Techstars Joins Forces With Tennessee Powerhouses to Bring the Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator to Oak Ridge-Knoxville in 2022

Techstars, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee Valley Authority and the University of Tennessee announce new accelerator focused on emerging technologies to support technological breakthroughs and economic security

Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, today announced the launch of the Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator, a new Oak Ridge-Knoxville based program committed to supporting and advancing world-class startups focused on emerging technologies across industries including artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing, quantum information science, 5G/advanced wireless technology, biotechnology and clean energy technology. This marks the first of Techstars’ accelerator programs based in Tennessee.

The accelerator will run in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the University of Tennessee (UT) in support of the organizations’ shared missions of identifying, developing and implementing innovation solutions across the Industries of the Future and staying at the forefront of these competitive and evolving industries.

“Working with ORNL, TVA and UT to foster an environment where startups building advancements in the Industries of the Future can come together and thrive is a unique and galvanizing opportunity,” said Techstars General Manager Nancy Wolff. “The heart of the Oak Ridge Corridor and the abundant scientific research and quantum computing facilities available to entrepreneurs is game changing for startups tackling the most critical problems of our future.”

Ten startups will be selected to participate in each annual accelerator class where they will receive funding and hands-on mentorship from the Techstars, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee Valley Authority and the University of Tennessee networks, access to curated workshops and resources and admittance to the Techstars global network for life. In bringing these startups to Oak Ridge-Knoxville, the program will support and drive growth of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The chief executives of the three partners will discuss the accelerator today at the Tennessee Valley Corridor Summit at the University of Tennessee.

“Research and technologies from ORNL and from companies that have grown up here have made a difference in lives around the world,” said Thomas Zacharia, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “In the next three years, the Techstars accelerator will attract high-potential companies in fields that will define the economy in the generations to come. This is a unique opportunity to share our region’s great strengths with rising entrepreneurs.”

The inaugural class of the Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator will operate over a three-month period from January 2022 through April 2022. Applications will open for the first year of the program this July 19, 2021 and be accepted through October 6, 2021.

“The University of Tennessee is committed to being an economic driver for the region,” said Randy Boyd, president of University of Tennessee. “The resources available with our partners and through the Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator will establish Knoxville as a world-class location for breakthrough technology startups to benefit people and provide jobs. Working together, this initiative will catalyze tremendous entrepreneurial growth for our region’s future.”

"Today, innovative startup companies have the opportunity to deliver impactful benefits, similar to those of nearly 90 years ago when TVA first brought electricity that transformed the lives of the people in this region we are privileged to serve," said Jeff Lyash, president and CEO of TVA. "We look forward to supporting the companies that participate in the Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator to drive advanced solutions with enormous energy, economic and environmental benefits for the people of the Valley, the country and the world."

Startups interested in the program are encouraged to learn more by visiting the Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator page or expressing interest here. Corporations interested in corporate innovation partnership opportunities with Techstars can learn more at

About Techstars

The Techstars worldwide network helps entrepreneurs succeed. Founded in 2006, Techstars began with three simple ideas—entrepreneurs create a better future for everyone, collaboration drives innovation, and great ideas can come from anywhere. Now we are on a mission to enable every person on the planet to contribute to, and benefit from, the success of entrepreneurs. In addition to operating accelerator programs and venture capital funds, we do this by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to help build thriving startup communities. Techstars has invested in more than 2,500 companies with a combined market cap of more than $207B.

About the University of Tennessee

Founded in 1794, UT is big on tradition, and is proud of its beginnings as the first public university chartered west of the Appalachian Divide. The UT System enrolls about 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students statewide, and more than 11,000 students graduate from UT campuses each year. The UT System’s delivery of education, discovery, outreach and public service contributes to the economic, social and environmental well-being of all Tennesseans.

About Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security. ORNL’s diverse capabilities span a broad range of scientific and engineering disciplines, enabling the Laboratory to explore fundamental science challenges and to carry out the research needed to accelerate the delivery of marketplace solutions.

About the Tennessee Valley Authority

The Tennessee Valley Authority provides electricity for 153 local power companies serving 10 million people in Tennessee and parts of six surrounding states, as well as directly to 57 large industrial customers and federal installations. We don't get taxpayer funding; rather our revenues come from sales of electricity. TVA also provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system, and assists local power companies and regional governments with their economic development efforts.


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