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September 21, 2017 | Tom Ballard

Three Knoxville companies capture top awards during “Start-up Day” event

Start-up Day 2017Every participant is a winner, but three walked away with the top honors during yesterday’s fifth annual “Start-up Day” at the Bijou Theatre in Downtown Knoxville.

The awards and the winners were:

  • “Traction Award,” sponsored by the UT Federal Credit Union to recognize progress made by a pitch competitor at a previous “Start-up Day” – RDI Technologies Inc. The company utilizes a patented system to measure deflection, displacement, movement and vibration not visible to the human eye. (EDITOR’S NOTE: See this article that follows discussing the winning company’s progress.)
  • “Judge’s Award,” sponsored by the Innov865 Alliance and decided by a panel of three judges, that recognizes the best pitch at this year’s event – SmartRIA. This award carried a cash prize of $10,000.
  • “Crowd Favorite,” sponsored by SunTrust Bank and decided by audience voting among the six entrepreneurs who pitched – SkyNano Technologies. This award carried a cash prize of $5,000.

RDI Technologies bested two other local start-ups for the “Traction Award” – T & T Scientific Corporation, which won last year’s pitch competition, and Vendor Registry.

SmartRIA is a company serving firms that are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission with a cloud-based, secure software platform that simplifies and automates regulatory compliance. You can more learn about the company in this recent article.

SkyNano Technologies, one of the start-ups in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s new “Innovation Crossroads” initiative, has developed an open system manufacturing technique to produce low cost, high value carbon nanotubes, a material with potential applications in a variety of areas from energy storage to consumer electronics.

Other competitors in this year’s pitch competition were:

  • Joyce Development, LLC, the creator of the Command Glove™, a lightweight, Bluetooth-enabled glove embedded with sensors that control functions on electronic devices, such as cell phones, MP3 players, and tablets.
  • Tomboy Organic Skincare, an organic skin care company for adventure enthusiasts that formulates plant salves, skin care products, and makeup using herbs and roots from the southeast’s native deciduous forests.
  • Unveil, a free online tool that makes wedding planning much easier.
  • Volunteer Aerospace, Inc., a company that uses metal powder bed additive manufacturing to produce hardware and fully functional prototypes for the aerospace and defense industries.

Here are the official news releases on the awards (2017 Traction Award Winner and 2017 Pitch Competition Winners).

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