News & Events
Spark Cleantech Accelerator Graduates First Cohort of Companies
Knoxville, Tenn. — Cohort One of the Spark Cleantech Accelerator (Spark CTA), a partner of the Heartland Climate Tech Partnership, marked its graduation after presenting final pitches during the Spark Demo Day event at the University of Tennessee’s Howard Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy.
“The Spark Demo Day marked more than just a graduation of five cleantech startups,” said Cortney Piper, Executive Director of the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC). “It was a testament to how far the Knoxville-Oak Ridge innovation and entrepreneurial community has come in the past decade, underscoring the region’s progress as a technology and innovation center. Knoxville is building a cleantech hub and TAEBC is proud to support the growth of that hub with programs like our Energy Mentor Network and partnership with Launch Tennessee that make initiatives like Spark CTA possible.”
The 12-week Spark Cleantech Accelerator program, directed by John Bruck at the Spark Innovation Center within the University of Tennessee Research Park and supported by TAEBC’s Energy Mentor Network, led companies through a comprehensive curriculum including customer discovery, product-market fit, financial modeling, organizational development, and investor outreach.
Read more about the graduation and Demo Day event in Teknovation, here.
Profiles on each of the five Spark CTA Cohort One graduate companies can be found below.
- Ed Chan of GroundStar (Cincinnati, OH)
- Dave Castley of RAEV (Philadelphia, PA)
- Kay Baker of Green Llama (Johnson City, TN)
- Ryan Ginder of Windfall (Knoxville, TN)
- jhana porter of Frakktal (Houston, TX)
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 technology companies grow, offering access to top quality lab space, expert mentoring, and coordinating support services from nine partner organizations in the region.
About Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council
TAEBC champions advanced energy as an economic development and job creation strategy. Advanced energy is technology neutral and includes electricity and transportation. Anything that makes energy cleaner, safer, more secure or more efficient is in the tent. No other entity in the state concentrates specifically on this robust sector. We educate public officials and business leaders about Tennessee’s advanced energy economy, establish strategic partnerships to connect assets with opportunities, and inform policy that expands and strengthens the industry. For more information, visit: https://tnadvancedenergy.com/.