Memphis startup headed to Nashville conference

Congrats to Cliff McKinney and his team at Kufikia, a Memphis startup that’s one of 50 companies selected to participate in the inaugural Southland conference next month in Nashville.

I saw McKinney last week at the Seed Hatchery Investor Day held at Malco Studio on the Square and he seems excited about spreading the word in Music City about his company, which is a division of his original startup Work For Pie that debuted during the original Seed Hatchery program two years ago.

I also talked to a number of entrepreneurs at Investor Day last week and from what I gathered, Memphis should have a significant presence at Southland. That’s great for our entrepreneurial ecosystem and I’m hopeful that entrepreneurs – and investors – from across the region will take a greater interest in what our creatives are doing here.

And not only will McKinney be representing Memphis, he’ll also have a chance of winning $10,000 for his company. We’ll be sending our best wishes with him.

Here’s more from the folks at LaunchTn, who are coordinating the conference:

LaunchTN, a public-private partnership that supports the creation and development of high-growth companies in Tennessee, will recognize the top 50 early-stage companies in the South during Southland, its new conference highlighting the best in technology and Southern culture in Nashville on June 12-13.

A committee of investment professionals and entrepreneurs from the South and Silicon Valley is helping select the Southland presenters. The final group of 50 companies selected will have a presence in Southland’s Startup Village. One company out of all the companies chosen to participate in Southland will be awarded $10,000 and named “Southland’s Most Innovative Startup” during the conference.

“We’re giving 50 of the most promising startups in the South the chance to network with top venture capitalists and angel investors from Silicon Valley, the East Coast and the South,” said Charlie Brock, CEO of LaunchTN.  “The Southland Conference is going to be a unique confluence of talent, ideas and funds that will benefit our entire region, not just the companies participating. We’re very excited about the potential of this conference and believe it will become the premier event highlighting the South’s most promising young companies and entrepreneurs each year.”

The first 20 firms represent a broad cross section of the south, with companies from eight southern states including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. These companies have developed new technology and products across the enterprise, consumer and healthcare markets.

The Southland conference will blend a generous helping of entrepreneurship and investment with unique offerings of Southern food, drink and music. It is positioned between the CMA Music Festival in Nashville and Bonnaroo in nearby Manchester, and many conference participants are expected to attend one or both of the music festivals.

LaunchTN is a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in the state of Tennessee with the ultimate goal of fostering job creation and economic growth. LaunchTN focuses on four key areas: entrepreneurship, commercialization, capital and outreach. LaunchTN is in part funded by a grant from the State of Tennessee. Please friend LaunchTN on Facebook (, Twitter (, YouTube ( and Flickr (

For more information on Southland, please visit

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