Four of 12 student start-ups pitching at “36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival” are from East Tennessee

Four of the 12 finalists announced yesterday for the “Student Edition Live Pitch” at next month’s “36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival” in Nashville come from either Chattanooga or Knoxville, and several have been spotlighted in articles on

They are:

  • eLab Repairs, founded by students at the University of Tennessee (UT) at Chattanooga and Lee University, installs, maintains, and repairs digital fabrication equipment such as 3D printers, CNC routers, and laser cutters.
  • Qardian Labs, founded by Sofia Tomov, a high school student dually enrolled at the UT Knoxville, provides artificial intelligence-based software solutions for making fast and accurate cardiac risk assessments. (Click here for our recent article.)
  • Quantum Lock Technologies LLC,founded by UT Knoxville graduate student Erica Grant, offers cutting-edge security that combines the power of quantum information with state-of-the-art encryption and user-friendly software. (Click here for our recent article.)
  • Winter Innovations, founded by recent UT Knoxville graduate Lia Winter, invented EasyWhip, a patent-pending surgical needle designed to improve the speed and accuracy of the whip-stitching step in orthopedic reconstruction procedures like anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and rotator cuff surgeries. (Click here for our most recent article among many.)

The “Student Edition Live Pitch” is a showcase and pitch competition that gives Tennessee student founders a platform to access funding, resources, and marketing support. Each company will have three minutes to pitch before a panel of judges who will evaluate the proposed product or service and the team’s ability to execute on its business model. Finalists will compete for the chance to win $60,000 in prizes.

In addition, Student Edition companies also have the opportunity to win a $10,000 “Crowd Favorite” award. Online voting for that award is open now to the public through 1 p.m. CDT on August 28. Also, the top four winners will be eligible for the LaunchTN PortCo Program, which provides access to strategic planning support, investor connections, customer introductions, and talent recruitment.


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