Accelerate 2022 Schedule

CoBuilding Mississippi’s Future

This year at Accelerate 2022 we explore a critical component in the success of Mississippi’s entrepreneurial ecosystem: collaboration. Today, we’re seeing the fruits of a major focus on collaboration in recent years – investors, private industry, government agencies, universities and the nonprofit sector are all working together to lift-up entrepreneurs and turn them into major contributors to the Mississippi economy. Join us at this year’s conferences as we explore how to deepen those collaborations, find efficiencies in these partnerships and further expand opportunity for entrepreneurs in our great state!

Tuesday November 8

1:00pm - 5:00pm • Company and Investor Spotlight (Natchez)

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!

Charles Freeman
HUMO, LLC is a wearable technology and education company with a focus to improve golf performance and limit golf-related injuries. HUMO designed pressure activated socks with an accompanying coaching application to provide immediate footwork feedback while practicing and playing a round. HUMO’s proprietary software combines footwork pressure, swing mechanics from 2-D video, and 3-D club tracking data to analyze each swing and suggest adjustments for desired ball flight. The combination of hardware and software product offerings enables a golfer to hit better shots more consistently and take strokes off their game.

Kristen Allen
BloomBridge offers a platform that allows users to subscribe to a service that delivers flower arrangements to a loved
one’s grave. This service can be subscribed from anywhere in the world for deliveries made to any cemeteries in the United States. 

Joseph Madden            

Ferson Technologies is a precision optics manufacturer founded in 1942. Its management team is undertaking a strategic shift away from custom contract manufacturing to becoming the only North American producer of critical optical component Ball Lenses in Q1 2023. Ferson additionally has secured an exclusive license from the US Army Research Lab DEVCOM to develop and commercialize an advanced Spherical Beamsplitter design. Ferson has successfully prototyped the Spherical Beamsplitter and plans for internal production and sales by Q3 2023. Ferson aims to be internally producing and selling Spherical Beamsplitter-enabled sensor equipment in 2024.

2:00 pm - 2:22 pm • The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI)

Learn about how SSBCI State Venture Capital program will impact small businesses in Mississippi for the next 10-years.
Tony Jeff, President & CEO, Innovate Mississippi

The Skin Consult

Dr. Sajani Barot

The Skin Consult is an B2B2C Artificial Intelligence enabled aesthetic marketplace and Integrated commerce platform for med spas. The all-in-one hub offers personalized skin recommendations and access to experts, while allowing med spas to start selling personalized recommendations with an online store for products & services to their customers.  TSC is a mission driven software technology company empowering consumers to take control of their own health and wellness needs with easy and convenient solutions.

Brient Mayfield

Optimal AnswersTM is defining the emerging software category of decision optimization applications. An OptimalTM application exists for most any type of common decision support need for any size entity throughout business, government, and personal lives. In business and government Optimal Applications simplify optimization math, enabling decisionmakers to achieve measurable savings and operations improvements in critical functions such as procurement, product mix, and scheduling. An example consumer application is Optimal Grocery Shopping. If you want to know something, Google-it; if you want to decide something, Opt-it!

Austin Hille
Carmigo is an online vehicle marketplace that connects sellers and buyers in the easiest way possible. Carmigo helps sellers get the most for their car by collecting offers from our nationwide network dealerships in just one business day.

3:00 pm – 3:45 pm • Investor Panel: How Investors Get to Yes

Understanding the investor mindset, the deals they look for, and what moves them to invest in a company.

  • Steve Mercil - Fund Administrator for the North & South Mississippi Angel Funds, Chief Business Development Officer Appalachian Angel Alliance (AIA)
  • Bruce Deer - Member of the Bulldog Angel Network and Innovate Mississippi's Entrepreneur in Residence
  • Abb Payne - Founder and CEO of The Payne Companies family office and Chapter Chair of the Southern 7 Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO).
  • Jon Atkinson – CEO, Idea Village
  • Lindsey Benefield - Investment Manager, Innovate Mississippi, Moderator

John Welch
Many organizations are searching for a solution to help create a more cohesive, nimble working platform.  ConnectVNA integrates latest technologies & digital workflows that leverage in place, existing, legacy business systems to achieve greatly improved processes, creating a path to the future while producing a strong ROI.

Dr. Barbara Coatney

Time-Touch-Take Medication Dispensing System improves the clarity and comprehensibility of administering medication. This medication system proposes to provide patients with an alternative way to take medicines with fewer mistakes. The target audience for this system is the blind, seniors, and disabled citizens who are on a regimen of prescription drugs. 

Zeke Fairbank                                                                                                                          

iResonate’s unintrusive ClickTip® button enables content viewers to efficiently make an impulse donation to the author of the viewed content. A complete audit trail is maintained, and webhosts, content providers and donors are all able to see their sources and amount of funds on their dashboard.

Jason Vanzant

Hometown Workforce has developed an “Amazon-like” marketplace for home services that allows small business owners to create service listings, defines a price and an estimated time for the job. Consumers can choose a contractor, book a service, and reserve funds in an escrow account until the work is approved.

Justin O’Keefe

Memorial Asset Protection Plan, LLC (MAPP) is an intermediary company who has contracts with the largest funeral home marketing company in the United States to supply them with financial advisors for all their partnered firms nationwide.

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 - 6:30pm • Speaker & Sponsor Private Reception (Pre-function Space)

Speakers and sponsors are invited to our opening reception to network with the Accelerate team and other members of Mississippi's entrepreneurial ecosystem. Live music, drinks, appetizers and the AWP 360 Photo booth experience.

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 9

7:30am • Registration Opens

8:00am - 9:15am • Breakfast General Session (Jackson Ballroom)

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

Joe Donovan, director, The Office of Technology, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Mississippi Development Authority

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 - 9:30am • Coffee and Contacts Break

9:30am - 11:45am • Breakout Sessions

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


The Big Ideas track examines changes and trends in Mississippi's entrepreneurial ecosystem, diving into topics such as the future of work, how maker spaces can excite innovation in local communities and the evolving role of higher education and accelerator programs in Mississippi's startup culture and economy.

The pandemic ushered in a new and sudden era of remote work—and the expectation that it will continue—for millions of professionals. Coming out of the pandemic, our options for “the new workplace” are boundless, from remote work to co-working to using virtual and augmented reality to improve productivity. In this session, our panel will discuss several of those changes and how your company can navigate them.

As more and more people proudly identify as “Makers,” the spaces they work in encourage this blend of crafts, gaming, coding, prototyping and mind-expanding creativity. The result is a culture of innovation—and, usually, a lot of fun. Anik Kurkjian, a leader in Maker and STEAM education will lead this discussion focused on makerspaces in our communities and how they drive improvements in education, innovation and entrepreneurship.

While they may “compete on the football field,” Mississippi’s universities work together to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, partnering on local and national initiatives that boost the state’s economy. In this session, leaders from our four research-intensive universities detail the fruits of their collaboration; new funding, successful startups, cutting-edge inventions and economic development.


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.

Social media has become an essential tool in the marketing arsenal for startups and established businesses. This workshop, led by Laura Johns, CEO of The Business Growers, Mississippi’s only tech-focused marketing firm, will set up organizations of any size for social media success. Join this workshop for hands-on learning on connecting with your target audience, creating engaging content, and using social media platforms to achieve their business goals.

Hear from Mississippi startup founders on the lessons they’ve learned—and pitfalls to avoid—when taking an idea to market. Learn how they raised money, proved their concept, pivoted when necessary, and connected with customers on the road to business success.

  • Anna Barker, Glo

  • Stephen Daigle, founder, Bidmoni.

  • Ben Hubbard, Serial Entrepreneur

  • Joe Stradinger, Edge Theory

  •  Sam Miller, founder of mySet Music and Sports, moderator

VIP Investor Lounge, by appointment only

Mentor Lounge, by appointment only

12:00pm • Luncheon General Session (Jackson Ballroom)

Mississippi cartoonist and commentator Marshall Ramsey hosts a discussion with Matt Adamczyk of Microsoft and Jon Atkinson of the Idea Village on their experience building and nurturing entrepreneurship communities in “non-tech” places like Green Bay, Wisconsin, and New Orleans, Louisiana. Learn about the roles that events, corporate sponsors, local expertise, and a strong sense of place can have in improving outcomes for high-growth startups.

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