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February 07, 2022 | Tom Ballard

Inaugural cohort announced for the “Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator”

Two weeks ahead of the official start date, the inaugural class for the “Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator” was announced yesterday, and five of the 10 participating start-ups are focused in one way or another on artificial intelligence (AI). Also, two of the participants come from other countries.

Run in partnership with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the University of Tennessee System (UT), the accelerator program will focus on supporting and advancing world-class start-ups focused on emerging technologies across a variety of industries including AI, advanced manufacturing, quantum information sciences, biotechnology, clean energy and 5G cellular. This also marks the first of Techstars’ accelerator programs that is based in Tennessee.

“I am honored to announce the first Techstars Industries of the Future class with 10 exceptional founders building breakthrough technologies that will change this world,” said Tricia Martinez, Managing Director of the program. “These Techstars companies will gain access and hands-on support from global leaders and top scientists in emerging technologies at our partners ORNL, TVA and UT. Now is the time for start-ups, investors and industry to put eyes on the growing deep tech innovation hub in East Tennessee. This is just the beginning.”

The inaugural “Industries of the Future” class includes:

  • Armada IQ: Building a vision-based intelligence platform for integrated human-autonomous fleet operations.
  • Augurisk: Helping mitigate crime and natural disaster risks anywhere in the U.S. by providing predictive analysis and advanced risk scoring.
  • Be Global Safety: AI-powered software to detect and prevent workplace safety incidents and near-misses in real-time.
  • EzSec: Democratizing cybersecurity using AI and automation technologies.
  • FLUIX Inc: Unlocking the full power of high performance computing by eliminating the challenge of heat through Turbulent Liquid Cooling.
  • Grayscale AI: Enabling robots to see using neuromorphic vision and computing.
  • Modicus Prime: Bringing “self-service AI” to the life sciences for comprehensive R&D and commercial product quality.
  • Silvis Materials: Developing 100 percent bio-based emulsions for the $26 billion polymer emulsion market for adhesives, binders and coatings, thereby reducing dependence on petroleum while helping clean up our world.
  • Skintelligent: Developing AI skin analysis solutions to power the future of skin health.
  • Spiky AI: AI-based online meeting enhancement platform.

“We are excited to welcome these 10 companies to the Oak Ridge Corridor,” ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia said. “We are committed to translating scientific breakthroughs into new technologies that improve lives all over the world, and Techstars’ inaugural class is full of innovators ready to make an impact.”

“Congratulations to the first class of innovative startup companies who have been selected as part of the Techstars program,” TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash said. “We welcome you to the Oak Ridge Corridor, as you have the opportunity to deliver impactful benefits, similar to the benefits of nearly 90 years ago when TVA first brought electricity that transformed the lives of the people of the Tennessee Valley. We look forward to working with you to help drive advanced solutions with potentially enormous energy, economic and environmental benefits.”

“We are thrilled about the first class of future accelerators in the Techstars program,” UT System President Randy Boyd said. “These industries represent the ‘best in class’ in innovation and revolutionary technologies as we seek to work together in solving the grand challenges of our community, our state and our world.”

The accelerator will run in partnership with ORNL, TVA and UT in support of the organizations’ shared missions of identifying, developing and implementing innovative solutions across the “Industries of the Future” and staying at the forefront of these competitive and evolving industries.

The inaugural class will operate over a three-month period beginning February 21 and conclude with a demo day at the end of the program on May 26.

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