BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Cartwheel Studio and the University of Alberta Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation are launching the Bounds Accelerator, an Arkansas-based startup accelerator to leverage emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality.
THE 16 week accelerator will bring together entrepreneurs, industry leaders, technology experts and startups to advance digital transformation across the retail value chain. The program begins January 8, 2024 and concludes with an in-person orientation and demonstration day in Bentonville, with weekly remote learning and mentoring sessions.
The program is funded through grants from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and support from Coinbase Ventures, Haun Ventures and the AI Foundation.
Bounds aims to attract 10 strong cohort participants, with a minimum of three startup participants located in Arkansas. These participants are expected to be at the “Seed to Series A” stage and have a strong focus on creating next-generation technology to solve challenges in the retail, transportation, logistics, manufacturing and supply chain.
Josh Stanley, CEO of Wheel Studionoted that Arkansas is in a unique position to help tech startups thanks to a host of large companies located in the state.
“Arkansas has global reach within the retail value chain, thanks to local industry leaders like Walmart, Tyson Foods, ArcBest, JB Hunt and others,” Stanley said. “There is no better place in the world than here to run an emerging technology accelerator targeting supply chain or retail-related concepts.”
The Bounds Accelerator includes partnerships with Coinbase Ventures, Haun Ventures, the AI Foundation and other leading companies to provide cohort companies with access to a vast network of business and investment connections.
Additionally, the University of Alberta’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation will pair each Bounds Accelerator participant with a paid intern as well as mentoring and advisory support, including optimization audits large-scale growth.
Bounds program mentors will include a mix of experienced startup founders, technologists working at the intersection of AI and Web3, product managers, subject matter experts from the retail value chain, renowned academics, as well as experienced professionals and executives from Arkansas-based businesses.
Startups are often the first sector to “see and leverage” emerging technologies, and this partnership gives the University of Alberta’s industry partners access to “innovative people and products that could quickly advance the existing business objectives,” according to Sarah Goforth, Managing Director. from the university’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
“In turn, startups will have access and exposure to some of the largest and most influential customers and investors in the world. And our students will be at the forefront of this exchange of value.
About the University of Alberta Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation creates and organizes innovation and entrepreneurship experiences for students across disciplines. Through the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub, McMillon Innovation Studio, Startup Village, and Greenhouse at the Bentonville Collaborative, the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation offers free workshops and programs, including design teams social and business innovation, business internships, competitions and startup coaching. A unit of the Sam M. Walton College of Business and the Division of Economic Development, the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation also provides on-demand support to students who will be innovators within existing organizations and to entrepreneurs who start something new.