But it's Screwpulp's business model that's been really attracting attention. This past July, Screwpulp was one of only three startups to be invited to participate in a panel at the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit in New York. Topic for discussion: "From Author to Reader, Publishing and Selling Direct." (Translation, according to Billings: "Creating an eBook Marketplace That Doesn't Rely on Amazon.")
"The event went well," Billings says. "Our approach was well received, and of the three startups on the panel, ours was the only one that the audience engaged during the Q&A."
What's more: In mid-August, Screwpulp received word that it was one of the finalists in a program designed by Launch Tennessee to highlight the best of the state's startups. "Demo Day" was August 27th — a good day. At the end of the day, Governor Bill Haslam announced that Screwpulp had been picked to join nine other companies for an across-the-state road trip September 9th-13th. That's when startup representatives from "The Tenn" will meet with executives from Tennessee's top corporations, present short "elevator" pitches, get feedback from investors, innovators, and business leaders, and, in general, network. (In Memphis, the road show will visit First Tennessee and FedEx.) And that's not all: Members of the TENN will then travel to California and the East Coast for another round of networking opportunities with business leaders, venture capitalists, and "angel" investors.
But despite the across-the-state and cross-country attention, Billings wants Memphians to know that the Bluff City remains on his mind:
"No matter how much success we find in connecting authors and readers, our ultimate goal is to bring jobs, innovation, and attention to Memphis."