Memphis: 4 accelerators, 24 teams, 125+ mentors, and more than a few great partners and parties

_TN based GAN member Start Co founder Eric Matthews shares on their program in today’s post. Applications for all Start Co programs are open now. _

I’ve been investing in early stage startups for over 7 years and I have never been more excited about the entrepreneurial renaissance in Memphis than I am this year. From May thru August, Memphis will be home to some intense acceleration.

Start Co., the company I founded to grow idea stage entrepreneurs through to real estate based incubation and later stage investors, will be selecting 24 teams to join us simultaneously in Memphis for a “Summer of Acceleration.” Believing that our investments should reflect the community in which we live, we will be selecting 6 teams in each of the following sectors:

Women-led Technology: Inclusion is a key focus for Start Co where we believe that everyone can benefit from entrepreneurial principles.
Logistics Technology: Memphis is where road, river, rail, and runway merge, making it the global hub of logistics — it can’t be overstated.
Social Impact: Memphis is a city with a large amount of social need that can be addressed by disruptive social innovators.
Information Technology: Entrepreneurial ecosystems need a backbone of technology and technologists.

While the diversity and density of our investment will create new opportunities and serendipity, what has been even more amazing is the rallying of resources since we joined the Global Accelerator Network and decided to more than double our investment in startups.

The amount of exclusive resources and services from world-class service providers coupled with regional and national support and the increased engagement of our partners and sponsors are all fertilizing the ground for the seeds we will plant. SAP and their HANA Platform for Big Data, FedEx, American Airlines, Twilio, Harvard University’s Ash Center with their Social Innovation focus (for our Sky High program), and many, many more are stepping up. The mentors are rallying to the cause too, ranging from Fortune 500 execs to founders and key experts for high-growth startups.

Plus, we are full members of the Global Accelerator Network, which has definitely elevated our programs, resources, and support to a new plane.

While starting up impactful businesses is our goal, we would be remiss not to take advantage of some experiences that showcase the best of Memphis. Our “Summer of Acceleration” in Memphis kicks off in May with the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, A.K.A BBQ Fest, A.K.A. The Burning Man of BBQ. Our programs will culminate at the grandiose and historic Orpheum Theater in a massive demo day and closing party in the heart of downtown Memphis.

We are on the hunt for innovators to join us in Memphis. They’ve already come from Bermuda, NYC, LA, ATL, Nashville, Carolinas and other fine places. The gravity, authenticity, and accessibility of Memphis has kept them here — and certainly our rich entrepreneurial culture, both past and present, helps.

Learn more about Start Co. and our accelerator programs at or email us to learn more at