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Roadtrip! Memphis Demo Day startups beckon entrepreneurs, investors
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Halloran Centre, Aug. 16, 2018

A DOZEN startups (listed below) are expected to show their wares during an Aug. 16 Demo Day in Memphis, as part of the entrepreneurial community's "Summer of Acceleration," now in its third consecutive season.

Memphis allies Epicenter, StartCo and Memphis Bioworks Foundation are the summertime initiative's executing partners. Seed investments in selected startups are made by Innova Memphis, a for-profit subsidiary of Memphis Bioworks; and, by ServiceMaster Global Holdings (NYSE:SERV), based in Memphis.

Those anchoring partners are complemented by other contributors, among them Launch Tennessee, American Airlines, Archer Malmo, AutoZone, IBM, Baker Donelson, Mosaik, and The Marston Group.

Note: Though it will have no presenters during this summer's Demo Day, another partner in all this -- the AgLaunch program, which operates on a different annual cycle tied to growing seasons -- today announced that it will take applications through August 13 for the next cycle of AgLaunch365 Phase I, which emphasizes business model development and customer discovery for agritech and other agribusiness ventures. Our previous AgLaunch coverage here and here.

Next month's fast-paced two-hour Demo Day does not involve award of "pitch" prizes and is instead seen as enhancing opportunities for startups and potential investors to open dialogues that could lead to investments, partnerships or customer relationships.

Demo Day begins at 3 p.m. CT at the Halloran Centre, followed by hospitality at Catherine and Mary's Restaurant, beginning 5:30 p.m.

Six of this year's 12 participating startups are portfolio companies of the Launch Delta Home Services Accelerator, which, according to a press release, "supports tech-based startups working to disrupt or replace existing home service technologies. The companies may work in the areas of internet of things (IoT) and smart home data, customer service platforms, platforms for delivering service and the home services supply chain."

This year's Launch Delta companies are as follow (some details drawn from VNC research not yet verified - corrections and amplifications welcomed):

  • Pest Pulse - Wassim Magnin, cofounder - Ireland - A smart device that attaches to snap traps (primarily for rodents) and permanently monitors them for activity.
  • Please Assist Me - Stephanie Cummings - Nashville - A mobile platform that allows users to come home to groceries in the fridge, a tidy house, laundry completed, and more.
  • ServiceBot - Joseph Shiraz - Austin/Memphis - A next generation software tool to manage home service businesses and automate most back office and customer service functionality.
  • SecondKeys - Amber Hayes, Marterrious McClain - Memphis - A platform that helps homeowners, landlords, tenants and vendors find reliable maintenance workers.
  • LawnTap - Wilkinson Egwu, Garrett Franks - Atlanta - An app that automates the lawn care process, allowing lawns to take care of themselves through lawn sensors.
  • eCINCHal - Alyce Calkins - Memphis - A subscription box service that home maintenance supplies and instructions.

A second organization, the ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator​, which was founded and subsequently operated by Memphis Bioworks, ​specializes in commercializing medical devices that seek to reach their markets via the FDA's 510k regulatory pathway.

In May, the organizers said this year's ZeroTo510 presenters are (some details drawn from VNC research not yet verified - corrections and amplifications welcomed):

  • Spiritum - Nicholas Lester, Ingrid Helgestad, Noah Asher - Little Rock. Offers a fully integrated endotracheal tube securement device designed to prevent unplanned extubations, thereby often averting preventable medical expenses.

  • Dark Horse Technologies - Led by Jared Aelony, Fardad Azarmi PhD - Fargo - Developed at North Dakota State, this team looks to bring a total ankle replacement (TAR) to market. The Bison TAR design (patent pending) has very important features that enable substantial improvements in components shape, materials and fixation methods for higher quality and increased life span in comparison with current TARs. Fijled in May for a $100K raise.

  • Hera Health Solutions - Founder/CEO Idicula Mathew - Atlanta - From Georgia Tech, this team is focused on the development of a biodegradable contraceptive arm implant that will eliminate a painful and invasive removal procedure associated with current contraceptive implant technology.

  • Fairway Biomed - Jeff Chininish, Chet Hamill - St. Louis - Developed by a surgical oncologist at Washington University, its LIVO is a surgical tool to improve bleeding control problems in solid organs, specifically the liver. By better controlling bleeding in liver surgery with the LIVO, interoperative bleeding risks will be mitigated, and more patients will be eligible for liver resection." Their site says they're pursuing a Seed raise.

Two additional startups have been invited to present during Memphis' Demo Day from StartCo's SkyHigh education technology startup program and from Epicenter's logistics and supply chain accelerator; they are, respectively:

  • Doyenne360, through which Nashville-based Founder Kristian Kimbro Rickard (formerly with Microsoft in Seattle) is advancing STEMLEX.AI, an artificial-intelligence-powered social learning and STEM talent pipeline solution meant to induce underserved youth to pursue STEM careers. Rickard told Venture Nashville she has received a LaunchTN grant to support pursuit of SBIR funding. She previously participated in the PreFlight program of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, among other spadework.

  • Truckish, hosted by Epicenter and led by Memphis-based CEO Aayush Thakur and COO Deme Yuan, offers what the cofounders describe as a "comprehensive blockchain and AI-based SaaS platform, featuring two main components, Online Freight Brokerage for matching shippers with carriers; and, Fleet Management Solution for small to medium size trucking companies, which carry a majority of the freight trucked in the U.S.

In addition to the aforementioned cyclonic level of entrepreneurship activity, Epicenter reminds us that on May 8 the city also was host for the Rise of the Rest Tour, led by AOL co-founder and Venture Capitalist Steve Case.

On that day, eight local startups competed for a $100,000 investment from Case-led Revolution Partners, and a $100,000 match from Innova Memphis.

Soundways, a Start Co. accelerator graduate and participant in the 2016 Summer of Acceleration, won the ROTR competition. VNC

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Tags: AgLaunch, AOL, Dark Horse Technologies, Doyenne360, eCincHal, Epicenter, EPIMemphis, Fairway Biomed, Hera Health Solutions, Innova Memphis, LawnTap, Memphis Bioworks Foundation, PestPulse, Please Assist Me, Rise of the Rest, SecondKeys, ServiceBot, ServiceMaster, Spiritum, Startco, Steve Case, Truckish


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