JumpStart Inc Announces Its Next Partnership, Heads to the Mid-South

Jumpstart Inc, Memphis startups, startco, partnershipsEECincyBannerJumpStart Inc. has an impressive record. Founded in 2004, they have grown an ecosystem in northeastern Ohio basically from scratch. The numbers look something like this:

  • $29 million in funding to pre-seed stage companies
  • 1000s of hours of human capital to more than 400 companies
  • 3,000 new jobs

In 2010 JumpStart received funding from outside sources to take the lessons learned in Ohio to other parts of the country. Since then they have partnered with 15 other regions to grow local startup ecosystems and create jobs. JumpStart’s approach involves working with local leaders to identify a region’s strengths and build from there.

They have a presence in regions like upstate New York, Baton Rouge, Detroit, and central Georgia.

And, now they’re coming to Memphis.

“After two years of discussions, we’re excited to kick off this collaboration with JumpStart,” co-president of Start Co Andre Fowlkes said in a press release. “Working with start co logoJumpStart further supports our mission of relentlessly building companies and founders for the advancement of Memphis’ entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

We write a lot about Memphis here at Nibletz. Part of that is because we’re based here, but it’s also because we believe in the possibilities in this city. Currently the city has a 9.5% unemployment rate, the highest of all metro areas of more than 1 million people. That number is pretty bleak, but entrepreneurs like ones that Start Co helps launch are a bright spot in the city.

Memphis also has a history of racial tension, which probably comes as no surprise. Yet the Fowlkes and co-president Eric Mathews know that to really pull Memphis employment up, everyone needs to engage. With their history in Cleveland, the folks at JumpStart have experience in reaching out to diverse groups of people and encouraging entrepreneurialism.

“2/3 to 3/4 of our talent isn’t even in the game,” said Mike Mozenter, President of JumpStart’s regional consulting arm, at a press luncheon yesterday. “How can that be good for any of us?”

So, how do JumpStart and Start Co plan to grow jobs in Memphis?

Like any good startup, they are still in the customer discovery phase of the project. Over the next few months, they will be talking to local leaders, universities, and entrepreneurs to begin to figure out what Memphis needs. At the end of the discovery phase, they hope to have a 5-year plan that will accelerate Memphis’ growth as a leading startup ecosystem.

The Accelerate Memphis Project hopes to secure at least $50 million in investment capital and another $15 million for technical assistance, support, and pre-seed investment money in the next 5 years.

Memphis and JumpStart are a natural partnership, and both expect great things for Memphis in the coming years.

Mozenter said in a statement: “We chose to work with Start Co because of their track record in supporting high growth technology startups in the Memphis market. Our organizations have complementary missions, and I have been impressed with the resources and support that Start Co offers startups.”

Check out the JumpStart Inc and Start Co websites to learn more about those organizations.


Nashville Startup: PhotoRankr Prepares For JumpStart Foundry Demo Day INTERVIEW

It’s Demo Day month in Tennessee. Last week was Demo Day at the Gig Tank, Chattanooga Tennessee’s startup accelerator themed around the city’s one gigabit fiber optic network.

This week is Zero to 510’s Demo Day in Memphis Tennessee. Zero To 510 is the first cohort based medical device startup accelerator in the country. Their teams are preparing for this week’s big event with a series of rehearsals in Memphis this week. This makes the third big startup event in just as many months in the river city. 48 hour launch kicked off the summer, then there was Startup Weekend and Demo Day this Thursday.

200 miles east of Memphis the seven remaining teams in JumpStart Foundry are preparing for their Demo Day next week. Solidus Partner Vic Gatto told us last week that there were 10 teams originally but three teams couldn’t keep up with the rigorous training, working and perfecting their startup and dropped out of the program.

PhotoRankr is one of the seven startups preparing to present next week. They bill themselves as a community and a marketplace for passionate photographers. Of course right off the bat we noticed that PhotoRankr has an actual up and working product. The website for PhotoRankr is polished and aesthetically appealing to anyone, especially those photographers with a nose for design.

Within PhotoRankr members can get genuine feedback from fellow photographers. They can also find link minded photographers that they would want to learn from. They can find photographers based on portfolio, location or skill level which means the user can have role model photographers and peers to exchange experiences with.

PhotoRankr also offers a marketplace for their users own work. PhotoRankr members can sell their original work for whatever price they would like. It gives a much more creative and artistic source versus traditional stock photography sites.

In reading all of the profiles for next weeks startups it’s a tough call. We got a chance to talk to the PhotoRankr team in the interview below. Check out the interview and then after that hit the link and check out PhotoRankr yourself.

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