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Capital Innovators, an accelerator program for startup firms, is moving beyond software with its latest group of companies.

Capital Innovators had invested exclusively in information technology companies during its first four years of operation, but three of the five companies in this fall's class are selling consumer products, not technology.

Brian Dixon, program director, said in a statement that the firms have "cutting edge technology" that makes their products valuable. "It’s exciting to see Capital Innovators expanding into new verticals and I believe it’s the natural growth and evolution of our accelerator program," he added.

All five companies in this fall's class are based in the St. Louis area. The consumer-products companies are Greetabl, which makes a gift box that's also a greeting card; Need Fixed, a wholesaler of replacement parts for smartphones and tablet computers; and Spinball Sports, which makes pitching machines for baseball, softball and cricket.

They will join two technology companies in this fall's class: Invisible Industries, originally known as Invisible Girlfriend, and VIM. Invisible Industries lets users receive authentic-looking text messages and photos from a virtual girlfriend or boyfriend. VIM is an analytics platform for athletes and anyone who is interested in fitness.

Capital Innovators will invest $50,000 in each company and provide 12 weeks of mentoring and business development. 

The program received a record 250 applications for the latest class. Capital Innovators, which operates in the T-Rex incubator downtown, has invested in more than 50 companies since it began operations in 2011.

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