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August 07, 2013 | Tom Ballard

“Demo Week” continues with autoXLR8R graduation

“Demo Week” continued across Tennessee Wednesday with a standing room only crowd of community leaders, investors, autoXLR8R participants, and supporters who gathered in Spring Hill for the accelerator’s public unveiling of its start-ups.

The event was held in an auditorium in the former headquarters of Saturn Corporation, whose motto was “A Different Kind of Car Company.” Someone like me who, from my University of Tennessee base, worked with Saturn in the 1980s and 1990s, could not help but draw a parallel with the tagline and the autoXLR8R.

Dan Marcum, the venture capitalist who conceived the idea for the autoXLR8R, also noted the significance in his opening comments.

“We are the first accelerator with a (sole) focus on automotive,” he told the attendees.

Coming on the heels of the previous day’s announcement of 1,800 new manufacturing jobs coming to the General Motors (GM) facility, Marcum said that “we are right in the center of the resurgence of the automotive industry.”

He cited the impact of automotive-related jobs in Tennessee, including the fact that six supplier jobs are created for every one job that is tied to an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEMs) like GM.

“What was once Detroit centric (automotive R&D) . . . is going to be more decentralized,” Marcum said. “We are trying to stand-up companies (with the autoXLR8R) as part of this decentralization.”

Mike Nichols, who came to Spring Hill to run the program, described the all summer experience as “kinda like coaching a cycling team.” Nichols, described by Marcum as a rock star, has participated in a dozen start-ups.

The autoXLR8R’s companies, several previously profiled on, are:

  • Alert/Divert Systems, a company focused enhancing driver safety and mobility with electronic traffic management devices. The consumer and commercial versions feature high visibility, flexibility, and easy deployment for roadside emergencies, and other temporary traffic needs.
  • Amble Technologies, a start-up previously profiled on ( whose first product is a wheelchair alternative that allows access to varying terrain, heights, and activities.
  • Consensium, a company focused on a first-of-its-kind device for OEMs in the predictive consumer intelligence sector.
  • EcoViate, also profiled on (, that has developed a patented device for reducing greenhouse emissions at the tailpipe.
  • Flow Tint, a start-up with a technology that instantaneously changes the tint characteristics of glass in response to changes in light conditions.
  • Graphenics, a company with a patented process for producing graphene for use in plastic composites.
  • Green Dot Charging, a start-up that has developed an innovative charging platform for electric vehicles using a patented cross bar design combining conductive charging with hands-free convenience.
  • Mach Fuels which is billed as providing the first complete alternative fuel solution for fleets converting to natural gas or propane.
  • Orzata, another of the companies profiled on (, that provides a software platform enabling engineers to rapidly perform image/video analysis for applications in a variety of fields such as surveillance, medical imaging, autonomous vehicles, and robotics.
  • 10xLabs that leverages trends in connected car technology.


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