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March 10, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Ten start-ups join Cohort 3 of the “Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator”

Programming starts March 11 in Knoxville. The public has a chance to meet the entrepreneurs at an introductory event March 18.

Ten start-ups have been selected as participants in the 2024 class of the “Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator” that begins its 13-week programming March 11 in Knoxville.

Managing Director Brandon Bruce said many of the companies had already arrived in the region by last week for the third cohort of the program that is run by Techstars in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee Valley Authority, and the University of Tennessee.

Each of the 10 is a promising, early stage company focused on emerging technologies across industries including artificial intelligence, climate tech, advanced materials and manufacturing, biotech, medtech, and clean energy.

“These start-ups have the potential to transform the future of their industries,” Bruce said. “Knoxville leads the world in a lot of different industries including supercomputing, public power, nuclear security and safety, homebuilding, travel centers, lifestyle media, theaters, recreational watercraft building, pet products, jewelry, advanced manufacturing, cleantech, and the most visited national park in the country. What’s next? The founders of these companies have the energy and commitment to be part of the next wave of success stories in the Knoxville and Oak Ridge region.” 

The 10 companies are:

  • AutoMetrics which is committed to enhancing manufacturing quality by building the machine brain for industrial automation. Powered by machine learning and analytics, its Inspection 4.0 technology provides real-time monitoring for welding and other industrial operations to reduce costly defects and downtime.
  • Dig Robotics develops a dedicated guidance and control system for excavators. It improves efficiency by 40 percent by ensuring bucket fill every cycle, while reducing excavation time, energy consumption, and green house gas emissions.
  • Flutter Care builds digital health tools to promote maternal and fetal health. The Flutter Care Pregnancy Health Companion includes an always-on real-time fetal kick counter to promote inclusive, informed, and accessible perinatal care.
  • Narval develops synthetic Antibody Mimetic ProteinsTM (AMP) to replace conventional antibodies in novel first-in-class therapeutics and make antibody drugs accessible to everyone. The company makes antibodies as affordable, accessible, and easy to use as small molecule drugs.
  • NeuroX1 utilizes high-performance computing and machine learning to identify and treat neurodegenerative diseases that affect millions of people each year, reinvigorating the neurodegenerative pipeline.
  • NKA Bio develops new medicines to improve critical care. Its lead product, NKA01, is a temperature-stable antibody for trauma patients. With an injection of NKA01 by a trained Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic, more time is available for transport and lifesaving surgery.
  • Orbital Arc develops novel ion thrusters using a patent-pending ionization technology that produces ions at about 4 times as efficiently as competing Hall Effect and gridded ion thrusters. These electric propulsion thrusters operate at higher thrust while in low-power regimes.
  • Perleybrook Labs seamlessly 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 named Flagman can identify potential safety hazards and alert personnel in real-time, helping prevent accidents before they occur.
  • 3D Solar is enabling the carbon zero future by engineering highly efficient, easy to manufacture, deploy-anywhere solar. Their process allows micro-solar 3D cells to be manufactured close to carbon neutral by re-using glass from discarded solar panels.
  • Witching Hour utilizes advanced materials to reduce faults and ignitions of power lines that can lead to catastrophic forest fires. The start-up’s technology can reduce mitigation costs by up to 97 percent.

During the 13 weeks the participants are in Knoxville, they will be working toward major milestones including signing more customers, iterating products, refining algorithms, building prototypes, and raising capital. They’ll be boosted by dozens of committed mentors from Knoxville and the global Techstars network.

Bruce says there is still time to sign up to be a mentor. And the founders will be assisted by 10 talented student interns from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The community can meet the founders at the Kickoff Event on March 18, and they can see the progress they’ve made at the Demo Day on June 6. 

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