The latest was on Thursday evening, September 20, at the Mill Room at Cherokee Mills. Hosted by Pershing Yoakley & Associates, sponsor of teknovation.biz, 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 https://www.teknovation.biz/2012/06/03/vendor-registry-planning-link-local-governments-vendors/.
- 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 https://www.teknovation.biz/2012/06/17/big-idea-videos-final-presentations-posted/.
- 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 http://summersettfoods.com/.
- 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 teknovation.biz, 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:
- Casenova, presented by Jake Baron. Casenova is the one-strap book bag that was profiled earlier on teknovation.biz – https://www.teknovation.biz/2012/08/08/baron-personifies-importance-entrepreneurial-persistence/.
- Thermocom, presented by Bob Gatton. The company is focused on an approach to keep more Styrofoam out of landfills through recycling. More information about his company is available at http://thermocom.net/home.html.
- TruDesign, presented by Rick Spears, whose work in carbon fiber was profiled earlier on teknovation.biz – https://www.teknovation.biz/2012/04/16/rick-spears-entrepreneurs-entrepreneur/.
- Divine Innovations, presented by Jill Quillin. The company is focused on recycling and reusing cosmetics like lipsticks. More information about her company is available at http://www.lipstixremix.com/.
- An as yet to be named company presented by Song Xu of ORNL. He is developing a real-time, personalized search engine.
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 http://tech2020.org/calendar/event/9-entrepreneurial-imperative-2012.