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Alabama’s Innovation Depot names 2022 Velocity Accelerator cohort

The Velocity Accelerator program at Birmingham’s Innovation Depot has accepted seven startup companies to be part of its 2022 cohort. The 13-week program launches Jan. 24 and runs through the end of April.

“Each year, the Velocity Accelerator program is one of the driving forces behind Birmingham’s growing startup ecosystem,” said Drew Honeycutt, CEO of Innovation Depot. “We look forward to providing each of these companies the capital, resources and mentorship they need to scale quickly and effectively.”

This year’s cohort includes a diverse range of sectors, such as browser tech, cryptocurrency, sports tech, consumer apps and health care tech. Five of the seven companies are Birmingham-based. The other two will be relocating to the area for the duration of the program, organizers said.

Two of the companies were developed by graduates of Innovation Depot’s Voltage idea accelerator program, which launched in 2021. The Voltage program was designed as a “stepping stone” for Velocity and other local accelerators, supporting entrepreneurs who have an idea for a tech or tech-enabled business.

“We’re extremely excited about the composition of this year’s cohort and the team of advisers we have slated to work with the 2022 Velocity companies,” said Kellie Clark, Innovation Depot director of programs. “We’re also looking forward to fully implementing our partnership with GrowthX’s Market Acceleration Program and believe that our founders will have all of the tools necessary to achieve a year’s worth of progress in just 13 weeks.”

Innovation Depot is a nonprofit economic development organization at the center of the Birmingham region’s startup community. It operates a range of programs for startups and entrepreneurs at its 140,000-square-foot facility in downtown Birmingham. Innovation Depot officials describe it as the largest tech and entrepreneurial support organization in the Southeast, with a five-year economic impact of more than $2.65 billion.

Innovation Depot invests $50,000 in each company from the Velocity Fund, which is supported by Jefferson County and a host of locally operating businesses and organizations, including Regions Bank, PNC Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield/The Caring Foundation, UAB, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Encompass Health, EBSCO, Brasfield & Gorrie, McWane, Altec, Hoar Construction and Protective Life. Velocity companies have the opportunity to pitch for additional grant funding at the conclusion of the program.

The 2022 cohort members are:

CuddlyTails – a technology platform designed to help dog owners connect with trusted and verified dog-loving neighbors. Founders: Rashi Arora and Rahul Arora.

Datalus – a privacy-focused browser and data marketplace that’s backed by a crypto token. Founder: Mikhail Kozorovitskiy.

Fundrage – a Chrome extension that follows along as you read the news and provides a quick and easy way to donate to relevant nonprofit organizations. Founder: Maria Underwood.

List List – an app and content aggregator that enables users to explore, share and collaborate on information organized through lists. Founders: Piyanka Ghosal and Tyler Duke.

Sportsy – a creator-driven training platform for all sports. Sportsy partners with trainers and empowers them with tools to create, deliver and monetize best-in-class training experiences at scale. Founders: Stefan Vaziri and Chie Akiba.

Vizrom – an electronic whiteboard solution that can connect with hospitals’ electronic medical record systems to pull critical information for clinical staff. Founder: Emmanuel Umoh.

Ziscuit – a grocery search engine that delivers instant savings to shoppers and high-value traffic to retailers. Founder: Mark Peterson.

To learn more about Innovation Depot and its programs, visit innovationdepot.org.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)