May 18, 2020

Fuel Accelerator Concludes with Jobs Created, Millions Invested

The 2020 Fuel Accelerator recently concluded with 12 graduating startups from seven states and five countries having successfully secured millions in investments and created more than a dozen Arkansas jobs. 

The Fuel Accelerator, in its second iteration, is a 14-week collaborative program that matched growth-stage, artificial intelligence startups with key enterprise partners in order to accelerate the development of tangible technology solutions to some of the most significant industry challenges. 

During the course of the 14-week program, representatives of each participating startup received mentoring from more than 65 industry experts and enterprise leaders as they worked to secure investments and pilots with corporate entities in the region. 

“Despite all the challenges faced by COVID-19 we are incredibly pleased with the outcomes of the program,” said Taylor Hasley, Startup Junkie executive director and Fuel Accelerator director. “Over half the cohort participants are establishing a presence in Northwest Arkansas, resulting in the creation of several new jobs.”

Fuel startups secured nearly $4 million in investments during the accelerator program and created at least 15 jobs in Arkansas. The accelerator program concluded with as many as twenty-two pilots in discussion with three pilot contracts closed. 

The program not only encouraged participating startups to form Arkansas-based teams but also led to one relocating its headquarters to Bentonville. Truckish, a fleet management software startup, moved its headquarters from Memphis, Tenn. to Northwest Arkansas during the accelerator. 

The 2020 Fuel Accelerator faced unprecedented challenges with the rise of COVID-19 halfway through the program, forcing facilitators to pivot to an online-only platform for the safety of all participants, with cohort members traveling from domestic and international virus hotspots. Despite challenges, the program faced as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, engagement among all the participating companies remained high. 

“Although the cohort was not able to spend as much time in our region as we hoped, it was enough to convince the majority to establish a permanent presence here. This echoes the amazing opportunities and lifestyle Northwest Arkansas has to offer,” Hasley said. 

The Fuel Accelerator program concluded with a virtual Demo Day held on April 29, where the 12 cohort companies pitched their AI solutions to an audience of enterprise partners, customers and investors. 

2020 Fuel Cohort Companies

Cognitive Talent Solutions (CTS) – A global People Analytics provider focusing its activity on Organizational Network Analysis and Organizational Restructuring Simulation. 

HQ:     New York City, NY      

Curie – Computer vision for the remote economy. It is a platform-as- a-service where brands and retailers can integrate into their app to bring the store experience into the home. 

HQ:     Seattle, WA                  

Inferencery – AI Impact Management (AI2M) with risk mitigation and explainability; client-side or on-the-edge federated machine learning for real-time and secure AI.

HQ:     Ashburn, VA                             

Issac.AI – A Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) company focused on reducing uncertainty in growing, investing in and acquiring companies by providing better data resources. 

HQ:     Little Rock, AR            

Journey Foods – An enterprise technology that improves product management and development for CPG companies, ingredient suppliers, and food manufacturers.

HQ:     Chicago, IL                  

Sorcero – An enterprise Natural Language Processing platform that supports expert-driven decision making in the life science and insurance industries.  

HQ:     Washington DC            

SummarizeBot – A data science and AI-driven company specializing in information extraction, structuring, and analysis.

HQ:     Riga, Latvia, EU                       

Swivl – Automates repetitive tasks via NLP (chat and voice), a powerful workflow builder, and integrations in customers’ technology stack – all while keeping humans-in-the-loop.

HQ:     Denver, CO                  

TPS Engage – The largest cross-border dynamic Digital Out of Home platform, helping companies of any size optimize their digital outdoor campaigns using any type of data as a content trigger.

HQ:     New York City             

Truckish – Save time and money with the comprehensive fleet management platform that integrates the tools you need into a single, convenient, and affordable system. Truckish moved their headquarters from Memphis to Bentonville during the program. 

HQ:     Bentonville, AR                        

Unmanned Life – The world’s first Autonomy-as-a-Service software platform to deploy and manage aerial and ground vehicles, both indoors and outdoors, fully autonomously.

HQ:     London, UK                 

Vocinity – Enabling enterprises to quickly build and deploy Cognitive Conversational Agents that interact like humans, using natural spoken language, for sales, customer support, admin, concierge and other roles.

HQ:     Martinsburg, WV