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February 26, 2017 | Tom Ballard

BreatheEasy captures top prize at Sunday night’s “What’s the Big Idea?”


By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

After a whirlwind weekend of work, BreatheEasy took the top prize and a package that includes access to $10,000 in start-up reimbursement costs, office space, and complimentary business services during the finale of Knoxville’s “What’s the Big Idea?” event.

The start-up, pitched by Laura Odom, a Nurse Practitioner, “refines the way the world treats asthma” through a platform app and a smart phone.

The pitch competition at Scruffy City Hall on Market Square concluded a more than 48-hour marathon for six teams, selected from nearly 100 applicants, for the 2017 edition of the event that is presented by The Development Corporation of Knox County, Knoxville Chamber, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC), and Magnum Venus Products.

The other competitors were:

  • TrapBeats (Krystal Tran & Thu Dang) – Sound dampening panels with aesthetic designs for college students or consumers living in apartment-styled homes.
  • Command Glove (Brandon Hardin, Erik Stevenson, Todd Johnson, Jon Stirling, and Van Irion) – A glove embedded with contact switches that can be easily engaged by the natural movements of the wearer’s fingers in order to control electronic devices without impeding or detracting from their current physical or mental activity. Click here for a previous article.
  • Origami Day (Samantha Lane) – A proprietary system dedicated to helping people visualize, prioritize, and execute the items they have to do on a daily basis.
  • Prometheus (Ruel Christopher, Jared Smith, Kaleigh Veca, Steve Mellar, Anders Brown and Nicholas Padlo) –  An integrated, customized, and detailed risk mitigation tool for the global traveler.
  • Urban Valley Farms (Carson Bone and John Borden) – A provider of sustainable protein sources via the edible insect market, specifically acheta domesticus (house cricket), in the form of pulverized flour products or whole cricket.

We’ll have more notes from the finale in tomorrow’s edition of


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