Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

November 28, 2016 | Tom Ballard

Finalists named for next week’s “Will This Float?” pitch competition

Will This Float

Chattanooga’s CO.LAB has announced eight finalists for next week’s “Will This Float?” pitch event, and the organization’s new Executive Director says the breadth of the ideas that will be presented underscores the vibrant nature of Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“From a novel approach to end-of-life planning to a fun new spin on the traditional piñata and tools to help individuals become better versions of themselves, this year’s ‘Will This Float?’ competition will illustrate the overflowing creativity and entrepreneurial spirit Chattanooga has to offer,” Jack Studer said in a news release.

The eight presenters will compete for prizes before a panel of three judges and for the always coveted “People’s Choice Award” that is decided by those attending the event. The judges will make their decision based on five assessment criteria.

The latest edition of “Will This Float?” begins at 6 p.m. December 8 at the Chattanooga Zoo. Admission to the three-hour event is free, but those planning to attend are requested to register at this link.

This year’s finalists are:

  • 4U2 is a child-centered vending machine that offers items such as coloring books and puzzles that kids can complete in doctors’ offices and other types of waiting areas. (Presenter: Desia Yamese)
  • Allstar Technologies is an athletic training system that utilizes LED lights on a track to provide a customizable pace for runners. The system enables athletes to engage in multiple training modes that allow them to improve their pace-per-mile and compete against previous run times.  (Presenter: Dan Basler)
  • Arrival Events is an end-of-life celebration planning service that works with families to create meaningful memorials designed specifically for their loved ones. As a growing portion of the population moves toward alternative burial methods, Arrival Events will offer flexible services that enable families to plan creative, celebratory memorial experiences in non-traditional venues and formats. (Presenter: Tara Viland)
  • Bash is a specialized consumer experience that delivers pre-filled themed piñatas for all of life’s most memorable events. Bash Piñatas are themed for everyday experiences such as breakups, friendship reminders and more. The contents of each piñata vary depending on theme of the event, such as spa face masks for breakups or glow sticks and candy for celebrations. (Presenter: Christine DiPietro)
  • EZ RYDR is an app-based service that allows college students to order rides on demand. The company will work with universities to offer the service via a subscription that enables students or parents to pay an upfront fee at the beginning of every semester in exchange for unlimited rides available 24/7. By hiring part-time employees to administer the service, EZ RYDR will be able to subject drivers to stricter background checks and thereby offer safer riding experiences. (Presenter: Robby Robinson)
  • Lucent Gift is a locally-curated gift box for women who are going through a medical treatment or recovery related to breast cancer. The branded gift box will contain items specifically selected to comfort women after surgery, during treatment and throughout recovery. (Presenter: Missy Luce)
  • Music Therapy Gateway in Communications Inc. is a software platform that allows users to engage in music therapy without having a music therapist present. Due to the limited number of certified music therapists available to the local populace, this platform will make the benefits of music therapy accessible to a much larger number of people affected with speech, motor and cognition issues. (Presenter: Martha Summa-Chadwick)
  • SkillBuilder is an online, community-curated platform that allows users to share their routines and procedures for learning specific skills. In the same way people share their individual bodybuilding routines with others, SkillBuilder users will be able to share the steps and habits they follow to advance their skills in areas such as cooking, dancing, playing music, welding, making furniture and a variety of other hobbies and proficiencies. The platform will include entries for the beginner’s path to basic competency, as well as intermediate and advanced routines for the full spectrum of skill building. (Presenter: Ustin Zarubin)

The winner of the competition will receive a cash prize of $3,000, and the runner up will receive $1,000. The winner of the “People’s Choice Award” will receive $500. The first and second place winners will also receive a package of free business services to continue developing their ideas. Those packages include:

  • 10 hours of legal services from Miller & Martin;
  • 10 hours of legal services from Chambliss Startup Group;
  • 10 hours of accounting services from Henderson, Hutcherson & McCullough;
  • Three months of access to co-working space at Society of Work; and
  • A spot in the CO.LAB Accelerator, GIGTANK Accelerator or CO.STARTERS program.

Established in 2010, “Will This Float?” celebrates the spirit of entrepreneurship in Southeast Tennessee. Since the founding, about 60 entrepreneurs who pitched their companies have raised nearly $38 million in capital.