MDN: Busy Season for Start Co. Ramps Up
The Start Co. organization is continuing its busy start to 2017 by playing host to a group of military entrepreneurs later this month, as part of a tour designed to introduce veterans to entrepreneurship resources.
The veterans will be stopping at Start Co.’s Downtown office at 88 Union Ave. on March 25 for, among other things, a workshop that covers how to create a one-page business model and the how-to’s of customer development and messaging.
Meanwhile, Start Co.’s 2017 program kicks off on May 1. As part of that accelerator programming, participants get access to mentors and share in weekly training sessions and business development, among other benefits.
Startup teams usually come from across the U.S. and beyond to participate. Some alumni teams are also invited to travel to San Francisco each year to meet with potential investors, mentors and other founders.
To date, according to Start Co., more than 55 startups have graduated from the organization and more than 75 percent receive follow-on funding to grow their businesses.
Speaking of follow-on funding, several Start Co. accelerator alumni teams recently hit major business milestones that include funding deals as well as hitting major revenue targets and securing prominent partnerships. That, Start Co. CEO Eric Mathews said, is the kind of thing the organization likes to see – not just a building up of the teams during the programming, but giving them enough support afterward so they can continue to thrive.
One of those companies is SoundWays, a technology platform created by Grammy board of governors member Gebre Waddell, that develops plug-ins and other software solutions in the audio engineering space. The team has raised $259,000 in seed funding after its Start Co. accelerator participation, filed a provisional patent and joined forces with audio giant Avid Technology.
It also did so for the team behind ProxBox, a mobile app that uses proximity sensors to guide users through venues and experiences – like potential homebuyers through an open house or museum guests through a new exhibit. The team raised more than $200,000 in seed funding, in addition to reaching a variety of endorsement, strategic alliance and partnership arrangements.
“Accelerator alumni teams continue to work with Start Co., and many choose to stay in Memphis – working in our offices and living in entrepreneur housing in The Exchange Building – to grow their business,” Mathews told The Daily News. “This is one of the many ways we support them from product launch, through product success and to business success. Continuous post-acceleration support after Demo Day is one of the value-added reasons why startups choose our program.”
Other recent funding and partnership announcements include the team behind Homey, a mobile app that helps users organize household chores, securing $175,000 in seed funding. A new version of the app that includes a premier tier offering will launch later this year.
FitNexx is an interactive virtual reality platform that inspires children to exercise through using simulated environments and fitness games. It has secured research partnerships with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital; a strategic partnership with local Memphis charter schools and insurance companies; and has pending research grants from various insurance companies.