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June 13, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Techstars | David Castley returns to participate in another Knoxville-based accelerator

He plans to bring RAEV’s affordable, convenient, and zero-emissions transportation alternative for big cities to the crowded streets of Knoxville starting this fall during Tennessee's home football games.

David Castley already knows a thing or two about the Knoxville region, and he’s focused on learning more.

Last summer, Castley and his start-up named RAEV were participants in the inaugural cohort of the “Spark Cleantech Accelerator” operated by the University of Tennessee (UT) Research Park. Now, he’s back with RAEV, joining nine other start-ups as part of Cohort 2 of the “Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator,” and Castley has big plans for a project in Knoxville that he expects to launch just ahead of the 2023 Tennessee Volunteers football opener.

“The City of Knoxville is onboard, and we’re talking with UT, Knoxville,” he says.

The idea is to bring RAEV’s affordable, convenient, and zero-emissions transportation alternative for big cities to the crowded streets of Knoxville. As Castley described in this August 2022 article, the business plan incorporates low-speed, low-cost electric vehicles – think street-legal golf carts you see people driving at resorts and beach towns – with the model that Southwest Airlines has perfected. The latter maximizes its fleet’s time flying in the air rather than parked on the ground, and Castley has the same goal for the fleet of low-speed vehicles that he will be deploying.

“After users create an account, they can unlock the vehicle by scanning a QR code then drive to their destination where the vehicle is ready for the next user,” Castley says.

He’s seeking local businesses that want to provide vehicle sponsorship for the initial fleet in Knoxville. Sponsors benefit from physical brand exposure in the most densely populated areas of Knoxville and digital promotions within the app. He cites New York City’s Citi Bike program as an example of a sponsorship in mobility initiative.

“Sponsorships are filling up fast,” he told us in a recent interview.

Just like his plan for big cities, Castley is also targeting densely populated areas for the Knoxville demonstration.

“This Fall we are planning for downtown, the Old City, and Sevier Avenue,” he says.

Interested users can pre-register for Knoxville by downloading the RAEV Mobility app on iOS or Android. Companies interested in sponsoring a vehicle can reach out to Castley directly at

(EDITOR’S NOTE: All of the 10 companies will be pitching at the “Industries of the Future Summit powered by Techstars” scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 21 at The Mill & Mine, 227 West Depot Avenue, Knoxville. To register, click here.)

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