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Former Mercedes CEO, Bill Taylor, among tapped to advise accelerator participants

Alabama has joined the Automotive Accelerator Alliance, an alliance of Southern states created to strengthen the region’s collective ability to foster new technology development in the automotive manufacturing sector. The Alliance includes Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi.

Each state’s resources will be leveraged in support of an annual 13-week autoXLR8R program. The goal of the autoXLR8R program is to identify, commercialize and fund high-potential technologies applicable to the automotive industry. The first accelerator will take place in Spring Hill, Tennessee May 13 – August 8 culminating in a final week of pitch presentations to investors. Applications are being accepted now through April 22.

The Alliance and the autoXLR8R program are supported by the University of Alabama’s Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute (AEI) and the Alabama Automotive Manufacturing Association (AAMA). AEI works with the University of Alabama’s engineering and business departments to support technology commercialization. Several entrepreneurs from Alabama will apply to the autoXLR8R program.

“We have a number of strong technologies that are being developed in the University of Alabama’s Engineering Department,” said Ron Davis, Executive Director of AEI and President of the AAMA. “The Automotive Accelerator Alliance and the autoXLR8R program allows us to offer these new potential companies access to leading business and commercialization experts beyond our state’s borders,” said Davis.

Leaders of the Alabama automotive community including former Mercedes CEO, Bill Taylor, will serve as advisors to autoXLR8R participants. Taylor currently serves as the President of the Alabama Economic Partnership.

“I’m excited to be a part of this innovative program,” said Taylor. “Launching a new automotive technology and bringing it to market can be an intimidating process. I hope to help provide some insight into how to best approach and work with auto makers,” said Taylor.

Taylor’s experience in the industry is unique in that he has held executive leadership positions at Ford and Toyota prior to joining Mercedes – three automakers with very different business and production philosophies.

During the program, founders will receive one-on-one mentorship from seasoned auto industry insiders as well as other accomplished entrepreneurs. This mentorship is coupled with a structured curriculum of exercises and challenges designed to help young companies navigate obstacles and speed up their path to revenue.

autoXLR8R participants will travel to the Automotive Accelerator Alliance states during the 13-week program. Time will be spent at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research home to world-class labs and a groundbreaking prototype program. Participants will also travel to Mississippi State’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Research and to the University of Alabama.

Companies selected to participate will be provided office space and $20,000 in exchange for six to ten percent equity. Promising applicants will be eligible for a $100,000 convertible note at a minimum.

Applications can be submitted online at Additional important dates include:

February 19 Applications open
April 22 Applications closed
April 26 Company notification
May 13 autoXLR8R Camp begins in Spring Hill, Tennessee
August 8 autoXLR8R Camp ends

About autoXLR8R

autoXLR8R is a 13-week automotive accelerator program developed by the Southern Middle Tennessee Entrepreneur Center (SMTEC). The program’s mission is to identify, commercialize and fund promising new technologies applicable to the automotive industry.

For more information visit or contact Cammie Fitzgerald at 931-455-0155

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