Innovation Depot’s Velocity Accelerator program has announced the eight startup companies that have been accepted into the 2021 cohort. More than fifty companies applied for the opportunity to take part in the program, and the cohort was narrowed down through a competitive process.
The 2021 cohort covers a diverse range of sectors, including artificial intelligence, education technology, sports and entertainment, construction, consumer apps, healthcare, sustainability and logistics. Five of the companies are based in the Birmingham area, one is based in Tuscaloosa, AL, another is based in Lexington, TN, and the final company is dually based in Washington, DC and Madison, WI. Innovation Depot has had tremendous success with the first four Velocity cohorts and will continue to recruit the best emerging tech-enabled companies in Birmingham and to Birmingham.
“We are extremely proud of the economic impact the Velocity Accelerator program has already had on the Birmingham metro area,” said Drew Honeycutt, CEO of Innovation Depot. “We’re providing access to the capital, resources and the mentorship needed for startups to grow and scale quickly.”
Due to the pandemic, the 2021 cohort of the Velocity Accelerator will primarily take place virtually with a few socially-distant learning opportunities at Innovation Depot. The teams will undergo 13 weeks of intensive business and leadership development. The cohort kicks off on January 25th and will conclude in April, likely with a Digital Demo Week to replace the usual in-person Demo Day.
“Our ecosystem is maturing and growing, and so are our expectations here at The Depot,” said Kellie Clark, Director of Programs. “We’re looking for the best, coachable and talented founders in our region who are poised to make a year’s worth of progress in only 13 weeks. Our application process this cycle was rigorous; so many talented founders applied. The entrepreneurs we selected are tenacious and committed to contributing to our ecosystem.”
Innovation Depot invests $50,000 in each company from the Velocity Fund, which is supported by Regions Bank, BBVA, Blue Cross Blue Shield/The Caring Foundation, UAB, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Encompass Health, EBSCO, Brasfield & Gorrie, McWane, Altec, Hoar Construction, Protective Life, and Jefferson County. The Velocity companies will also have the opportunity to pitch for additional grant funding at the conclusion of the program.
The 2021 cohort includes:
Field Culture Compost
Founders: Matt Nesbitt and Alexander Thompson
Field Culture Compost is Alabama's first ever community scale composting facility. We stand as the model for Organic Waste Recycling by helping to divert organic wastes that would otherwise end up in landfills.Through a process of heat and time, we convert that waste into an environmentally-safe and conscientious resource.
Founders: Thomas Coiner and Michael Bollenbach
ProU is a sports platform that empowers college fans to keep up with and watch highlights of their former favorites now in professional leagues. Gamification and bragging rights are baked into ProU's virtual competition between schools. Download the ProU app today at www.prou.app.
Founders: Camille Mackenzie and Carson Mackenzie
Renobi is a distributed data management platform that displays a singular view of your data in real-time. We simplify the coordination of both data and business operations through custom analytical reports, an in-depth audit history, a singular view of your compiled data, and comprehensive data tracking in real-time.
Founders: Patrick Visintainer and Spencer Ware
REPOWR is a virtual community that allows for B2B truck and trailer rentals. The company provides a platform for transportation companies to rent out owned equipment, generate extra revenue and bring value to the supply chain’s underutilized equipment. Think Airbnb for commercial transportation equipment.
Set Me Up!
Founder: Adelaide Matte
Set Me Up optimizes modern dating. We make it our mission to create meaningful matches. Our purpose is to optimize the use of dating technology to safely meet people in person. Our app boasts no chatting beforehand, no swiping, and expectations communicated upfront. (Ages 25+)
Washington, DC and Madison, WI
Founders: Noah Kim, Alper Turgut and Charlie Strohl
SportAI is a mobile app integrated with AI that optimizes your fantasy sports lineups and helps users easily understand sports analytics.
Founders: Joshua Mickler, Lauren Sanders and Chris Reese
TUTR is a tech company that enables widespread access to local tutors for Alabama college students through the safest and most convenient means available during COVID-19. College students can request local tutors for any number of questions (1min+), 24/7 via Text, Video-chat, Digital Whiteboard, & In-person.
Founder: Victor Brown, Dr. Lakiesha Crawford and Samuel Berestizhevsky
Xcellent Life a digital health and wellness company that provides an A.I. powered software and a mobile app for real-time human diagnostics, kind of like an OnStar System but for the human body. We empower health by analyzing, diagnosing, predicting and prescribing health conditions and outcomes, while incentivizing healthy behaviors.
About Innovation Depot:
Innovation Depot, a 501(c)3 nonprofit economic development organization, is the epicenter for technology, startups and entrepreneurs in the Birmingham region. Operating various programs inside a 140,000 square foot facility, Innovation Depot is the largest tech and entrepreneurial support organization in the Southeast United States, with a five-year economic impact of over $2.65 Billion. For more information, please visit innovationdepot.org.
Check out this intro video to learn a little bit more about each of the companies!