely hard on their presentations. One of the biggest challenges that ZeroTo510 startups overcame was actually “dumbing” their presentations down so that the public and investors without medical backgrounds could understand. Luckily all of the startups were able to do that.

The startups that we really liked at ZeroTo510 Demo Day were Bionanovations and Restore Medical.

Restore Medical offers a new system for cleaning and sterilizing surgical instruments. Their system is vital as we head into Obama Care in 2014 because it helps reduce cost, but more importantly it’s more effective in the sterilization process which will drive down hospital born infection numbers. This couldn’t come at a better time. In 2014 hospitals will need to publicize and keep down their hospital born infection numbers in order to get reimbursement on the millions of extra patients that will be seeking hospital care.

One of the biggest moments at ZeroTo510’s Demo Day was when onstage Restore Medical co-founder Shawn Flynn revealed on stage that they already had a $3.75 million dollar purchase order pending their 510k approval from the FDA.

BioNanovations is the first pre-culture bacterial infection diagnosis platform. There were some shocking facts about hospitals in co-founder and CEO Charleson Bell’s presentation that echo why we like this startup so much and why it will also be crucial going into 2014.

There was no NSFW in the Zeroto510 Demo Day however the bad was definitely Urova Medical. This wet behind the ears team of entrepreneurs had great technology and did a fair job of presenting they just didn’t have the same vigor that the rest of the startups had. They immediately left Memphis to go back home and it appeared that the young student founders of Urova simply participated in the program to get $50,000 for “summer camp”. Just calling it like I see it.

Nashville’s Jumpstart Foundry has had some practice at this. They’re definitely the veteran accelerator out of the bunch and it shows. Co-Founder and Managing Director Marcus Whitney is a serial entrepreneur himself. In addition to overseeing the day-to-day at JumpStart Foundry he is also a co-founder and the CTO of startup MoonToast a social media/network management platform with a top shelf list of clients.

The theme about Whitney was echoed over and over again throughout Jumpstart’s Demo Day, and that is he’s a pull no punches take no crap kind of guy. In fact, together with Solidus Partner and Jumpstart Foundry co-founder Vic Gatto, they ran such a tight program that three startups called it quits before demo day.

The venue for the Jumpstart Foundry demo day was great, it was open, and they did a great job with lighting and ambience. The presentations showed that the startups had been working hard on refining their message for the public and potential investors. All of the presenters did a great job of talking more and relying on slides less. When slides went up on the screen they were very graphic and very easy to understand.

The entire class had great presentations. Whitney and Baker Donelson Emerging Technologies Lead Chris Sloan (also a mentor at JSF) both agreed that the most improved startup was PhotoRankr. Sloan and Whitney both commented that if any startup in this years JSF class showed what an accelerator does it was PhotoRankr.

PhotoRankr definitely topped our list of favorites at the JumpStart Foundry Demo Day. We also really liked The Skillery and their off-line workshops platform that empowers small business owners to teach classes on subjects they actually know and love.

We can’t report on JSF Demo Day without mentioning EverMind either. EverMind is a consumer monitoring system for the elderly. It works as easily as installing a “Clapper” you simply take the plug-in modules to your elderly loved ones home and hook them up to the coffee maker, television, lamp, toaster or other small electronics and it monitors their daily routine. When your loved one deviates from the routine you’re notified and you can check on them. The system gives them independence and piece of mind. It helps that it was also founded by a group of folks from Griffin Technologies, a Nashville company that makes some of the most widely known iPhone, iPad and Android accessories.

As for the NSFW, it wasn’t really NSFW it was more just ugly. The startup we liked the least at JSF was by a landslide KiWi, first off there are hundreds of other short form video services out there, can anyone say SocialCam. But the thing that drove us to even point this out was that at the end of the micromachine-man-esque presentation the founder of Kiwi actually said he would look for term sheets in Nashville for 30 days and then go somewhere else. Seemed like an F-U to the hard work that Whitney, Gatto and the entire crew at Jumpstart Foundry Demo Day put on.

It was also great that folks from Memphis like Biowork’s Allan Daisley and a>m ventures Patrick Woods were right there with us at all three demo days to support Chattanooga, Memphis and Nashville as parts of a whole “Tennessee”, the Nashville guys.. not so much.


More Demo Day Coverage Here

Nibletz is the voice of startups everywhere else

Nashville Startup: PhotoRankr Captures The Essence Of Jumpstart Foundry

Now in their third year the cohort based startup accelerator Jumpstart Foundry, in Nashville Tennessee has ironed out a lot of kinks. We got a chance to spend some time with Marcus Whitney a co-founder at Jumstart Foundry, who also serves as the accelerator’s Managing Director. Through each of the last three cohorts Whitney has spent the most day to day time with all of the classes.

Throughout the Jumpstart Foundry demo day the theme surrounding Whitney’s role was consistent. Whitney, while a great and likable guy, means business. He’s a serial entrepreneur himself who’s founded a handful of his own successful startups. That also means he knows the struggles first hand at what a founder and a founding team at a startup goes through. That’s why he’s one of the best possible people in Nashville to serve as Jumpstart Foundry’s Managing Director.

While a three month boot-camp style accelerator can be a fun and life enriching experience, Whitney is known for telling teams like it is and establishing the ground rules on day one. He’s also known for pushing entrepreneurs to their limit. As far as the program goes there’s no bs in the selection process. Whitney told us that they don’t take teams without a technologist. We’ve seen teams at accelerators all over the country who come with an idea guy, a business development guy and no developer or coder. Often these teams blow most of their seed money on outsourcing and barely have a product ready for demo day. One of the biggest things we noticed at Jumpstart Foundry’s demo day is that all seven teams had a product up and running. No wireframes, no mock ups, no business plans, every team had a working product you could go out on the internet and try right now.

We asked Whitney along with Baker Donelson’s Emerging Business Practice Chair, Chris Sloan, what team at the Jumpstart Foundry this year, was the most improved. They both unanimously and at the same exact time said PhotoRankr. In fact they both agreed that PhotoRankr captured the essence of what a cohort style accelerator program was all about.

Whitney talked about PhotoRankr’s day one pitch. Sloan, who is a pro-amateur photographer in his s

pare time recalled thatPhotoRankr’s pitch on day one included a slide show with no photos. Who does that? A photo platform slide show with no photos.

When Sloan introduced the PhotoRankr team on Thursday he spoke very proudly letting the audience know that not only was their pitch deck filled with photos, every photo in their slide show was procured from PhotoRankr.

So what is PhotoRankr, it’s an online community for photographers. It allows photographers to chat with one another, get advice, vote pictures up and down and the biggest part, it provides a platform to sell photos.  As PhotoRankr co-founder Tyler Sniff pointed out in the presentation, the stock photo resources on the internet right now are relatively weak, most have had the same images for years and the ones with great photos are way too costly.

Now, someone looking for a photo for their website, book, magazine, movie or any other use can peruse the pages of PhotoRankr and find what they need. The photographers themselves set the prices for the photos, along with the licensing terms which typically means they will be fairly priced.

Sloan recently joined PhotoRankr and wasn’t sure what to expect. He had tried most of the other photo sharing services out there, but he was excited when he started receiving emails notifying him that people had liked his photos.

As for the team itself, they work and operate like a family. That could possibly be attributed to the fact that three of the four members of the founding team are actually brothers. Tyler serves as the company’s Head of Business Development. Their CEO is Jacob Sniff who will be graduating from Princeton this year.  Their third brother Matthew Sniff serves as the company’s CEO. Noah Willard, a family friend, serves as the Creative Director.

Whitney said that one of the teams keys to success throughout the program was their reaction to criticism. Rather than being head strong and ego driven, the PhotoRankr team took every piece of criticism in stride, often asked questions about what their mentors were telling them, and then sought advice immediately after making changes.

From where we stand the biggest challenge for PhotoRankr is going to be exposing the features to the market place and what sets them apart from Flickr, Photo Bucket and that product formerly known as Picassa.

When you watch the pitch video below you’ll see what a great job PhotoRankr did during the Jumpstart Foundry program:


Check out Photorankr here

Check out Jumpstart Foundry Here

Nibletz is the voice of startups in the southeast and everywhere else 

Nashville Startup: OurVinyl’s Final Pitch From Jumpstart Foundry Demo Day VIDEO

Demo Day at Jumpstart Foundry was amazing. The class was great and miraculously every single team that presented had a working product. Of course that’s the goal behind every accelerator but we’ve been to quite a few accelerator demo days where that wasn’t the case.

So what is OurVinyl, no it’s not an online record shop for vinyl buffs. OurVinyl is actually a music video platform that encompasses the user and allows the user to curate their own channels, playlists and discovery new music. Where most music discovery startups focus on just the audio, OurVinyl is all about video.

OurVinyl has started with indie artists and other video content that you won’t find anywhere else on the web. The founders have backgrounds in video and it shows with the intuitive user experience created within OurVinyl.

The OurVinyl team has equated most of their best practices to Spotify rather than Pandora. Of course neither Spotify nor Pandora actually do video, they are both just audio only. OurVinyl is changing that by offering a streaming video platform accessible by Google TV, Apple TV, Xbox and Roku.

They have an easy to understand subscription model which guarantees you access to all of your favorite videos on the platform and customization features for your specific tastes. Many don’t realize that YouTube is one of the top places people go to source not just videos, or music videos but music itself. OurVinyl is capitalizing on that fact with their unique new platform.

In their pitch video from Jumpstart Foundry’s Demo Day, they explain exactly how the platform works and how they plan on monetizing it through advertising and subscription plans.

Another feature that’s rather new and baked into OurVinyl is not just the ability to like or not like songs and music videos themselves, but the advertising as well. After an ad unit plays you can tell OurVinyl whether you like ads like that or not. If you say “no” you won’t have to see the same ad again.

Check out their pitch video below:


Check  out OurVinyl here at ourvinyl.tv

Here’s more Demo Day coverage

Nibletz is the voice of startups in the southeast and “everywhere else”

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

Nibletz is the voice of startups in the southeast and everywhere else.

Nashville Startup: The Skillery Pitches At Jumpstart Foundry Demo Day VIDEO

The Skillery CEO Matt Dudley pitching at Jumpstart Foundry demo day (photo nibletz llc)

Jumpstart Foundry demo day continues with the team from The Skillery.  When their mentor introduced the team she talked about how CEO Matt Dudley started his entrepreneurial roots when he was just 7 years old and put up signs in his neighborhood advertising his services as a GhostBuster.

The Skillery in it’s simplest description is a platform to sell tickets to workshops. They are in the same space as Dabble and Skilshare but with a twist.  Dudley and his team are specifically targeting small business owners who want to teach classes.

For instance, the local woman who owns a shop selling hemp and weaved products could start a class on The Skillery. Here in Nashville they’ve had teachers come out of the community that did whiskey tastings and even classes on the value of cotton diapering as opposed to disposable diapers. In fact the woman with the disposable diaper business saw 25-30 people come to her workshops that were listed and promoted on TheSkillery, and she was able to convert students to customers.

Dudley is charismatic and explained his pitch in a way that everyone in the room understood exactly what he was talking about but with the passion that would come with the next Instagram and not a learning platform. As for a learning platform, Dudley is quick to point out that The Skillery is not about online classes, it’s one of those startups that bridging the online world back with the real world, something that will be vital to the next wave a startups, according to the New York Times.

Check out Dudley’s pitch below:

Check out The Skillery here

Here’s more demo day coverage

Nibletz is the voice of startups in the southeast and everywhere else