New database connects Memphis startups with angel investors

Epicenter Memphis has been a major player in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem for some time, providing support and networking resources for businesses in any stage of development.

Now, they’re taking their work to the next level.

Investable Memphis is Epicenter’s new online database of tech startups. Potential investors can search for and connect with local companies who are looking for equity investment.

Equity investment is where investors (often called angel investors) purchase a portion of ownership in a developing company. These are usually larger investments in the hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars. This gives the company the beginning capital it needs to grow, which is often a crucial step in the evolution of a startup.

“This tool is intended to make it really easy for the investor to reach out directly to the startups and to really showcase the Memphis tech ecosystem,” said Epicenter’s president and CEO, Jessica Taveau.

Getting a tech startup listed on Investable Memphis is a matter of connecting with the team at Epicenter and working with them to figure out what sorts of investments the new company needs.

One startup currently working with Epicenter is a medical device company called SweetBio. They’ve developed a way to turn honey into wound care products.

“We moved here from San Francisco to start the company, and we didn't know many people,” said Kayla Rodriguez Graff, CEO and co-founder of SweetBio. “The work that Epicenter has been doing with angel investments, and really highlighting entrepreneurs, has directly driven funding for our company.”

Rodriguez Graff said she plans to use Investable Memphis as a credibility-enhancing tool as SweetBio moves into its next phase. She hopes it’ll help spotlight their products and provide would-be investors with an easily consumable way to learn about the company.

“Memphis is a special place. The work that's happening in this city is extraordinary,” she said.

“But it takes a community to know about it, to take a chance on these companies, and to really invest in our city’s entrepreneurs to bring these next-gen innovations to the market.”
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Read more articles by Chris Jones.

Chris Jones is an attorney, community and non-profit strategist, and freelance writer.  Originally from Starkville, Mississippi, Chris has lived in Memphis for over 25 years.  In his spare time, he loves traveling, learning about history and society, and playing the guitar.