UT, ORNL and TVA Join Together to Launch Tech Startup Accelerator

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel | Brenna McDermott | June 3, 2021

From left, roundtable discussion leader Cortney Piper, TVA President & CEO Jeff Lyash, UT President Randy Boyd and ORNL Director Dr. Thomas Zacharia speak at the 2021 Tennessee Valley Corridor National Summit at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn. on Thursday, June 3, 2021. TVA, UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are partnering with Techstars to launch an innovation accelerator that will invest in 30 businesses over next 3 years, filling a gap in the Knoxville-Oak Ridge tech corridor.Three of East Tennessee’s major institutions are launching a collaboration aimed at making the Knoxville-Oak Ridge corridor a national innovation hub.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the University of Tennessee System are partnering with worldwide firm Techstars to launch a startup accelerator that will foster the growth of 30 technology companies over three years.

“We believe this is a start of a future collaboration,” UT System President Randy Boyd told Knox News. “Working together, we can make a profound impact in the community. I think Techstars is a great project by itself, but maybe the bigger story is this new degree of collaboration between these three organizations.”

Techstars’ Industries of the Future Accelerator will specialize in startups using clean energy, artificial intelligence, cyber security, digital currency, 5G and big data to solve problems. Techstars was founded in 2006 and has invested in more than 2,500 companies valued at more than $209 billion.

The leaders of UT, TVA and ORNL say partnering with a firm that has helped launch startups into billion-dollar ventures is the beginning of a larger vision to make the corridor a national destination for entrepreneurs, investors and a skilled workforce.

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