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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, January 27, 2017

JumpFund providing vital capital for women-owned startups


‘Blessed to have them as partners’



Long before The JumpFund officially invested in Courtney Jones’ Knoxville company, the MomSource Network, the Chattanooga-based angel investor group started by Kristina Montague was already advocating for her business and helping her broaden her network of contacts.

The much-needed capital came a few years later, after she’d jumped through the stringent application hoops.

“The support from The JumpFund has made two major impacts on our business,” says Jones, who started the company in 2010 to connect educated, professional moms with potential employers.

“Financially, it allowed us to build a proprietary platform that is letting us serve companies and [that] advocates for professional women all over the country.

“Without their initial investment, our reach would be much smaller. In addition, their support, mentorship, friendship and connections have been invaluable as we have grown our business, expanded our team and leveraged our strengths. … Our company feels blessed to have them as partners.”

Kayla Rodriguez Graff, co-founder and COO of SweetBio, a biotech product manufacturer in Memphis, echoes this sentiment.

“The JumpFund has made an incredible difference in our company,” she says, noting that the angel group helped ready her company for the FDA approval process.

“From a leadership perspective, The JumpFund partners have been unbelievably supportive. There are not many Hispanic females in [the] medical device [field].

“So, to have a team of powerful women supporting you is an unbelievable feeling and an invaluable asset.”

To date, the JumpFund has invested in 18 women-owned start-ups, whose products range from coffee and tea to tools that manage diabetes, kids’ online habits  and the search for industrial machine parts:

Coursicle

Gives college students an easier way to browse and register for classes, plan their schedules, and comparison-shop for textbooks. www.coursicle.com

Dynepic

Offers parents a way to manage secure social gateways to interactive toys. The company was launched by a female aerospace engineer with a decade of experience designing and leading technology development programs for the U.S. Dept. of Defense, NASA and commercial space. www.dynepic.com

eDivv

Gives women with extra beauty products an online marketplace where they can trade and barter and provides purchasing data to companies in lieu of consumer reports, surveys and focus groups. www.edivv.com

Emrgy

Enables customers to cost-effectively generate electricity from slow or narrow waterways not currently considered for power purposes using a compact turbine that works in narrow canals, tidal streams and wastewater pipes. www.emrgyinc.com

Feetz

Prints 3-D shoes using the SizeMe imaging process. Customers design their own styles, which are customized to fit from environmentally friendly materials. www.feetz.com

International Coffee Group

Imports, roasts and sells high-end, limited-quantity coffees from Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya and Panama via a luxury e-commerce website, select dining and corporate gifts. www.demourscoffee.com

MomSource Network

Connects innovative businesses with educated, professional candidates who are interested in flexible fulltime, permanent part-time, job-shared, telecommuting or freelance jobs. A new mom started the network in 2010 after hearing horror stories from friends trying to re-enter the workforce after having children. www.momsourcenetwork.com

NX Prenatal

Provides innovative methods to detect, monitor and manage pregnancy-related complications, such as pre-term birth. www.nxprenatal.com

Partpic

Simplifies the process of searching for and purchasing industrial replacement parts using visual recognition technology. The customer snaps a photo and quickly retrieves product specs on the seller’s retail website or through a mobile app. www.partpic.com

Rezli

Helps people of all ages turn their passions into careers by allowing them to build their résumés, connect with others in their industries, and share their stories. The multimedia social networking platform is designed for “creative technologists,” including artists and musicians. www.rezli.com

Rimidi

Develops cloud-based software solutions to improve quality of life for people with diabetes by making disease management more effective and less costly for patients and clinicians. www.rimidi.com

Rooibee Red Tea

Produces a full line of ready-to-drink tea steeped from rooibos leaves. RRT is certified USDA organic, naturally caffeine-free, and “loaded with antioxidants.” www.rooibeeredtea.com

Stony Creek Colors

Partners with farmers, mills and brands to craft vibrant, consistent and scalable natural indigo dyes for denim. www.stonycreekcolors.com

SuperFanU

Creates customized applications for iPhone and Android, along with a mobile web version that helps colleges and universities cultivate team loyalty among students, alumni and fans through rewards programs that lead to better brand awareness and higher attendance at sporting events. www.superfanu.com

SweetBio

Produces biotech products used in oral surgeries, including dissolvable dental membranes made from medical-grade honey, a natural antibacterial and wound healer. www.sweetbio.com

Torch

Lets parents pause the internet, set bedtimes, block out inappropriate content  and see a child’s browsing history. The trademark router was designed by a mom with a PhD in education who needed a way to keep web access healthy and safe for her three kids. www.mytorch.com

Transomic Technologies

Makes and distributes genomics tools that help researchers understand how genes work and how they relate to diseases such as cancer, thereby leading to new and more targeted drugs. www.transomic.com

ZoomThru

Seamlessly connects garage operators who need to fill empty spaces with drivers trying to find the closest ones via convenient apps and real-time management tools. www.zoomthru.co