Fuel Accelerator expands with cybersecurity cohort in 2024

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 867 views 

Fayetteville-based nonprofit Startup Junkie Foundation announced Monday (Feb. 12) that it is adding a cybersecurity cohort to its 2024 Fuel Accelerator program.

Fuel is a no-cost, no-equity accelerator with office space at the Ledger office building in downtown Bentonville. Since its establishment in 2018, Fuel has pioneered six accelerator programs with 51 cohort companies across supply chain, healthtech and artificial intelligence.

“In essence, our dedication to advancing cybersecurity businesses in Northwest Arkansas is not just about protecting data,” Fuel Director Darian Harris said. “It’s about fortifying the foundations of our digital community, ensuring a secure and resilient future for us all.”

Entrepreneur-in-residence Sajan Gautam recently joined Fuel to lead the cybersecurity program. Gautam, a cybersecurity executive turned advisor/investor, has more than 20 years of experience in various information security roles. He was previously the chief information security officer (CISO) for Arvest Bank.

“Even though we hear a lot about cybersecurity startups lately, we need more to address the problem,” Gautam said. “We have a lot of potential in Northwest Arkansas to be one of the hubs for the cybersecurity startup community.

“I am very excited to join Fuel Accelerator to lead the cybersecurity program cohorts where I will work very closely with founders, venture capitalists, businesses, academia and numerous community development programs to build and strengthen the Cybersecurity ecosystem here in NWA.”

Applications for the 10-week cybersecurity program are open. It begins in June 2024.