Fedex is the the largest employer in Memphis, TN. The company employs roughly 30,000 people in that city, which is nearly double the number of school teachers in Memphis public schools. Over the last few years, food and agriculture startup accelerator programs have multiplied at a fast clip, and continue to do, usually focusing on the farm or at the consumer end. But since logistics — how food gets from the farm to our plate — is just as crucial a part of the food system as the rest, we wanted to speak with an accelerator focusing on it.
EPICenter Memphis is a consortium of accelerators with the mission of creating a vibrant culture of entrepreneurship in Memphis and one of those accelerators is EPICenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator, which is run by Leslie Smith and funded by Fedex.
While the accelerator operates across industries, it has had food industry-focused startups undertake the program. In the first cohort, the program had a secure, over the door cooler to receive perishable deliveries and in the current cohort there’s a startup looking to monetize empty container space in trucks returning to their base. We spoke to Smith to find out how the program got started and which logistics trends entrepreneurs are trying to pick up and run with