Fayetteville-based nonprofit Startup Junkie Foundation announced Thursday (July 29) that its 2021 Fuel Accelerator program will start Tuesday (Aug. 3). The program, in its third iteration, is an artificial intelligence and machine learning accelerator to help startups in these fields connect to regional enterprise partners.
Supported by the Walton Family Foundation and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the 12-week Fuel Accelerator program will provide hands-on education and workshops for 10 companies from across the United States and India. Participants will have access to other startup founders, industry experts, higher education institutions and public policy officials.
“We are excited to welcome 10 outstanding new cohort participants focusing on artificial intelligence to Northwest Arkansas for the 2021 Fuel Accelerator program,” said Taylor Hasley, executive director of Startup Junkie Foundation. “Throughout these 12 weeks, they’ll be exposed to industry-leading enterprises, mentors and the wonderful quality of life our region has to offer. Our curriculum is designed with the ultimate goal of winning revenue and growing their business in hopes of establishing permanent roots in Northwest Arkansas.”
Following are the Fuel Accelerator participants:
- GraphLI of San Jose, Calif.
- Simporter of Atlanta
- Fountain9 of Mumbai, India
- 3DIMO of San Francisco
- SwiftGo Inc. of Houston
- CXO Nexus Inc. of New York
- ClearOPS of New York
- Junction AI of Dallas
- Moment AI of Arlington, Va.
- Rocketmat of Southlake, Texas
“These 10 cohort companies have technology ranging from automated insight discovery, vendor risk and spend management, inventory planning, market research, last mile and supply chain optimization, AdTech, HR and the future of in-store retail,” Hasley said.
“Although the pandemic presented a challenge to our recruiting efforts, we are confident this cohort will bring exponential gains to our enterprise partners from the efficiencies created in these areas,” he added. “The diversity and geographic reach of this cohort echo the level of opportunity and lifestyle Northwest Arkansas has to offer on a global scale.”
Fuel is led by Startup Junkie Foundation and Catapult Consulting, and the curriculum was developed by GrowthX and Bentonville-based RevUnit, which has been active in the program for three years. Catapult Consulting is led by Tom Douglass, former director of emerging technology at Walmart. In June, the collaboration with GrowthX was announced, and the Silicon Valley-based venture capital fund will incorporate its Market Acceleration Program (MXP) into the Fuel Accelerator. MXP is an online platform that combines live coaching, on-demand training and interactive playbooks.
“GrowthX is excited to lock arms with these organizations to multiply the impact of Fuel on these incredible cohort companies,” said Andrew Goldner, CEO and founding partner of GrowthX. “We all share the core belief that entrepreneurism can fuel the economy and create jobs when capital is combined with go-to-market expertise.”
This will be Fuel Accelerator’s second year to focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning. The first program in late 2018 was focused on supply chain startups. A welcome reception for the 2021 participants will take place Tuesday in Bentonville.