Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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April 19, 2020 | Tom Ballard

Intubation Nation takes first place in TTU’s “Eagle Works Innovation & Entrepreneurship Competition”

Intubation Nation won the top prize during Saturday’s “Eagle Works Innovation & Entrepreneurship Competition” that pitted nine teams of Tennessee Tech University (TTU) students against each other in the event’s virtual pitch match.

It was the first time in the seven-year history of the competition that it has not been held as a live event on the TTU campus. However, with the university delivering classes remotely, it was the only viable way to hold the competition, and TTU selected a Zoom-enabled broadcast delivered via the school’s YouTube channel.

Judges were Leanna Garrick, a TTU alum and a Sales Solutions Analyst for FedEx; Micah Johnson, Co-Owner of BGBO Co.; Kellie Fitzpatrick, Owner of Lenny & Eva, a retail and online store in Baxter; David Darnell, Director of Investor Relations at Highlands Economic Partnership and Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Addo Inc., a staffing business in Cookeville; Megan Choate, Director of Lending and Economic Development at the Upper Cumberland Development District; and David Adair of Chattanooga, Co-Founder of Solas BioVentures.

By taking first place, Intubation Nation won the top prize – a $10,000 scholarship. The idea pitched by Libby Baldwin and Daniel Hines is an endotracheal tube with a suction enabled stylet that was described as “the future of emergency medicine.” The two individuals have a provisional patent and see their market as being Emergency Medical Services and underserved geographic areas. Readers can click here to see a video on Intubation Nation.

In terms of number of prizes, Annalicia Larsen captured three that totaled $7,000 in scholarships and another $1,000 in technical assistance. She placed second overall, winning a $5,000 scholarship, and also won the “Rural Reimagined” prize of $2,500 that includes technical assistance and $500 as one of two recipients of an award from the Clouse-Elrod Foundation.

Her idea – Working Women Design Co. – is a “trendy but functional brand for the working woman.” Larsen, who made her pitch wearing the latest version of her inaugural pants, explained that the initial focus would be on women in the agricultural sector.

Third place overall in the competition went to Cody Bowerman who presented the idea for Serious as a Heart Attack. It is a hand-held device, similar to a glucometer, that allows healthcare personnel in clinics and technicians on ambulances to measure troponin levels, decreasing the time to diagnose heart attacks. The team, which has secured a provisional patent, won a $2,500 scholarship.

Finally, the second Clouse-Elrod Foundation $500 scholarship went to B-Ready presented by Rachel Baker who explained that she had not identified her “safe place” when Cookeville was struck by a tornado on March 3. The result of that realization was the S-Cubed product she developed. It is a portable, compact, protective shield that will help save lives during severe weather events. The device has the ability to provide additional layers of protection from flying debris and blunt force impact which causes the majority of tornado-related fatalities.

Kike other student competitions, the “Eagle Works” program requires students to conduct research in the areas of problem identification, market size and demand, and customer identification and revenue generation. That leads to the finalization of their business plan and the creation of a seven-minute video pitches which are the hotlinks throughout this article.

Other participants in this year’s “Eagle Works” competition were:

  • Alpha Tech was described by Jadon Kaercher as a non-profit focused on designing and fabricating assistive technologies for individuals and, in the process, helping students obtain the experience that they need to prepare for their careers.
  • Guardian Collar is a flea and tick prevention collar for pets that also includes a GPS add-on capability. Hannah Buckner and Brooke Barnett explained that they have a prototype and visualize having an add-on GPS capability.
  • LIFEstir is developing an ordinary stirrer that is infused with a chemical indicator that changes color in the presence of one of the two most common types of date rape drugs. Bailee Kauffman says her initial target customers are bars and restaurants.
  • NeoMaTE is focused on the 15 million premature infants born each year and the fact that current health care practices are doing little to nothing to provide adequate skin-to-skin care in the comfort and safety of their own isolette. Erin Guenther explained that the key is a programmable simulator that would be placed in the isolette.
  • Project: Arctyx was described as an economical solution to personal climate control. It is a novel, personal cooling/heating suit designed to alleviate the stresses of working in extreme temperatures.

After the pitches when the judges were making their decisions. Jeff Brown, President of The Biz Foundry, moderated a discussion with Chris Sipe, Co-Founder of Gigamunch, winner of the 2016 “Eagle Works” event. The four Founders, who dropped-out of TTU to launch the start-up, subsequently sold Gigamunch and returned to complete their degrees.

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