Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Memphis, TN


Memphis, TN ranks number 4 in the country as one of 2016’s Best Cities for Women-Owned Businesses. It scored high in overall new business friendliness and its business climate for women.

Memphis, Tennessee’s largest city and the third largest in the southeastern United States, is located in the southwestern corner of the state. Known as the Barbecued Pork Capital of the World and considered the Home of the Blues and Birthplace of Rock and Roll, Memphis has developed a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is located on the junction of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers. Based on an April, 2015 ranking by WalletHub, a personal-finance social network, Memphis ranks number 7 in the country as a top city for startups. Memphis scores high as a result of the access to resources it provides. Additionally, the city ranks number 4 in the country as one of 2016’s Best Cities for Women-Owned Businesses. It scored high in overall new business friendliness and its business climate for women.
For further information see 2015’s Best Cities to Start a Business on WalletHub.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Memphis and its entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

  1. Business Networkers
    A network of business owners looking to build relationships enabling the growth of their businesses.
  2. Clicks & Coffee
    A meetup of parties interested in search engine marketing, social media, blogging, display advertising, search engine optimization and the world wide web.
  3. Founding Moms’ Exchange: Memphis
    A group of entrepreneurial moms which meet and network to educate, support and empower each other.
  4. Jobs Hatchery Entrepreneurs
    Facilitate connections between people desiring employment and entrepreneurs creating jobs.
  5. Jobs Hatchery Women
    A group of Memphis women who work to connect people with jobs and assist entrepreneurs in creating jobs.
  6. Memphis Entrepreneurs
    A meetup with the goal of connecting people who desire change, improving the local business environment.
  7. Memphis Individual Investors
    A group open to all individual investors and entrepreneurs in the Memphis metropolitan area. They focus their discussions on equity selections through fundamental analysis.
  8. Memphis Startup: Idea to IPO
    Describes themselves as “a community of entrepreneurs, technologists, engineers, venture capitalists, angel investors, educators, financial professionals, corporate executives, attorneys, academics, bloggers, writers, content creators, and social activists.” Their discussion focus is taking the startup from the concept stage to the IPO.
  9. Memphis Startup Nucleus
    A monthly meetup which presents speakers and topics essential to the formation of the startup by the entrepreneur.
  10. Memphis Women Entrepreneurs Club
    Made up of a group of women business owners that hold monthly luncheons to share business ideas and network.
  11. Memphis Young Entrepreneurs & Professionals Club Meetups
    A group of young business owners who share business ideas, network and support each other through their monthly luncheons and dinner meetings.
  12. National Extraordinary Professional Women – Memphis
    Its goal to reach out and coach women in business development and means for enhancing their businesses.
  13. Smart Business Success Network of Memphis
    Seeks entrepreneurs, business owners and others with a dream of running their own venture who are interested in expanding their networks, developing friendships and finding new customers through their monthly meetings.
  14. Startup Grind Memphis
    Promotes itself as “an event series and website designed to help educate, inspire, and connect local entrepreneurs.”

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

Startup Competitions:

Co-working Space:

  • Cowork Memphis
    A place where like-minded professionals can work in a collaborative community that is both part support system and part educational network.
  • EPIcenter
    Germantown provides a cost-effective co-working environment for entrepreneurs and their start-ups.
  • Emerge Memphis
    Provides small and large single suites, double suites, conference rooms, meeting rooms, and a rooftop deck, all hardwired with internet access and WiFi.
  • EntreMemphis
    An inclusive, resource center where entrepreneurs, freelancers, and artists of all walks of life can collaborate and thrive.
  • LiquidSpace
    Provides on-demand office rentals and meeting rooms for meetings with your team or with customers. Space is available by the hour, day or month.
  • Studio688
    Members receive perks unique to the creative community like “cool meeting spaces, equipment and event space.” They describe themselves as “Memphis’ first creative co-working space.”


  • Midsouth Makers
    Its vision “to be a community operated hackerspace to support member projects, and to provide a member accessible workshop.”


  • Bioworks Business Incubator
    Offers “more than 34,000 square feet of office space, wet labs and support equipment for biotech and clean-tech start-up companies.” Additionally it provides a conference and training center with breakout rooms.
  • Emerge Memphis
    Focuses on supporting startups by helping develop their teams, organizing effective, efficient business models and guiding the startup through the early stages of development.
  • Roots Memphis
    A farm incubator focused on growth and and distribution of ethical and clean food. It is dedicated to “the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.

Incubators vs. Accelerators: Which will best fit your needs?


  • University of Memphis Crews Center for Entrepreneurship
    Provides a startup accelerator program for student entrepreneurs attending the university.
  • Seed Hatchery
    A Memphis based accelerator focused on B2B software and hardware solutions.
  • Sky High
    An accelerator which focuses on tech startups providing a social impact.
  • SparkGap
    A logistics accelerator located in Memphis “where road, river and rail converge to form the epicenter of American logistics,” provides tech founders with early stage funding and mentoring.
  • Upstart
    “one of the nations first accelerators dedicated to women-led tech startups.
  • Zeroto510
    A medical device accelerator leverages regional strengths in biomedical research and medical device manufacturing providing a unique accelerator program experience.

College / University Entrepreneurial Programs:

Angel Groups / VCs:

  • Cimarron Capital Partners
    Designs builds and manages innovative fund investment programs for institutional investors, regional investors, family offices and custom accounts. Their appetite is broad beginning at the seed stage and extending through the mezzanine and lower middle market.
  • Innova Memphis’
    “Mission is to enable and create high-growth companies and jobs in the healthcare, technology and Agritech fields by providing seed capital and experienced hands-on mentorship and leadership.” They invest in early stage high growth companies with significant growth potential. It was created by the Memphis Bioworks Foundation “to help establish Memphis as a national center of excellence in entrepreneurship.”
  • MB Venture Partners
    “A Memphis, Tennessee venture capital firm that provides equity capital and strategic direction to life sciences companies. The Firm invests in medical device and biotechnology companies at all stages of development.“
  • Sage Business Advisors
    Investment fund focuses on early stage companies across a range of industries. Their geographic focus is the mid-south region. They target entrepreneurial opportunities with strong stories and management teams.
  • StartCo Angels
    An angel network of top business leaders dedicated to growing the Memphis area’s economic base. They focus on early stage companies interested funding and strategic guidance.
  • SSM Partners
    Investors which assist and support entrepreneurs building a lasting and sustainable business of great value.  Their aim is “to be the best partner you have ever had.”
  • Wolf River Angels
    Provides investment capital, strategic advice and mentoring to early stage technology companies. It seeks innovative startups which exhibit high growth potential.

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

  • Southern Alpha
    An online news property which shares the storylines of southern startups with the objective of providing the startup and technology communities news and information related to their respective ecosystems.
    Provides tech startup news, events and resources for entrepreneurs across the country.
    A web based new service with a focus on spotlighting and celebrating all things related to technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in East Tennessee.
  • Venture Tennessee Connections
    An online entrepreneurial and business news service with a focus on related activities in the state of Tennessee and surrounding areas.

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Memphis not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the southeast, USA?

Augusta, GeorgiaChattanooga, TennesseeGreensboro, North Carolina


Tony Lettich

Tony Lettich has previous Business Analysis, Business Valuation, M&A, and Venture Capital experience and currently serves as the Managing Director of The Angel Roundtable and a Partner in Sheehan, Lettich M&A Advisory. He is also a co-founder of FundingSage, which provides valuable information, tools and resources to entrepreneurs seeking to launch and build startups.