Accelerator Spotlight: Start Co., in Memphis, TN

The hardest part of owning a startup is always the beginning: the process of turning your idea into a company with a working business model and appropriate funding. Luckily, there is a multitude of accelerator programs in the South available to entrepreneurs who want to launch their startups quickly.

Start Co. is a Memphis, Tennessee-based nonprofit organization that offers three different accelerator programs, each with its own area of focus.

The first of Start Co.’s accelerators, Seed Hatchery, focuses exclusively on startups with missions in the B2B software and hardware solutions sector. The 15-week program provides startups with a $25,000 seed fund and connections with industry experts, mentors and investment partners. Since 2011, Seed Hatchery has helped launch 26 emerging technology companies, including DivorceSecure and LendMed, and has seen graduates acquire more than $12.7 million in investments.

Start Co.’s next two accelerators, Upstart and Sky High, are what make the program a little more unique. Upstart, created specifically for women-led tech startups, provides all the same resources as Seed Hatchery, but features a curriculum that “reflects how women work, learn and lead.” Upstart works with partners like AWE and The Jump Fund to provide personal and professional development for women founders while they prepare their startups for launch.

Sky High is Start Co.’s accelerator for social impact tech startups. This accelerator is for nonprofits that already have—or are not currently seeking—funding. Sky High provides startups with services, mentors and connections to foundations, governments and high-net-worth individuals. Start Co. boasts that 75 percent of Sky High accelerator grads, including CodeCrew and The College Initiative, receive investment post-accelerator.

Start Co.’s deadline to apply is March 1. Before you click “Submit,” be sure to check out these tips on how to make your application stand out.