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February 24, 2021 | Tom Ballard

FoundersForge spotlights companies at inaugural “Start-up Media Day”

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

We clearly subscribe to the belief that the more visibility start-ups can secure, the more likely that are going to be in successfully attracting investment capital, paying customers, and talented employees.

That belief was underscored by FoundersForge in Johnson City that hosted a virtual “Start-up Media Day” on Tuesday focused primarily on media outlets in Northeast Tennessee. The nearly two-hour event spotlighted 10 new ventures either located in the region or with ties to the area. There were also brief presentations from organizations that support entrepreneurs.

Many of the start-ups that presented have been featured previously on or will be soon. They were, in order of presentation:

  • Stone Mountain Technologies Inc. whose Chief Executive Officer Michael Garrabrant said the company now has 16 employees, is raising a Series A round, and hopes to launch its thermally-driven heat pump by late 2022. (Click here for previous coverage.)
  • rpl, founded by Lauren Glass as an online platform for one-on-one career coaching and mentoring. We have already interviewed her and will be spotlighting Glass’ several entrepreneurial efforts in an upcoming article.
  • Shield Nutraceuticals, a company founded by Steve and Sheridan Nice that have a product named DigestShieldTM. Known as GlutenShieldTM when we posted this article in early 2017, the product combines prebiotics, probiotics and enzymes in one capsule. “We finally have a product we feel comfortable with,” Steve said.
  • JEB Foundation, presented by Kathryn McDonald, who described the organization as advocates for the mental health of elderly and provide quality home care.
  • ZenHammer, founded by Edwin Williams to provide back office support for subcontractors. (Click here for previous coverage.)
  • RTD Neutraceuticals Inc., presented by Chief Technology Officer Andy Clark. The start-up’s signature product is Lavengel® that is used against skin infections caused by Staphylococcus bacteria. (Click here for previous coverage.)
  • ActionVFX, the company founded by Rodolphe Pierre-Louis that provides visual effects footage. (Click here for previous coverage.)
  • Hello Career Guru, founded by Bristol native Suzanna Keith but currently based in New York City, is an artificial intelligence-powered virtual career trainer that is launching its product next month.
  • HealthyME LLC, the latest iteration from Physician Troy Sybert that launched via a soft opening this week. Utilizing something he described as “Dr. Bot Visits,” Sybert is utilizing technology to provide wellness and chronic disease services.
  • Connect Outdoors presented itself in a pre-recorded video due to a conflict. We spotlighted the progress that Founder Ben Arnold has made in this recent article.

Mixed in with the company pitches were explanations of the roles that entrepreneurial support organizations. They are: David Nelson for FoundersForge, Health Guinn for Sync Space, Sonu Mirchandani for East Tennessee State University’s (ETSU) entrepreneurial minor, and Audrey Depelteau for ETSU’s Innovation Lab.

FoundersForge provided this link to the pitch decks used on Tuesday as well as a PDF of them and the recording of the program.

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