StartCo "Demo Day" in Memphis

It’s going to be an exciting week for startup businesses in Memphis with the StartCo “Demo Day” this Thursday, August 21st (Orpheum Theatre)This year there are 16 new and exciting companies in the graduating class from 4 different accelerators. 


Seed Hatchery – Information Technology Accelerator     

Troopto- Company that provides private crowdfunding for the workplace         

Phase – Schedule multi-player games without the hassle                      

Pickle – Crowdsource any opinion in less than 2 minutes                          

Well Done – Full featured tablet POS for independently-owned restaurants                 ORB - High fashion backpacks designed to protect                            

Upstart – Women-Led Tech Accelerator

Play-Tag – Smart Bluetooth dog tag and LED alert system                          

eDivv – A marketplace for trading excess beauty products                         

Cabsolutely – One cab dispatch API to rule them all                          

Barter Sugar – Bartering platform for small businesses to trade goods & services       

Sparkgap – Logistics Technology Accelerator  

Graph Story – Graph database-as-a-service

Extra Rail – Airbnb for the railroad industry 

Logistadvise – Platform that matches companies with supply-chain transportation     

Sky High – Social Innovation Accelerator  

FuelFilm – An accelerator for the film industry (non-profit)The College Initiative – Prepares students for the application & college experience (non-profit) ·       

Care2Manage – Simplifies organization & management for families caring for aged loved ones.

CoreFire Commandos – an interactive game & web-based portfolio to track the progress of students   

This is my second year as a mentor for Seed Hatchery/StartCo and I must say this year is the most fun I’ve had so far as a mentor. This year’s Start Co. “Summer of Acceleration” got off to a quick start with a “speed dating” session back in May when we (as mentors) got introduced  to all 16 companies and their founders and got a chance to hear their “elevator pitches.” All of which took place  in a few short minutes which was challenging! But admittedly, it also forced all of us (as mentors) to listen carefully, focus on understanding the business model quickly and determine the viability of the business and if we could be of assistance.   

The funny thing is  the company I liked the most coming out of the speed dating session (that I didn’t actually work with) was Play-Tag which sells the smart Bluetooth dog tag and LED alert system. Why did they catch my eye? Ok, I have to admit, I am a crazy dog person (my wife and I  have a 15 year black lab (Casey) and I'm keenly aware of the importance that pet owners place on their dog’s security as well as having a locator system in place in the event that they should they wander off. But also, as a businessman who understands cash flow and profitability, I know that revenues from  pet products, services etc. have grown dramatically through the years. In 2014, pet products now represent  a multi-BILLION industry with enormous opportunity to develop profitable niches. With such a unique product in such a large industry, Play-Tag sure looks like a winner to me.   

Casey stops by my office

Another company I did get a chance to spend some time recently with is Barter Sugar and its founder Layla Tabatabaie. Layla is a native New Yorker, very smart, loads of enthusiasm with a great concept. I really like her idea of small businesses bartering for different items and services and reducing some of the tedious, old fashioned methods we currently use for acquisition. Ironically enough, "bartering" as a means of exchanging goods and services has been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years and has simply brought into the technology age of the 21st century with Barter Sugar and its platform. I see lots of opportunity developing key niche markets for Barter Sugar in the future (college students, entrepreneurs etc.) and with an initial  low cost of overhead, it would not surprise me if Layla and her company make Barter Sugar into a major StartCo success story in the future.

Posted by Jay Myers at 4:39 PM