Marc Portney of “All-American Makers” coming to Knoxville next month

A version of “All-American Makers” is coming to Knoxville next month.

On May 2 the Tennessee Inventors Association (TIA) will join with several other organizations to host a version of the Science Channel show featuring Marc Portney with 20 local inventors selected to pitch their ideas for possible investment.

“This is a rare opportunity for one, possibly two inventors to realize the fruits of their invention,” Keith Waters, TIA President, wrote in an email. “This could be your chance of a lifetime. Consumer products are best, and no apps will be accepted.”

The event is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. at Pellissippi State Community College’s (PSCC) Hardin Valley campus. In addition to TIA, other sponsors are PSCC, Small Business Development Center, and Global Source Infrastructure Partners, one of Portney’s companies.

For those not familiar with “All-American Makers,” four top makers are selected weekly to pitch to Portney, a venture capitalist among other roles; Printrbot Founder and Owner Brook Drumm; and Brian Roe, a mechanical designer and robotics expert.

Each maker’s homegrown product is put through a series of rigorous tests by Drumm and Roe to find out how it works and if it lives up to its claim. Should the product make the grade, it’s next subjected to the scrutiny of real consumer focus groups. Based on the feedback of Drumm and Roe as well as the focus groups and industry experts, Portney decides if he wants to invest his own money in the maker’s business and help bring the product to store shelves.

The agenda for the May 2 event includes a fireside chat followed by 20 pitches. Applications to pitch or just attend are now being accepted at this link.

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