Accelerate 2021 Schedule

Technology’s Role in Mississippi’s Next Economy

You may think of traditional Mississippi economies as agriculture, energy, oceans and healthcare—and you’d be right! But as we roll around to the year 2022, the truth is that all of those industries are being rapidly reshaped by technology. At this year’s Accelerate conference, we explore the resources and opportunities that Mississippi can leverage by embracing a technology-driven economy, even in traditional economic sectors.

Tuesday November 9

1:00pm • Company and Investor Spotlight

The Company and Investor Spotlight is dedicated to showcasing some exciting startups that founders have launched in Mississippi. The showcase will also feature investor panels with educational information for both investors and entrepreneurs on topics such as the investment process and access to remote investors and opportunities. All conference registrants are invited to come to listen and learn!

Company Pitches:
  • AI Control Technologies - Chris Webb
  • Bloom Technologies – Melissa Bloom
  • ConnectVNA - John Welch
  • Jordan Analytics - Christina Jordan
  • Moonshine - Raj Ramarao
  • Primp - Ali Bridgers and Kirk Milman
  • Stalwart Medical Innovations – Dustin Ford
  • Time Touch Take - Barbara Coatney
  • Tribly – Seth Power
  • Wispr - Conor Ferguson

From Shark Tank™ to Pitch Competitions, Investors are always asking entrepreneurs the hard questions, but this panel gives entrepreneurs (& others) the chance to reverse the roles and ask hard questions to this panel of experienced investors. Lindsey Benefield, Innovate Mississippi’s Investment Manager, will lead Q&A with investors Tony Englese, Les Goff, & Ben Walton, who will discuss their different experiences and backgrounds and field audience questions.  Topics will include post-pandemic investment trends and how various investor groups throughout the region can help fuel the new investment landscape.

Lindsey BenefieldTony EngleseLes GoffBen Walton

Software tool to create the “golf handicap” of running, making possible all sorts of competitive metrics and virtual competitions.

Social and promotional tools specifically for musicians and bands.

Duett developed self-cooling electric barber clippers and sheers specifically targeted a niche market for African-American and Latino hair.

Caroline Crumley, Dr. Nashlie Sephus, Mike Morgan, and Wade Patterson

From Shark Tank™ to Pitch Competitions, Investors are always asking entrepreneurs the hard questions, but this panel gives entrepreneurs (& others) the chance to reverse the roles and ask hard questions to this panel of experienced investors.  Lindsey Benefield, Innovate Mississippi Investment Manager, will lead Q&A from four investors with different experiences and backgrounds and field audience questions to the panel.

5:00pm • Speaker & Sponsor Private Reception (Pre-function Space)

3:10pm • C&IS Session Two

Software and algorithms for safely moving things in the ocean, making advanced fish-farming and automated harvesting possible.

Creators of BuzzBassador, a Shopify plug-in automates the management of social media influencers and affiliates who help promote and sell products online.

GrowinLocal is the virtual farmers market for any grower with a supply of organic fruits, vegetables, eggs, or milk to connect with customers. 



Harold J. Callais II “Hal”

Callais Capital Management, based in Thibodaux, LA, is consistently one of the region’s most active Venture Capital Firms and Harold J. Callais II, “Hal”, Managing Partner and the Chief Investment Officer will discuss “Fundable Metrics.” Gain key insights on how investors think about your business and what you can do to prepare your company and your pitch to focus on the right measures of success.

Details to come.

Wednesday November 10

7:30am • Registration Opens

8:00am • Breakfast General Session

Lt. Governor Delbert HosemannThe Honorable Delbert Hosemann, Lieutenant Governor, State of Mississippi

Companies and communities should be paranoid about the world changing and making them obsolete. Join Innovate Mississippi’s President & CEO, Tony Jeff, as he takes us through a humorous and thought-provoking look at how technology has changed the world in the past and the future, while providing a path and challenge to each individual to take action.

Tony Jeff

Tony Jeff, President & CEO, Innovate Mississippi

8:30am • Morning Keynote Session

> 8:30am: Welcome Remarks, Tony Jeff, President & CEO of Innovate Mississippi
> 8:35am: Message from Governor Tate Reeves
> 8:38am - Introduction of Breakfast Keynote Speakers
Dr. William Rayburn, co-founder and CEO of mTrade
> 8:40am: Fireside Chat: "Building Thriving Clusters and Ecosystems for Young, Entrepreneurial High-Growth Firms"
Ross DeVol, president and CEO of Heartland forward and Jon Maynard, president and CEO of Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation

9:15am • Coffee and Contacts Break

9:30am • Breakout Sessions

2-Concurrent Tracks (Big Ideas & Block & Tackle)


Mississippi’s economy is poised for a once-in-a-generation opportunity to expand economic opportunity, improve quality of life for its citizens and reverse brain drain, particularly in a post-COVID world of remote work and more widely distributed capital.

Moderated by Joe Donovan, this panel will focus on university’s role in leveraging research expertise to drive innovation-led economic development throughout Mississippi, with a focus on  advanced materials, autonomous systems, agriculture, data science, sensors, diagnostics, and biomedical advances.

Allyson BestAlmesha CampbellJeremy ClayJoe DonovanJanice KarcherMichael Mosher

  • Allyson Best, University of Mississippi
  • Dr. Almesha Campbell, Jackson State University
  • Jeremy Clay, Mississippi State University
  • Joe Donovan, Mississippi Development Authority (moderator)
  • Janice Karcher, ERDCWERX
  • Michael Mosher, University of Mississippi

Industry  experts  gather to discuss the impact that emerging technology is having on  traditional Mississippi economic sectors, and how those advances will change the way we live and work in the future.

Brian CuevasTim MaskCade MoodyDavis Pace

  • Dr. Brian Cuevas, University of Southern Mississippi
  • Tim Mask, MWB (moderator)
  • Cade Moody,  IntelliFarms by Wade, Inc.
  • Davis Pace, Mississippi Enterprise for Technology


Practical Tips to Help Entrepreneurs Navigate Their Business
The Block and Tackle track covers those moments when the rubber meets the road for entrepreneurs in the Mississippi entrepreneurial ecosystem. Hear from professional marketers, sales professionals, tacticians, mentors and investors on the next steps your startup should take toward success and growth.

Truth & Lies: What Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Sales & Marketing

Adam Horlock Eric HughesLaura JohnsCliff Osbon

  • Adam Horlock, Business Center Manager, Office Evolution
  • Eric Hughes, Founding Partner, The Hive Branding Agency
  • Laura Johns, Founder & CEO, The Business Growers
  • Cliff Osbon, Serial Entrepreneur; Owner, Office Evolution; Healthcare Consultant (Moderator)

How to Navigate Your Business as a Non-Technical Founder of a Tech Business (10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.)
Finding a technical Co-Founder and Managing a Tech Team

Dr. Amber Johnson Dr. Nashlie Sephus

  • Dr. Amber Johnson, COO The Bean Path; Founder The Kidult Life
  • Dr. Nashlie Sephus, Applied Science Manager for Amazon’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Founder of The Bean Path

Build From the Beginning with Your Series A in Mind (11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.)

Anne Turner

  • Anne Turner, Founding Shareholder, Anne Turner, PC and Founder of Lexcela

VIP Investor Lounge, by appointment only:

Jan & Lawrence Farrington
Jim Lowery
Lois Lovelady-Rayburn & Bill Rayburn
Ben Walton

Mentor Lounge, by appointment only:

Tom Bunting (IT & Sales)
Bryan Carter (Marketing, Media, Advertising)
Sunny Desai (Fundraising, General Business)
Dr. Lurlene Irvin (Finance, Fundraising, General Business)
Mike Morgan (Finance, Fundraising, General Business)
Darryl Pieroni (Sales, Marketing)
Whit Rayner (Patent Law)

12:00pm • Luncheon General Session

JF GauthierJF Gauthier is a Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur, Founder & CEO of Startup Genome with a Harvard MBA. He is the world’s leading expert in innovation ecosystem development, having advised—and learned from—more than 100 governments and private-public partnerships across 40 countries. He is an angel investor and has founded five businesses across two continents and three sectors (Tech, Life Sciences and Cleantech), with two exits and one growing at scaleup stage. He previously worked in corporate innovation advising some of the largest Tech and Life Sciences corporations alongside Clayton Christensen and other thought leaders.

1:30pm • Conference Concludes

Thursday November 12

9:00am • Block and Tackle - Sessions for Entrepreneurs

> 9:00am: Welcome from Director of Entrepreneurial Development Tasha Bibb, Innovate Mississippi
> 9:05am: Angela Grayson, CIPP/US, CLP, founder and principal member, Precipice IP PLLC
"Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About How to License Your Product for Big $$"
> 9:25am: Kurt Black, president of Glenwood Digital
"Design a Customer Journey that Attracts and Converts Your Ideal Clients"
> 9:47 - 9:57: Tony Jeff, President & CEO, Innovate Mississippi
"We've got a Map! Discover a Wealth of Startup Resources in Mississippi"
> 9:57 - 10:07: Dr. Nashlie Sephus, Applied Science Manager, Amazon Web Services AI
"Inside the #JXNTechDistrict: Behind-the-Scenes Discussion and Video Tour"
> 10:10am: Dr. Michele Morgan, owner, God’s Way Enterprises and Stephen Daigle, co-founder and CEO, BidMoni, Inc.
“Entrepreneurs Discuss How They Capitalized on the State Resources Available to Grow Their Ventures”
> 10:30am: Entrepreneur Roundtable (moderated by Tasha Bibb)
Join us for an open-forum discussion about the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Mississippi from the entrepreneurs’ perspectives. Engage with the panel members to ask questions, voice concerns and share success stories about items related to building successful startups in Mississippi.
> 10:58am: Closing Remarks

9:00am - 11:00am • VIP and Mentor Lounge

Contact Tasha Bibb to schedule time for our VIP investors or a member of our Mentor Network to discuss your business.

Bill Rayburn & Lois Lovelady

General Business Strategy & Capital
Rich Sun, Sun & Co.
Lurlene Irvin
Jim Lowery, mTrade
Sunny Desai

Intellectual Property & Legal
Whit Rayner, Jones Walker
Matthew McLaughlin, McLaughlin, PC
David Pharr, David Pharr Law
William Bettis, Butler Snow

Software Development
Carrie Goetz, StrategITcom

Bryan Carter, Think Webstore
Natalie Sharma, Pixetal Studio
Darryl Pieroni, PeopleShores