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Two-year incubator program at UT Research Park supports East Tennessee’s most promising hard tech startups with crucial resources and guidance
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Spark Incubator Program, a strategic initiative within the Spark Innovation Center at the University of Tennessee (UT) Research Park at Cherokee Farm, has selected eight early-stage tech companies to participate in its 2022-2023 program.
The two-year program, led by John Bruck and Carol Seamons, was launched in September 2020 to provide some of the East Tennessee region’s most promising hard tech startups with access to top quality laboratory space at the UT Research Park, as well as mentoring, guidance, and introductions to potential customers, partners, and investors.
“Few regions of the country have the technology assets that we do here in East Tennessee,” said Bruck. “The State’s flagship land grant university and the nation’s largest science and energy laboratory located within 20 miles of each other provide a unique fusion of location, assets, collaboration, research, and entrepreneurial guidance – everything that a startup needs to be successful. On behalf of the Spark Innovation Center Selection Committee, we are thrilled to welcome these eight promising entrepreneurs to the 2022-2023 Spark Incubator Program.”
The 2022-2023 selected companies include:
- Addiguru, LLC, represented by CEO & President Shuchi “SK” Khurana, provides in-situ monitoring technology for the Additive Manufacturing (AM) processes;
- American Nanotechnologies Inc., represented by CTO Zach Gault, leverages low-cost, high-purity semiconducting carbon nanotubes to make state of the art chemical sensors;
- BECQ/Neutroelectric, represented by Founder & CEO Danielle Castley, has developed a high-temperature, lightweight neutron-shielding technology that will help reduce costs and increase safety in the nuclear industry;
- FC Renew, LLC, represented by CEO Philip Stuckey, has developed a novel low-cost process to restore degraded hydrogen fuel cells;
- Holocene Climate Corporation, represented by Co-Founders Anca Timofte and Tobias Ruesch, is harnessing organic chemistry to remove CO2 from the atmosphere;
- Orion Therapeutics Inc., represented by CEO & Co-Founder Richard ‘Trey’ Fisher, ensures the clinical success of early-stage RNA therapy and vaccine development programs;
- Qubit Engineering Inc., represented by CEO & Co-Founder Marouane Salhi, a quantum computing company that has developed new optimization methods for micro-siting for wind turbines; and
- RAEV, represented by CEO & President David Castley, is developing an urban transportation system of small, shareable electric vehicles.
During the two year program, the Spark Innovation Center provides companies access to top quality lab space, business model development and introductions to early-stage investors, connections with top researchers at UT, introductions to other entrepreneurial service providers in the region, mentoring through the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council’s (TAEBC) mentor network, and connections with established companies in the Research Park and throughout the region.
“This is really a great group of companies, focusing on many different technologies, including materials science, quantum computing, energy storage, carbon capture, and biotechnology,” said Tom Rogers, President and CEO of the UT Research Park. . “Our goal at Spark is to provide them with the facilities and resources they need to successfully commercialize their technologies and grow their companies here in Knoxville.”
Among other offerings, Spark Incubator companies are able to access both student interns and prototyping services at UT at discounted rates through the Center for Materials Processing, as well as participate in monthly progress meetings and tailored workshops on topics such as Being a CEO or Hiring One, Funding Strategies for Early-Stage Companies, Business Engagement, and more.
The Spark Innovation Center is also a member of the Heartland Climate Tech Partnership, which works across the entire Midwest regional startup community to help make sure that the region can grow and retain its very best entrepreneurial startups.
Funding support for the Spark Incubator Program is provided by the University of Tennessee, TVA, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), , LaunchTN, and the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC)..
For additional information about the Spark Incubator Program or the Spark Innovation Center at the UT Research Park, please contact John Bruck at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Spark Innovation Center
The Spark Innovation Center is an initiative of the University of Tennessee Research Park, and builds on the facilities and expertise at the University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Spark focuses on helping promising energy and other advanced technology companies grow, offering access to top quality lab space, expert mentoring, and coordinating support services from nine partner organizations in the region.