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Weekend edition June 07, 2024 | Katelyn Keenehan

Techstars Industries of the Future ‘Demo Day’ in pictures

Ten founders from across the globe traveled to Knoxville to grow their start-ups through the accelerator program. Some companies have opted to stay.

Three months ago, 10 companies from across the globe traveled to Knoxville to participate in the Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator. The founders offered promising innovations, that have the potential to change the world as we know it. It was the third and final cohort of companies to be welcomed to the Scruffy City.

However, this year, unlike years past, some of the companies announced that they plan to continue working with industry partners in Knoxville.

“‘Last one, best one’ has been the motto for this year. We certainly left the best for last, and we’re finishing strong,” said Brandon Bruce, the program’s director.

On stage at the Techstars Demo Day in Knoxville on Thursday, Bruce shared some of the highlights from the nationally-recognized program. There are 48 active Techstars accelerators across the country, with Knoxville hosting one of them. Since the inception of the nationwide Techstars initiatives, 9,694 founders have gone through an accelerator creating a cumulative market cap of $113.6 billion. 20 Techstars companies even have revenue of more than $1 billion.

Brandon Bruce, Techstars, Demo Day, Knoxville 2024
Brandon Bruce, Techstars

Bruce said the 10 companies in cohort three were hand-selected for their strong core teams, market potential, documented progress, and innovative ideas. Leaning on the niche skills of industry partners like the University of Tennessee (UT), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), companies were also selected based on how the community could best support them.

UT System President, Randy Boyd shared his appreciation for the Techstars program in Knoxville. Coming from an entrepreneurial background, Boyd said he understands that it takes a community to grow a start-up.

“We are never self-made, founders achieve success thanks to the support of the people who helped them along the way,” Boyd said. “We hope these companies remember Knoxville – and this community on their journey to success.”

Randy Boyd, UT Systems President
Randy Boyd, UT Systems President

Nine of the ten founders took the stage to pitch to a room full of industry partners, mentors, ecosystem supporters, and investors.


Max Dordevic, the Founder of NeuroX1 was unable to pitch in person, due to an important meeting with a potential partner. However, Bruce was able to provide the audience with a thorough explanation of the potential for NeuroX1 to change the process of drug generation as we know it. Read our feature about NeuroX1 for more information.

Brandon Bruce, on behalf of NeuroX1
Brandon Bruce, on behalf of NeuroX1


Co-Founder, Lewis Hibbs took the stage next to share about his company, NKA Bio, which is based on a technology developed by his grandfather, who was the first Director of Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Hibbs said the life-saving antibody can “press pause on death” by delaying the effects of shock on the body.

Additionally, Hibbs shared some exciting news… he shared collaborations are in the works with UT System and ORNL as his technology heads into pre-trials. Meaning, that Hibbs may be spending more time in the ecosystem.

Read our feature about NKA Bio for more information.


Mike Mohseni pitched his innovative start-up, AutoMetrics. The company’s currently offered product is named Inspection 4.0. It monitors welding operation quality in real time via process-level quality indicators using advanced Machine Learning software. Mohseni says that the technology can detect potentially detrimental deviations, just like an experienced welder’s eye would do. Read our feature about AutoMetrics for more information.

Mike Mohseni, AutoMetrics
Mike Mohseni, AutoMetrics

Orbital Arc

Perhaps one of the companies that best fits the mold for an “Industry of the Future” is space. Jonathan Huffman, the founder of Orbital Arc shared how his new ion thruster propulsion technology can alter the state of space travel. He shared about exciting milestones both with the company and in his personal life. Huffman shared with the audience that he raised 30 percent of his round during the Techstars accelerator. Additionally, he welcomed his baby daughter into the world.

Read our feature about Orbital Arc for more information.

Jonathan Huffman, Orbital Arc
Jonathan Huffman, Orbital Arc

Dig Robotics

Noam Rotem presented on behalf of his start-up Dig Robotics. His patent-pending technology is currently being deployed in a pilot program. Rotem’s technology monitors the operations of excavation equipment, to better instruct the operator. He said it reduces cycle time, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions, and improves operator outcomes.

Read our feature about Dig Robotics for more information.

Noam Rotem, Dig Robotics

3D Solar

Daniel Clark, the Founder of 3D Solar started his pitch by asking the audience if they would ever scoop up water with a plate. Most of the audience shook their heads no. “It’s the same way with sunlight, yet we use flat panels to collect it,” Clark said.

Clark is revolutionizing the solar energy sector with a highly efficient method for harnessing solar power. He has crafted a novel three-dimensional solar cell/panel that maximizes energy production within a minimal footprint.

Read our feature about 3D Solar for more information.


Daniel Clark, 3D Solar
Daniel Clark, 3D Solar

Perleybrook Labs

Ranjith Antony pitched his start-up, which has been gaining a massive amount of traction. Perleybrook Lab’s technology connects to existing ONVIF IP (Open Network Video Interface Forum) cameras or proprietary USB cameras, transforming them into intelligent mounted vision sensors. By continuously monitoring the workplace, the company’s lead product, Flagman can identify potential human error in man-machine interaction scenarios and stop the machine in real time, helping prevent accidents before they occur.

Antony announced at Demo Day that he has 75 + current customers using the technology. He also shared that Perleybrooke Labs hired its first employee from Knoxville.

Read our feature about Perleybrook Labs for more information.


Narval took the stage, with multi-time founder Jose Luis Nuño. He explained that Narval develops synthetic Antibody Mimetic ProteinsTM (AMP) to replace conventional antibodies in novel first-in-class therapeutics and makes antibody drugs accessible to everyone.

Read our feature about Narval for more information.

Jose Luis Nuño, Narval
Jose Luis Nuño, Narval

Witching Hour

The company utilizes advanced materials to reduce faults and ignitions of power lines that can lead to catastrophic forest fires. The company offers a two-part product or service: one is a material that coats the high-risk electrical lines to prevent forest fires that can occur for any of several reasons, and the other is a robotic machine that coats the lines, eliminating the need for human intervention and, as a result, providing a much safer solution.

Read our feature about Witching Hour for more information.

Lance Adler, Witching Hour
Lance Adler, Witching Hour

Flutter Care

last, but certainly not least, Dolma Tsundu took the stage to share about her Flutter Care technology. She has designed a product that will sit on pregnant bellies and be able to monitor maternal and fetal health. The patent-pending technology could completely reshape the way the healthcare industry approaches pregnancy.

Tsundu also concluded that she has partnered with the University of Tennessee Medical Center for a preclinical trial. It was a high note to end the night on.

Read our feature about Flutter Care for more information.

Dolma Tsundu, Flutter Care
Dolma Tsundu, Flutter Care


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