autoXLR8R, a mentor-driven accelerator program focused on bringing new automotive technologies to market, will host its first-ever Road Show later this summer with stops planned for Kingsport (July 31), Spring Hill (Aug. 12) and Oak Ridge (Aug. 13).
The success of last year’s Demo Day, coupled with the incredible progress made by this year’s companies, prompted autoXLR8R officials to expand this year’s end-of-program format and agenda. The group of start-ups represents the future of automotive technology with applications ranging from electrification to light-weighting plastics to smart car tech.
“This year’s cohort has attracted a great deal of interest from the manufacturing community, and we are excited to share our stories in Kingsport, Spring Hill and Oak Ridge this summer,” said Jack Sisk, autoXLR8R program manager. “The unique technologies that have been developed address immediate needs within the automotive marketplace, and I am especially interested to see how OEMs and suppliers utilize them moving forward.”
The goal of the autoXLR8R program is to identify, commercialize and fund high-potential technologies applicable to the automotive industry. The program is supported by a network of auto industry executives, engineers and researchers from across the Southeast. The autoXLR8R team seeks to help regional companies grow their product pipelines by connecting with entrepreneurs, early stage technologies and new products.
This year’s Road Show will provide an opportunity for the autoXLR8R companies to network and receive valuable feedback from investors and industry executives in Northeast, Middle and East Tennessee. Six of this year’s companies have ties to the eastern part of the state, demonstrating the region’s strong presence within Tennessee’s thriving automotive manufacturing community.
The lone company from outside the state’s borders is Cyberloop, which arrived at the autoXLR8R from Hong Kong, China. Cyberloop’s founders have developed a product (ISAAC) that connects to a car’s onboard diagnostic port to add predictive safety, navigation and other features to old and new model cars.
The Road Show will begin July 31 at the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce in Kingsport with the program running from 9 – 11 a.m. ET. Less than two weeks later, the Northfield Workforce Development and Conference Center in Spring Hill will host the Road Show on August 12 with the event scheduled from 3 – 5 p.m. CT. The final stop on the Road Show will be held at Tech 20/20 headquarters in Oak Ridge on August 13 from 3 – 5 p.m. ET.
AccelNow, the Tri-Cities entrepreneurial accelerator, along with Eastman Chemical Company, will host the first stop on the Road Show. autoXLR8R company founders and champions will spend the morning delivering their pitch presentations to representatives from Eastman Chemical, along with industry suppliers from local tier 1 and 2 companies, regional economic development officials and members of AccelNow.
“AccelNow is pleased to co-host the first stop on autoXLR8R’s Road Show,” said AccelNow Interim Executive Director Kanishka Biddanda. “The Tri-Cities is home to several thriving automotive and related companies. As a result, we look forward to showcasing autoXLR8R’s technologies for the potential business opportunities for companies in our region.”
The Northfield Workforce Development and Conference Center, autoXLR8R’s “home base” and the former site of the GM-Saturn corporate headquarters, will welcome the local mentors, investors and media members for the second stop of the Road Show.
Tech 20/20, a venture development organization that provided program support, mentorship and in-depth training in business plan development to this year’s cohort, will host the third and final stop on the Road Show. As a full partner in this year’s autoXLR8R program, Tech 20/20 has played an integral role in helping the companies refine their technologies so that they are primed for investment.
“Through our work over the past 13 weeks it has become clear that these companies have the potential to take off,” said John Morris, president and CEO of Tech 20/20. “We are excited to welcome the autoXLR8R Road Show to Oak Ridge where we can continue to foster the companies’ connections with the manufacturing community and introduce them to local investors.”
Road Show Details
Northeast Tennessee autoXLR8R Road Show – Stop 1
When: Thursday, July 31, 9 – 11 a.m.
Where: Kingsport Chamber of Commerce
400 Clinchfield Street, Suite 100 Kingsport, TN 37660
Middle Tennessee autoXLR8R Road Show – Stop 2
When: Tuesday, August 12, 3 – 5 p.m.
Where: Northfield Workforce Development and Conference Center (former GM-Saturn headquarters)
5000 Northfield Lane Spring Hill, TN 37174
East Tennessee autoXLR8R Road Show – Stop 3
When: Wednesday, August 13, 3 – 5 p.m.
Where: Tech 20/20
101 Commerce Park Drive, Oak Ridge, TN 37830
Several of this year’s autoXLR8R technologies were born in Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) or the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF). By utilizing the region’s research institutions as resources with significant innovation and automotive manufacturing ability, autoXLR8R is helping to foster technology commercialization and to cultivate an innovation ecosystem that will lead to increased investment and more high-tech jobs.
“The market validity of these seven technologies has been thoroughly vetted over the past 13 weeks,” said Dan Marcum, executive director of autoXLR8R. “I believe several of the companies in the cohort are well positioned to receive investment, and I’m excited for them to share their stories with investors across the state.”
Technologies included in this year’s autoXLR8R are:
APLAIR Manufacturing Solutions: Software and hardware integrated systems that utilize infrared and laser technologies to improve quality control in assembling sub-components of automobiles and detect discrepancies to prevent the production of defective/non-conforming materials.
Clodico (product “OdorCRUSH”): Powerful and environmentally-friendly odor control and biocide product that has the power to completely eradicate smoke and other odors from cars, thereby restoring the market value of the car.
Cyberloop (product “ISAAC”): Software and hardware application that connects to a car’s onboard diagnostics port to add predictive safety, navigation and other features to old and new model cars.
GrowPlastic: Oak Ridge National Lab technology which uses the complex polymer lignin to produce a non-petroleum-based 100% biodegradable plastic, which can be used in making light-weight car components.
New Hybrid (product “InDrive”): New technology which replaces a torque converter to generate electricity and provide auxiliary power for a hybrid or electric vehicle.
NoWire: New technology developed by Oak Ridge National Lab that provides wireless power transfer to electrify or charge any device or moveable object.
PlateMatch: Self-learning license plate reading technology developed by the University of Tennessee which greatly improves on current technology by increasing efficiency and accuracy.