Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background - Default Cover Image
September 23, 2012 | Tom Ballard

Six companies selected for ei2012! “boot camp like” program

For the second time in six weeks, more than 60 people showed-up for an event in the region where aspiring entrepreneurs pitched strategies for their existing or planned businesses.

The latest was on Thursday evening, September 20, at the Mill Room at Cherokee Mills. Hosted by Pershing Yoakley & Associates, sponsor of, the event was sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Technology Council, an activity of Tech 20/20, and the East Tennessee Regional Accelerator Coalition of which Tech 20/20 is a key partner.

The “Venture Exchange Forum After Hours” event served as the vehicle to select six entrepreneurs to begin a “boot camp like” mentoring series leading-up to Tech 20/20’s “Entrepreneurial Imperative 2012” (ei2012!) conference November 12 and 13 at the Knoxville Marriott Hotel.

A total of 11 entrepreneurs presented their ideas, and the attendees voted electronically after hearing all 11 three-minute pitches. The top six, in order of audience voting, were:

  • Vendor Registry, presented by Brian Strong. The company is focused on making it easier for both local governments that need vendors and the latter who want to do more government business to easily and efficiently connect with each other. An earlier story about the company can be found at
  • LineShark, presented by Jed Mayer. The company is focused on develop a professional audio accessory that connects musical instruments to mobile devices. The target audience is musicians in the 18- to 49-year old age group. LineShark was in the finals of this year’s “What’s the Big Idea?” business plan competition. A video of Mayer’s presentation at that event can be found at
  • Summersett Foods, presented by Jake Rheude. The Cincinnati native is a junior at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) who could not find frozen, pre-packaged Buffalo Chicken Dip in Knoxville, so he decided to go into the business himself. The company has a webpage at
  • VOCo, Inc., presented by Eric Dobson, who has been involved in a variety of start-ups and currently is the East Tennessee liaison for the Angel Capital Group. VOCo is focused on testing for volatile compounds found in drinking water. Dobson will be profiled in an article that appears later this week on, but does not include his latest endeavor.
  • Innovative Vision Solutions, presented by Shaun Gleason. One of the co-founders of Imtek and now back at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Gleason and Jim Goddard, another ORNL scientist, are co-inventors of a technology that will improve medical imaging diagnostics.
  • Credit Virgin, presented by Nate Buchanan. The UTK student from Hendersonville is focused on addressing the problems that college students face with overextending their credit and being burdened with a bad credit rating.

The other presenting entrepreneurs were:

Between now and the ei2012! Conference, we will run featured stories on each of the companies, introducing those that we have not previously profiled and publishing updates on those that we have.

Additional information about Tech 20/20’s ei2012! Conference is available at

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!