Gebre Waddell, co-founder and CEO of Soundways, perfectly describes Memphis’s growing startup scene. Looking back at where the local tech community was just five years ago, he sees its growth with a degree of surprise, yet also inevitability. “We’ve found some way of channeling that creative energy that’s been present in our city, that started with the birth of music, into tech,” he says.
Memphis, after all, has a storied innovation history, and the musical innovation that created blues, soul, and rock is a big part of it. And we can’t forget that Memphis is home to FedEx, one of the greatest success stories in American entrepreneurship. This critical mass of creative energy and entrepreneurial drive now fuels an exciting startup community.
These startups distinguish themselves for having the best workplace cultures in Memphis, as voted by members of the local community in “Grit and Growth: The 2018 Tennessee Tech Census.”
The Top 10 Startup Cultures in Memphis
10. LB Technology
Freight trucks. Service vans. No matter the vehicle, LB Technology wirelessly connects it with products such as GPS tracking, electronic logging devices (ELDs), and waterproof trailer trackers. That technology delivers fast, reliable telematics data to government and enterprise fleets so they operate smoothly and safely. The startup values those committed to customer success, but who also have an innovative eye to keep the company growing. Learn more LB Telematics and its culture here.
Memphis has more than 6,000 information technology (IT) jobs and counting. Tech901 is on a mission to train and educate any Memphian who wants a career in the growing IT field. Those with the grit, work ethic, and willingness to learn receive training in IT networking, security, coding, and more. Graduates have found work at companies throughout the Memphis, including FedEx, Johnson & Johnson, and International Paper. Learn more about Tech901 and its culture here.
Heard of software as a service (SaaS)? How about vehicle prognostics as a service (V-PaaS)? That’s how Preteckt brings big data to the automotive industry. The startup’s proprietary architecture is capable of continuously integrating AI, deep learning, and machine learning algorithms. For connected and autonomous vehicles and fleets, that means real-time analytics on predictive vehicle maintenance that iterate toward zero false-positives. Learn more about Preteckt and its culture here.
7. Graph Story
What if you could unearth deeper insights from your data simply by seeing it better? Enter Graph Story, a graph databases-as-as-service startup. The company’s graph database management solutions are scalable and flexible, able to run on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). One of the startup’s secret weapons? A culture that celebrates and encourages humor. Learn more about Graph Story and its culture here.
6. Simple Focus
Simple Focus may technically be a digital product and interface design agency, but the startup prefers to think of itself as something else: a user experience (UX) agency. Its team members wear their passion on their sleeves, too. Between working on projects for clients such as Sonos and Starbucks, Simple’s staff reserves time to work on passion projects, including a website redesign for the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Learn more about Simple Focus and its culture here.
HelloHome wants to make the experience of buying or selling a home better. And cheaper. For buyers and sellers, the startup charges a flat fee of $3,500. As for agents, HelloHome empowers them by handling admin, marketing, and other business ops. That approach saves home sellers an average of $8,425 in commission fees. Founder Jessica Buffington proudly leads the first and only female-founded and female-led real estate tech startup. Learn more about HelloHome and its culture here.
It’s a long way from the recording studio to music streaming platforms, car radios, and even headphones. It’s a dangerous road, too, that can damage sound quality. Founded by audio engineers turned software developers, Soundways revolutionizes the supply chain of sound recordings by creating a pipeline between the music studio and listeners. The startup chose Memphis so it could tap into the city’s rock, blues, and soul heritage. Learn more about Soundways and its culture here.
Ad fraud costs businesses billions each year, and it puts consumers’ personal information at risk. DEVCON is out to shut down malicious ads with its anti-ad fraud and anti-money laundering software for the media industry. Investors from Techstars to Barclays are impressed by the startup’s ruthlessness toward ad fraud. How ruthless? DEVCON’s services led to the first-ever conviction for ad fraud theft and money laundering. Learn more about DEVCON and its culture here.
SweetBio applies honey’s long tradition of being used in wound healing and tissue regeneration to developing medical devices. Combining Manuka honey with other healing substances such as collagen scaffolding, SweetBio’s products (a resorbable membrane, for instance), heal wounds from ulcers to tooth loss. For SweetBio’s team members, this presents an opportunity to improve the quality of life for millions of people, starting with their own families. Learn more about SweetBio and its culture here.
1. SOMAVAC Medical
The average hospital stay has shortened, and patients must now take on greater responsibility for their post-op care. SOMAVAC Medical designs medical devices that help patients recover with dignity. It’s vacuum device, for instance, comfortably and discreetly drains fluid buildup from mastectomies, hernia repairs, and other surgeries. Among its core values: “The world is a kinder and better place when we live with each other in mind.” Learn more about SOMAVAC Medical and its culture here.