Macon is now home of The Velocity Accelerator, the area’s first accelerator program, thanks to The Greater Macon of Chamber of Commerce, New Town Macon, the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority, and the Central Piedmont Investment Group, and J.R. McNair – an Atlanta-based start-up consultant.
Accelerator programs fast-track the growth of an existing companies; the Velocity Accelerator, founded by McNair and his nonprofit organization, The Georgia Crowdfund, aims to promote an environment where early stage start-ups can thrive by taking selected companies through the vetting process and preparing them for the process of investment. The Velocity Accelerator works with the companies for two to three months. At the end of the intense mentor period, the Accelerator hosts a pitch day, where companies pitch to investors.
Companies selected for the program must be able to scale or grow to be a national brand and must be willing to relocate or open a satellite office in Macon.
This year’s cohort consists of Georgia Artisan (formerly Georgia Pallet) and Mule2Go. Georgia Artisan, owned by Mercer graduate Andrew Eck, is a boutique furniture manufacturer that employs furniture craftsmen from throughout the Central Georgia area.
“The program has been like drinking from a fire hydrant,” Eck said. “J.R. [McNair] has essentially been my business coach, pushing me and my company to achieve what I’ve set out to achieve and taking away any barriers I might have.”
Mule2Go, owned by Alfonzo Thurman, is a Georgia-based transportation and tech company. Dubbed as the UBER for contractors, Mule2Go utilizes its app technology to crowdsource deliveries across the nation.
The Velocity Accelerator held its inaugural Pitch Event for Georgia Artisan and Mule2Go in November at the Mercer Innovation Center, where the two businesses pitched their companies to a room of investors, business leaders, college presidents, media professionals, and politicians.
At the pitch event, both companies announced they have each hired three to four full-time employees and several contractors, and each company is speaking with investors about obtaining seed money for future expansions. Mule2Go opened an office in downtown Macon and is in the process of building its driver network, while increasing delivery partners by 100 percent. Georgia Artisan is slated for several media outlets throughout the country and its furnishings will be showcased in three high market Atlanta boutiques. To accommodate these demands, Georgia Artisan has increased production efficiency by over 75 percent.
The Velocity Accelerator is accepting applications for its next cohort that will kick off in January. The program plans to accept five companies for this cohort. Interested companies can find the application here.