Jun 14, 2021

Fuel Accelerator Returns Summer 2021, Recruiting for Third Cohort Underway

Fuel will return this summer with its third cohort of seed and growth-stage companies in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Lead by Startup Junkie Foundation and funded by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) and corporate sponsors, the program is recruiting companies to Northwest Arkansas for a 12-week, enterprise-ready accelerator.  

“We are excited to announce the launch of the third iteration of the Fuel Accelerator program. The third cohort will once again be industry agnostic focusing on innovations in artificial intelligence and machine learning that our key enterprise partners can leverage among various aspects of their business model,” said Taylor Hasley Startup Junkie Foundation executive director and Fuel program director. 

“As program director, I am excited about recruiting world-class talent to Northwest Arkansas,” he added, “guiding the cohort to meaningful and lasting relationships with our regional enterprises, and ultimately, to retain that talent and create new jobs in our community.”

Hasley said he and program associates are in the process of recruiting companies for the third cohort of the Fuel Accelerator program.  

“We are looking for seed and growth-stage startups that are ready to take their technology to the next level by pursuing pilot contracts with our regional enterprises. AI covers a large horizontal slice across industry and business units, so we’re seeking a broad scope of solutions from consumer-packaged goods, supply chain, food & beverage, security, HR, advertising and marketing, AgTech, to business process automation and productivity, as well as technologies that are direct enablers of these.”

Interested founders of AI and machine learning companies that are post product with some initial revenue or funding are encouraged to reach out to Hasley at taylor@fuelaccelerator.com.

 Fuel will once feature key programmatic partners such as RevUnit, a strategic technology partner to Walmart, J.B. Hunt, and Tyson, as well from Catapult Consulting, founded and led Tom Douglass, former Director of Emerging Technology at Walmart Stores Inc. In addition, Fuel participants will benefit from mentorship and expertise from various regional, state and national subject matter experts. 

Fuel is made possible by funding from the AEDC, a partnership that has proven successful over the first two iterations of the program. In addition, Fuel is excited to announce new sponsors from partners Movista, ArcBest, and Wright Lindsey Jennings Tech Law.   

“The Fuel Accelerator is a great way for entrepreneurs to gain valuable contacts and skills needed to advance their companies through growth and expansions,” said AEDC Director Mike Preston. “And, in turn, it allows us to promote Arkansas as the ideal location for up-and-coming tech companies to call home.”

“[The Fuel Accelerator] is exciting for the entire state of Arkansas because it illustrates that we are accomplishing a strategic plan, that we’re carrying out our desire to increase not only businesses that can excel in technology but also supply the existing industries here with the talent and technology that’s needed,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said ahead the second cohort launch. 

 “The Fuel Accelerator has had success,” he added. “We’re going to be able to land some great companies that will stay right here when they see what all Arkansas has to offer.” 

In 2017, the Arkansas General Assembly allocated $2 million to be used for accelerator programs. The goal, Hutchinson said, was to recruit startups from across the nation to Arkansas to be mentored and build their company. 

“This accelerator program has exceeded all of our expectations,” Hutchinson said. “These programs have resulted in Arkansas becoming a micro hub of technology and startup companies. We’re looked at, nationally, as a leader because of these accelerator programs.” 

For more information about Fuel Accelerator, visit fuelaccelerator.com.