Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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May 02, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | “Charlotte Innovation Week” tops the regional roundup

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology announces participants in its "AgTech Accelerator," while Columbia, SC eyes an emphasis on quantum computing.

From Charlotte, NC:

At least 15 events of varying types are listed when “Charlotte Innovation Week” (CIW) begins May 15. Organized by Innovate Charlotte, a nonprofit with a mission to grow the innovation-led entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Charlotte area, CIW is an opportunity to bring the community together to celebrate the people, purpose, and practice of making meaningful innovation and entrepreneurship happen here every day.

Activities during the five-day celebration include:

  • RevTech Labs will be spotlighting 10 of its portfolio companies that are currently fundraising from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. EDT on May 16. Founders will be Zooming in from various cities across the globe.
  • Talent Jam, a unique event from 5:30 to 8 p.m. EDT May 16 that connects local tech and business talent with start-ups and innovative companies that need them in ways traditional networking events and job fairs simply don’t. Instead of the usual formats, this high-energy, hyperlocal event features dueling, open-mic pitches where hiring companies and people looking for opportunities each gives alternating 60-second pitches. Pitches are followed by a casual but impactful networking reception.
  • A “Tech Leaders Forum” from 7 to 9:30 a.m. EDT on May 17 features a roundtable discussion to exchange ideas, share best practices, and learn about current issues impacting fast-growing tech companies. In addition, the annual Tech Executive Compensation Survey will be reviewed including key findings for how tech companies compete in the war for talent.
  • The “Charlotte Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Summit” from 12 noon to 5 p.m. EDT on May 18 will focus on key initiatives in the community to improve collaboration and increase the growth of tech and innovative companies in the Charlotte area.

From Columbia, SC:

The Columbia edition of the Charleston Post and Courier reported that quantum computing could be the key to making the city a technology hub — “at least, that’s what a local nonprofit requesting $15 million from the state legislature says.” The article says the South Carolina Quantum Association’s request mirrors efforts in Chicago and Chattanooga to engage high school and college students and encourage them to pursue careers in technology. While the request has some political backing, the Governor’s office raised concerns it will duplicate another quantum project at the University of South Carolina. The article can be found here, but a subscription might be required.

From Huntsville, AL:

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, in partnership with global venture firm and startup accelerator, gener8tor, has announced the five start-ups selected for the Spring 2023 cohort of the “HudsonAlpha AgTech Accelerator.” The 12-week accelerator began in April and invests $100,000 in each of the participants that are described as “at the forefront of the agriculture technology industry.”

The accelerator will conclude on June 29, with a showcase event at HudsonAlpha’s campus. The five participants are:

  • Bloom Labs whose Founder was based in New York City is accelerating the transition toward a circular economy by providing a way to catalyze the value in waste by regenerating it as versatile and desirable bio-plastics and textile fibers.
  • San Francisco-based Khepra is a sustainable manufacturing platform for chemicals that is fully electrified and enables low-cost production of bio-derived alternatives.
  • OmniVis, a Purdue University-affiliated start-up located in San Francisco, has created a handheld device to rapidly detect foodborne pathogens, reducing the time of detection from the industry standard of three days to under 30 minutes, saving facilities 99 percent of the costs associated with downtime due to foodborne outbreaks.
  • SAVRpak, recently named a “World’s Most Innovative Company” by Fast Company, leverages thermodynamics to fight food’s #1 enemy, condensation. It is also California-based in San Juan Capistrano.
  • Terra Bioforge of Middleton, WI has pioneered a synthetic biology platform for the rapid overproduction and discovery of valuable bioactive natural products that are beneficial to humans, plants, and animals.

From Chicago but with Knoxville-Oak Ridge Ties:

Argonne National Laboratory has named Claus Daniel as Associate Laboratory Director for Advanced Energy Technologies, effective May 1. He is joining Argonne from Carrier Corporation where he has led engineering partnerships and sustainability as part of Carrier’s strategy and innovation team. Those who know Daniel are not surprised that he manages the effort to decarbonize the product portfolio, with activities spanning 16 time zones in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Prior to joining Carrier, Daniel spent 16 years with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in a number of roles.

From Washington, DC but with Southeast Implications:

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued a Request for Information to gather insights for the development of an investment roadmap for its Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) in accordance with the “CHIPS and Science Act” of 2022.

“Recent history has shown us that with clear goals, dedicated resources, and cross-sector collaboration, we can achieve the unimaginable,” said Erwin Gianchandani, NSF Assistant Director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships. “Through the creation of a roadmap informed by thoughtful and diverse contributors, we can strategically advance key technology areas, address societal and economic challenges, and strengthen U.S. competitiveness for generations to come.”

NSF seeks feedback from individuals and organizations across all sectors — industry, academia, nonprofits, government, venture capital, civil society and others — on prioritizing and focusing TIP investments to advance U.S. technological competitiveness and address societal and economic needs as well as workforce gaps through use-inspired and translational research, public and private partnerships, and crosscutting investments.

Input is due by July 27. More information can be found here.

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