Knoxville, Northeast TN well-represented at inaugural “Reverse Pitch”

Launch TN = NewBy Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.

Knoxville and Northeast Tennessee were well-represented at Launch Tennessee’s inaugural “Reverse Pitch” event earlier this week in Chattanooga.

Two Knoxville companies – AC Entertainment, in conjunction with Aloompa, and DeRoyal – were two of the nine companies that “pitched” specific needs they hoped the more than 150 attending entrepreneurs and technologists would be interested in addressing.

For AC Entertainment, the need was to develop what Jeff Cuellar, Vice President for Strategic Partnerships, described as a “festival digital yearbook.”

He noted that AC Entertainment is known for “creating an experience” such as Bonnaroo which features multiple stages, numerous acts, and other activities. The company’s need is to build on those great successes to create a lasting remembrance for each attendee that combines text, audio, video and images from the bands the individual viewed and the activities in which each person participated.

Aloompa is a long-standing AC Entertainment technology partner that is developing the backend for the “festival digital yearbook,” so AC and Aloompa are seeking a frontend development partner.

In the case of DeRoyal, the goal is to develop the next generation of cold therapy. Greg Hodge, DeRoyal’s Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, described specific needs for the application focused initially on knees and shoulders.

He described it as a “controlled therapeutic temperature therapy” that has several critical features – consistent and long-term, lightweight, comfortable, cost effective, and mobile.

The term “Reverse Pitch” refers to the fact that established companies are presenting needs, not the typical “pitch” where start-ups are presenting their ideas to potential customers and investors.

Other enterprises presenting were Blackstone, the City of Chattanooga, EPB, FedEx, Playcore, Smith & Nephew, and Unum. Their needs were reviewed in a previous post.

In kicking-off the program, Launch Tennessee’s Charlie Brock noted that the Tuesday event was the state’s first “Reverse Pitch.”

“We wanted presenters and an audience from across the state,” he said.

In the case of Knoxville, we saw a number of entrepreneurs and technologists in the audience. They included Jim Biggs, Steve Chin, Blair Christian, Parker Frost, James Horey, Jian Huang, Kyle Hungate, Michael McIntyre, John Morris, Will Overstreet, David Page, Haseen Qureshi, Jonathan Sexton, and Brian Worley.

Kanishka Biddanda of Northeast Tennessee’s AccelNow, said there were about a dozen attendees from the Bristol-Kingsport-Johnson City region.

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