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February 23, 2016 | Tom Ballard

Two autoXLR8R grads pitching today at “IngeniousSC!”

SC Auto WeekBy Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.

Think automotive is a big industry in South Carolina? If your answer is “no,” think again.

There’s a week-long celebration in the Palmetto State that started Monday with a mix of tours, presentations, meetings, and even a robotics competition. About 15 different events are being marketed under the “South Carolina Auto Week” banner.

Today, two Tennessee-based start-ups that were participants in last year’s autoXLR8R will be pitching their companies at the Michelin Conference Center in Greenville during one of those events – “IngeniousSC!” This afternoon session, in turn, begins something called the “SC Automotive Summit” that runs through midday Friday.

As I said, the folks in the Upstate area of South Carolina take automotive seriously, so it’s fortunate that two of the nine start-ups presenting today are from Tennessee. They are:

  • IVRTrain, a Cookeville-based start-up using immersive virtual reality technology to train mobile equipment operators in manufacturing plants; and
  • OptoLogistics from Knoxville, a company that has developed a software tool to optimize logistics within the automotive industry.

Jeff Brown, who also runs The Biz Foundry, is President of IVRTrain and will be presenting in the product category, while Mostafa Ghafoorivarzaneh is President of OptoLogistics. He is slotted in the manufacturing processes and supply chain grouping.

We caught-up with Brown who told us he is presenting at the event to “further our customer discovery and gauge demand for our innovative training techniques. We still need to better understand the application of virtual reality from our customers’ point of view.”

Brown and Ghafoorivarzaneh will pitch to representatives of original equipment manufacturers, Tier 1 suppliers, angel and venture investors, entrepreneurs, and inventors. Click here to see the latest agenda for the session as well as the next two days

To be eligible to present, the companies must have commercial ready technologies and innovations.

The autoXLR8R was launched by the Middle Tennessee Entrepreneur Centers in 2013 and transferred to Tech 2020 in Oak Ridge last year. With the latter in a wind down mode, the future of the program is unclear.

For those who interested, here’s how South Carolina positions itself in the automotive sector.

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