When is an accelerator not just an accelerator? When it’s Start Co. The magic is the “three in one” approach that brings a large, international, and diverse group of founders to Memphis to launch new ventures. Offering funding, mentorship, intense programming, capital networks, and much more, Start Co. helps startup teams get big result says Eric Mathews, founder and CEO. “The core of Start Co. is our accelerators, each of which comes with the three ‘M’s’ as an investment: Money, Mentorship and a Marine-style boot camp,” Mathews says.
Last year Steve Case, founder of AOL and Revolution, stopped in Nashville for the “Rise of the Rest” tour dedicated to highlighting entrepreneurship across the U.S. Many great things came from that day — investments, connections and the chance for me to join the Rise of the Rest team. Since then, the tour has taken me from Minneapolis to New Orleans, with 12 cities in between. Here are my top five takeaways from the tour and some thoughts on how they might apply to Nashville.
The Blackstone Group
Earlier this month, Robert McMullan, a Senior Managing Director in Blackstone’s Investor Relations and Business Development Group, and Tony Tolentino, Vice President of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to participate in Launch Tennessee’s 36|86 Conference. The conference, hosted by Blackstone Innovation Grant recipient Launch Tennessee, brings together emerging startups, established business leaders, and strategic investors for a celebration of entrepreneurship and southern culture. This year, it featured 34 southern startups and attracted a national audience.
The Charlotte Observer
Charlotte leaders wrapped up a three-day fact-finding trip to Nashville impressed with that city’s efforts to boost entrepreneurship. An estimated 130 business and political leaders participated in the visit organized by the Charlotte Chamber, which goes on a field trip to another city every year to glean economic development insights. The trip focused on a wide variety of topics, from Nashville’s health care industry to a Tennessee program that offers two years tuition-free at community or technical colleges in that state.
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Enoch Elwell’s entrepreneurial streak started in elementary school with homemade Popsicle sales. As the story goes, he and his brother did such a bang-up job of making ice pops from juice, using paper cups and sticks to hold the treats’ form, that they put the ice-cream truck out of business. Considering that cultivating community and counting on it to keep startups strong is dear to Elwell’s heart, it’s ironic that he put his competitor out of business. His many Chattanooga-area pursuits have counted on community, Co.Starters and The Treehouse Project, among them.
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