ZeroTo510 building on first-year success, accepting applications for sophomore class

By James Dowd

Memphis Commercial Appeal

Posted February 24, 2013 at 6:54 p.m.

Last year when the inaugural ZeroTo510 accelerator program launched to great fanfare, organizers predicted that the program’s success would translate into greater attention for the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and higher profiles for medical device startups.

That’s exactly what happened, with one of last year’s ZeroTo510 participants — Restore Medical Solutions — receiving a full round of venture capital funding and four of the other startups receiving additional funding of $100,000 each. And because program requirements stipulate that companies must be located in Memphis  — or relocate here — to participate, the resulting infusion of creative talent in this city is significant.

That bodes well for the program’s sophomore season, said Allan Daisley, ZeroTo510 coordinator and director of entrepreneurship and sustainability for the Memphis Bioworks Foundation. Applications for this year’s six openings are now being accepted and deadline to apply is March 25.

For medical device and services startups, admission to the 12-week program is a near-guarantee of success for each company. That’s because the intensive program offers customized training to help startups refine business models, tweak product prototypes and prepare for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) premarket notification filing. Each company receives $50,000 in seed capital, with the chance to earn even more funding during an Investors Day forum held later this year.

Because of that, expect competition to be fierce for the six open slots. Last year the program received applications from around the world and Daisley said that early indicators show that even more startups will apply for the 2013 cohort that begins on May 11.

To learn more on the program and how to apply, visit

For those outside the medical devices and services arena, this week brings some great offerings for entrepreneurs and techpreneurs, first with the monthly Memphis Startup meet-up at 6 p.m. Tuesday at EmergeMemphis, 516 Tennessee.

The 60-minute forum includes a featured presentation, time for Q & A and is aimed at anyone involved in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, either as a startup founder or as a supporter. An interest in technology is a bonus, but total geekdom is not required. There’s no cost, but organizers would like to get an idea of how many to expect so if you’re interested then let them know by registering at

Also on Tuesday will be the monthly Memphis PHP meet-up, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at 2804 Bartlett Road, Suite 2. This group is designed for developers and the program will focus on Propel ORM, led by Jordan Kasper. Reserve your seat by visiting

On Thursday, the Sales and Marketing Society of the Mid-South will host “Optimizing Your Presence on LinkedIn” from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Panera Bread, 4530 Poplar in the Laurelwood Shopping Center. Featured presenter will be media coach and consultant Mike Esposito.

Prepaid admission for members is $10 and $15 for guests, or $20 at the door. To reserve your place, visit

And on Friday celebrate the first day of March — and the coming of spring — by checking out the In Synk Book Review meeting for busy professionals who want to maximize learning in minimum time frames. This month’s selection is “The War For Talent” by Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones and Beth Axelrod. If you haven’t read the book, don’t worry because program leader Michael Synk will hit the highlights and explain principles offered to attract and retain top workers.

The meeting will begin with registration at 11:45 a.m. in the board room at Triumph Bank, 5699 Poplar and the program runs from noon to 12:45 p.m. Light lunch will be served. Admission is $20 and tickets may be purchased at

Later that day, do your part to support a collaborative community of artists, entrepreneurs, techies and others at the Mid-South Makers gathering at 7 p.m. at Republic Coffee, 2924 Walnut Grove. The only cost is your time and whatever you opt to order from the menu.

For more info, visit

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