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Oak Ridge National Lab Is Growing New Technology Companies In Tennessee

By Tom Rogers, Director of Industrial and Economic Development Partnerships at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Innovation Crossroads is one of the country’s top advanced energy accelerators

Some of the brightest technology innovators in the country are coming to Tennessee to build companies through Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Innovation Crossroads accelerator—and they’re getting important support from LaunchTN.

Innovation Crossroads is an entrepreneurial fellowship program sponsored by the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. Each year, we conduct a national search for the best technology innovators and provide them with a two-year fellowship, R&D funding, and a full range of business mentorship and advice.

We currently have eight startups at Innovation Crossroads whose founders come from some of the most prestigious universities in the nation. These innovators have moved to Oak Ridge to spend two years growing their ideas into companies that can have a real impact on the energy economy.  

In support of the Innovation Crossroads entrepreneurs, LaunchTN has:

  • Teamed with the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council to create the Energy Mentor Network, which links our young entrepreneurs with seasoned business execs and investors across the state;
  • Provided micro-grants to help entrepreneurs receive the technical expertise needed to raise more early-stage grant funding, and established the state’s first matching grants for winners of federal small business awards; and
  • Agreed to host a showcase for Innovation Crossroads at 36|86 in August 2018 in Nashville, which will provide our startups with exposure to potential customers, partners, and investors from across the country.

LaunchTN’s involvement is having a real impact. Yellowstone Energy has been awarded a $2.6 million award from DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-e) program that will enable them to advance plans for a novel advanced nuclear reactor.

SkyNano has won several business pitch competitions around the country for an innovative process to produce carbon nanotubes.

Active Energy Systems recently won $50,000 in an ORNL Shark Tank-style competition for the best new ideas in energy storage.

This September, Innovation Crossroads will take applications for a third cohort of technology innovators. With the help of LaunchTN and other partners, we will continue to build Tennessee’s brand as one of the country’s best places to start and grow new tech companies.

To learn more about this opportunity, visit InnovationCrossroads.ornl.gov.

Only at 36|86, preview top Innovation Crossroads startups embedded at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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