New Technology Accelerator Funding Announced by MemphisED

Ever since the Memphis Bioworks Foundation was formed in 2001, we have been working to grow the bioscience economy in Memphis. Great strides have been made over the last six years including the procurement of land and ongoing development of the UT-Baptist Research Park, the founding of the Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering charter school, development of higher education programs among Memphis colleges and universities, and the creation of InMotion Musculoskeletal Institute , to name a few.

This week, we announced the funding of INNOVA, Memphis’ own accelerator/seed fund that will drive the development of new technology-based companies in the region by bringing together technologies, diverse entrepreneurs and funding. The initial funding is being provided by MemphisED, which is allocating $11.5 million over five years to establish the seed fund for new companies. We will use the funds to invest in small technology or service-based technology companies.

I consider the formation of INNOVA as a call to action for entrepreneurs in Memphis. A business accelerator has always been in our plans because it is a natural fit with our goals of promoting entrepreneurship and building the bioscience infrastructure. This will be an opportunity for a company, university or individual with a new technology, patent, or idea to undergo the initial start-up process, build a viable business plan to establish a strong foundation, then work with area incubators such as EmergeMemphis or the FedEx Institute of Technology to continue its growth and continue to attract outside funding.

The most important aspect of INNOVA, however, is that it will allow local entrepreneurs and technology to remain in Memphis. This is important because the investment return ration on a solid technology-based company is one to 20. Therefore, a $10 million seed investment fund could generate $150 to $200 million in returned capital to our city. But if the start-up investment money isn’t here, companies will go elsewhere, taking the return on capital with them.

For more information about INNOVA, you can read our official press release.


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