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Finalists named for Knoxville’s upcoming “Start-up Day” competitions

Start-up Day 2017By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

Knoxville’s “Innov865 Alliance” Steering Committee, of which yours truly is a member, has announced finalists for the two major competitions that will be held during the fifth annual “Start-up Day” set for September 21 at the Bijou Theatre.

Six competitors will pitch their businesses before a panel of investor judges for one or both of two prizes – the “Start-up Day 2017 Judge’s Choice Prize,” presented by the Alliance and worth $10,000, and the “Start-up Day 2017 Crowd Favorite Prize,” presented by SunTrust Bank and worth $5,000.

In addition, three companies that previously presented during past “Start-up Days” will vie for the “Innov865 Traction Award” presented by UT Federal Credit Union.

The six start-ups competing for the first two prizes are:

  • Smart RIA, a company serving firms that are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission with a cloud-based, secure software platform that simplifies and automates regulatory compliance. That process can be a costly and time-consuming task for businesses, especially those that do not have in-house expertise. Smart RIA’s software streamlines the process through customized tools that use customer data to track and address compliance issues. This solution not only saves customers time and money, but allows firms to focus on growing their business while remaining compliant and independent.
  • SkyNano Technologies, one of the start-ups in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s new “Innovation Crossroads” initiative, has developed an open system manufacturing technique to produce low cost, high value carbon nanotubes, a material with potential applications in a variety of areas from energy storage to consumer electronics. Compared to traditional manufacturing processes that require high vacuum and high-pressure gas flow systems, SkyNano’s patent-pending technology relies on the electrochemical conversion of carbon dioxide, resulting in a process that is lower in cost and scalable for commercial applications. Aside from lowering the cost of carbon nanotubes, SkyNano’s technique offers a promising method for converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into useful functional nanomaterials.
  • Unveil, a free online tool that makes wedding planning much easier. The Unveil team has taken the experiences of a hundred couples who planned their own weddings and distilled their feedback into a comprehensive and easy-to-use tool. With Unveil, couples can compare vendors side-by-side to make important hiring decisions. In addition, Unveil offers a premium concierge service for couples who are looking for personal assistance in gathering pricing, availability, and other vendor details, tailored to their specific needs.
  • Joyce Development, LLC, the creator of the Command Glove™, a lightweight, Bluetooth-enabled glove embedded with sensors that control functions on electronic devices, such as cell phones, MP3 players, and tablets. With the Command Glove™, wearers can answer a call or change up their playlist with just the tap of a finger, all without having to remove the device from their pocket. The Command Glove™’s patent-pending technology promises to change the way people interact with electronics, making it easier and more efficient to interface with wearables and mobile technology while on the go. We have previously spotlighted the company at this link.
  • Volunteer Aerospace, Inc. (VAI), which uses metal powder bed additive manufacturing to produce hardware and fully functional prototypes for the aerospace and defense industries. VAI uses state-of-the-art additive equipment that has been production hardened to produce aerospace grade components with lower lead times. This competitive edge allows VAI to compete with traditional casting and forging processes.
  • Tomboy Organic Skincare, an organic skin care company for adventure enthusiasts that formulates plant salves, skin care products, and makeup using herbs and roots from the southeast’s native deciduous forests. Born from an experiment to create a poison ivy salve in a Tennessee high school science classroom, Tomboy Organic Skincare has expanded its focus to create earth-inspired, preservative-free products that provide relief from sunburn, sore muscles, scars, and insect bites and stings. The company was awarded the “American Choice Best Brand Award” in 2016 and its War Woman Scar Oil Salve was recognized as one of Trailblazer Girl’s Top Skin Care Products of 2016.

The three finalists for the award recognizing progress are:

  • RDI Technologies,which has patented a noncontact, video camera-based technology platform that allows users to measure motion, vibration, deflection, and displacement not visible to the human eye. Unlike traditional contact monitoring systems, RDI’s technology measures data in real time, turning virtually every pixel in the camera’s view into a sensor capable of measuring vibration or motion with sub pixel accuracy. The results lend themselves to a visualization of motion, as captured in the company’s tag line “seeing is believing.” RDI’s method of video data collection has proven to be a cost effective, convenient, and safe way to conduct contact monitoring and has benefits for multiple markets, including infrastructure, healthcare, and machinery.
  • T&T Scientific, a company that produces low-cost, single use liposome extrusion devices that simplify the process of preparing liposomes for research laboratories, manufacturing facilities, and clinical settings. Compared to other commercially available extrusion platforms, T&T Scientific’s NanoSizer (formerly LipX) technology is ready to use out of the package and does not require any assembly or cleaning. As a result, the liposome extrusion process time is reduced from the standard 45 to 60 minutes to two to three minutes, and its single-use nature eliminates the risk of batch to batch contamination.
  • Vendor Registry, an online platform that streamlines procurement and vendor management for local governments. Vendor Registry was founded with the simple purpose of making it easier to do business with local governments and institutions by replacing the paper-intensive purchasing process with a standardized, affordable, cloud-based solution. Through Vendor Registry, local governments can register their vendors, post bids and quotes, send notifications of those bids and quotes, and check to ensure their vendors remain in compliance. Vendor Registry also makes it easy for vendors to register with multiple governments and find bid opportunities in the areas they serve. It is a one-stop shop that saves time, generates new revenue for vendors and suppliers, and decreases costs for government and institutional purchasing departments.

“Start-up Day” will begin at 2 pm. at the Bijou Theatre. To register, click here. Also, here are the two announcements from the “Innov865 Alliance”: (Startup Day Pitch Press Release and UTFCU Traction Award Press Release).


Tom Ballard

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer,
Pershing Yoakley & Associates. P.C.

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