Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
June 19, 2013 | Tom Ballard

“Big Idea” Finalist: Survature already benefitting from competition

Big Idea Finalist(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third in a three-part series profiling the finalists for tonight’s “final knockout” in the “What’s the Big Idea?” competition.)

We ironically profiled Survature, Inc. on the morning ahead of the competition later that afternoon that reduced the nine semi-finalists for this year’s “What’s the Big Idea?” competition to three finalists.

It’s doubtful that the article – – had any impact on Survature being one of the three finalists. The start-up won on the basis of the innovative online tool it developed to enhance Web-based surveys.

In addition to automating  survey delivery, data collection, data analysis, and report generation, the tool also offers several unique capabilities. It reveals not only what the survey responders answered, but how they responded using a patent-pending technology called Answer Cloud. The tool is able to collect behavior and then preform behavior analysis.

Survature and the two other finalists will compete in the last “knockout” judging starting at 5 p.m. today at Relix Variety Theater, 1208 North Central. The general public is invited to attend, but pre-registration is requested at

Jian Huang, one of the company’s founders, described the process that he has gone through as “terrific and unique. The Big Idea competition is well-organized and very challenging – every bit you’d expect from a competition.”

He added that “What’s the Big Idea?” offered several additional benefits. “It has created for us a very nurturing support network in the local business community and has been such a great growing opportunity for our business development skills and knowledge,” Huang explained.

“The competition has helped to make our start-up better, and the mentoring process has made the co-founders better,” he added. “It was eye opening, encouraging and fun.”

After the quarter finals resulted in nine companies vying for the three final slots, the organizers teamed each of the nine with a mentor. Huang’s was Parker Frost, Founder of Gigmark Interactive.

“The mentoring was fast-paced and put us on a tight and comprehensive schedule with a set of tangible but challenging milestones to achieve,” Huang explained, giving credit to both Frost and Shawn Carson of Tech 20/20, who provided the formal training.

“While the weekly classes taught us basics about developing a business in a comprehensive and well-structured manner, Parker gave us a lot of personal attention and invited us into a nurturing network of people,” he said. “At Parker’s office, we met his colleagues and associates, to discuss and receive constructive criticisms about our product and business plan.”

Huang added that the competition also created a new network among the participating start-up entrepreneurs, something he described as “both refreshing and rewarding.”

Coming out on top tonight is very important to Survature.

“Winning will lead to prize money, which we will use to complete prosecuting our patent,” Huang said. “Winning will also provide us visibility and customers.”

He noted the challenges that early-stage start-ups like Survature face that winning can help address. “In particular, we need to win over early adopters, the more the better and the sooner the better,” Huang explained.

Receiving the recognition that Survature has thus far through two rounds of competition has already been beneficial.

“In the past week, we had a 200 percent growth in beta customer acquisition and expect similar growth to continue, Huang said. “The outpouring of support from the Knoxville business community shows a strong sense of Knoxville pride, a desire to make a difference, and eagerness for adopting new technology.”

“What’s the Big Idea?” was organized by The Development Corporation of Knox County, Knoxville Chamber and Tech 20/20. The overall sponsor is Rodefer Moss & Company.



Like what you've read?

Forward to a friend!

Don’t Miss Out on the Southeast’s Latest Entrepreneurial, Business, & Tech News!

Sign-up to get the Teknovation Newsletter in your inbox each morning!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

No, thanks!