UMSL interns to partner with six new startups in second annual Ameren Accelerator cohort
There were many reasons Ameren Chairman, President and CEO Warner Baxter signed on for St. Louis’ first energy-focused business accelerator.
Improving the Ameren customer experience and exposing employees to other energy experts were among the key selling points. But the chance to offer internships to students at the University of Missouri–St. Louis sealed the deal.
“You see the interns,” Baxter said as he pointed into the standing-room-only crowd Thursday at the second annual Ameren Accelerator announcement party. “This was an opportunity for us to give the interns an opportunity to get engaged in the energy space, number one. Two, they have the opportunity to not just work with our folks but also each one of these companies.”
The Ameren Accelerator, a program that assesses, mentors and invests in promising startups, launched in 2017 with the support of the University of Missouri System, UMSL Accelerate and Capital Innovators. During the inaugural 12-week program, 10 UMSL students and mentors from across the university system worked directly with the fledgling companies.
Ameren Accelerator returns for a second year this summer, and a new group of interns will be working alongside the six selected startups.
“I want the best and brightest in the energy space, and I want the best and brightest working for Ameren each and every day,” said Baxter, an alumnus of the UMSL College of Business Administration. “Students from the last cohort are already working full time for those companies, and these new students are going to do great things for us.”
The six companies, which were announced during Thursday’s launch event at the Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis, offer technologies in a variety of fields from cybersecurity to ride-sharing.
Each startup will receive up to $100,000 in funding while also being mentored by the Ameren Accelerator partners. The participants will be based out of UMSL Accelerate and Capital Innovators co-working spaces, located in the Cortex district.
“This year, we had over 330 applications, and we picked the best and brightest,” Founding Executive Director of UMSL Accelerate Dan Lauer said. “The six companies are diverse in solutions, diverse in where they come from and their experiences, so we can’t wait.”
The companies participating in the 2018 cohort are:
- Applied Particle of St. Louis, which developed a wearable exposure-monitoring system for employees working in potentially hazardous spaces
- Jrop of Canada, which is designing a standardized pick-up and drop-off process for ride-sharing and driverless vehicles
- Narya Security of Israel, which offers a tool for ransomware infections that decrypts infected data and removes malware
- ResilientGrid of Austin, Texas, which has developed a visualization software designed to improve public safety and grid resiliency by assisting operators to avert and respond to critical situations
- Ryvit of St. Louis, which offers a platform that improves productivity in the construction industry by implementing and connecting commonly used applications
- and TouchLight of Brooklyn, New York, which is developing floor tiles that harvest and generate electricity as people walk across them.
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