by Tyler Hale
Fourteen artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning companies will be heading to Northwest Arkansas in January as part of the Fuel Accelerator.
Billing itself as the state’s first AI and machine learning accelerator, the Fuel Accelerator is bringing 14 companies from across the United States, Europe and Asia to spend 12 weeks learning from regional enterprise partners. The accelerator cohort will spend their time developing networks by meeting with startup founders, public policy officials and industry professionals, as well as participating in workshops.
The accelerator officially kicks off the last week of January, according to Caleb Talley, Startup Junkie Director of Marketing and Events.
This marks the second iteration of the Fuel Accelerator, founded in 2018, which originally focused on supply chain companies. The first accelerator brought eight companies to the state, including several notable Arkansas companies, including Luncher and AMBOTS, as well as Oculogx, which later moved its headquarters to Northwest Arkansas.
The Fuel Accelerator is partnership between RevUnit and Startup Junkie. The accelerator’s curriculum has been developed by RevUnit while Startup Junkie oversees the facilitation of the program.
Shifting the accelerator’s focus to AI and machine learning was designed to highlight the significant impact that AI/ML companies have on the business ecosystem, according to program officials.
“Artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science are some of the most disruptive technologies in the world today. They are critical enablers of many transformative opportunities having direct consequence to the enterprise, RevUnit Director of Machine Learning Colin Shaw says. “For Fuel to cultivate these technologies and help some of the most innovative startups in the space bring their ideas to the enterprise is very powerful and a great opportunity for everyone involved.”
Startup Junkie’s Fuel Accelerator director Taylor Hasley adds that the AI/ML companies affect a wide range of industries throughout the world. In just the accelerator cohort, he says, the companies have “technology ranging from food innovation to digital commerce, customer success, human resource, AdTech, supply chain optimization, legal, and automated insight discovery.”
The 14 companies participating in the Fuel Accelerator include:
- Cognitive Talent Solutions – New York City, New York
- Commerce.AI – Sunnyvale, California
- Curie – Seattle, Washington
- DriveTrust – Rennes, France
- Inferencery – Bentonville, Arkansas
- issac.ai – Little Rock, Arkansas
- Journey Foods – Chicago, Illinois
- Sorcero – Washington, D.C.
- SummerizeBot – Latvia/Belarus/South Korea
- swivl – Denver, Colorado
- TPS Engage – New York/Romania/Dubai/South Korea
- Truckish – Memphis, Tennessee
- Unmanned Life – San Francisco/London
- Vocinity – Martinsburg, West Virginia
Two Arkansas companies will be participating in the accelerator. These companies include Inferencery, based in Bentonville, and issac.ai of Little Rock.
Inferencery is an early stage startup that has products in development, including “AI Impact Management (AI2M) with risk mitigation and explainability, and client-side or on-the-edge federated machine learning for real-time and secure AI.”
Based in Little Rock, issa.ai is a data-as-a-service company that is “focused on reducing uncertainty in growing, investing in and acquiring companies by providing better data resources.” The company collects company internal data, including financial and cultural data, and aggregates that data and provides analytics.
The second Fuel Accelerator was first announced in September 2019 during a press conference with Gov. Asa Hutchinson. At the event, Hutchinson called the accelerator an “exciting” opportunity that “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.”