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June 16, 2016 | Tom Ballard

Media-focused teams for this year’s “The Works” formally announced

The WorksYou may have seen or read media reports this week about a movie being filmed on Market Square that features Burt Reynolds and Chevy Chase.

Those are not the only media stars in the area, so don’t be surprised if you happen to run into some budding celebrities from other states who have come to town to participate in the media portion of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s (KEC) inaugural “The Works” start-up accelerator.

As previously reported, KEC has combined what were two complementary but separate programs – “MediaWorks” and “Code Works” – into a single 12-week accelerator with two tracks. The four teams participating in the coding track were announced last week, and they are local.

Yesterday, KEC announced the four that are participating in the content-focused media track sponsored by Scripps Networks Interactive, and all of them are from other states – two come from California and one each from Colorado and New York. There’s also $100,000 that is being invested in them by Scripps.

That is a significant first for the region and should not go unnoticed.

Each of the media start-ups is led by a nationally recognized digital media personality or lifestyle content creator featured on outlets such as HGTV and YouTube. The four and their leaders are:

  • Travelista Teri, led by Teri Johnson, who is the creator, host, and Executive Producer of Travelista TV, an online video network with a focus on travel, culture, lifestyle and entertainment.
  • Duzertv, led by Ryan Van Duzer, described as a one-man adventure travel machine connecting with nature and people in every corner of the globe.
  • Engineer Your Space, led by Isabelle LaRue who brings DIY and home design together through simple engineering expertise. With a French style and an engaging personality, she transforms home living spaces for millions of online fans.
  • Eco-Vegan Gal, led by Whitney Lauritsen, who helps viewers discover and easily prepare delicious and nutritious plant-based food, while making eco-friendly lifestyle decisions every day.

The four teams in the coding cohort are:

  • ImmersaCAD, a Virtual Reality company for architects and designers which brings 3D CAD models to life in a truly immersive digital design experience;
  • RDI Technologies, developers of a patented technology platform capable of measuring motion, vibration, and displacement not visible to the human eye;
  • Review Box, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) that helps vendors maintain brand integrity on Amazon and other major retail sites; and
  • AirFlare, a partner with NASA that brings laboratory-grade biomedical innovations to consumer markets.

The eight teams will be on display during Knoxville’s inaugural “Innov865 Week” that runs from September 19-23.

For more information on yesterday’s announcement, you can read the news release (MediaWorks Press Release).

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