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August 08, 2019 | Tom Ballard

Program details for Knoxville’s “Startup Day 2019” released

Key details of this year’s edition of Knoxville’s “Startup Day” have been announced.

The event, set for the afternoon of September 24 at The Mill & Mine, will spotlight the region’s slightly later stage start-ups in the annual pitch competition along with a fireside featuring the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of the newest local companies making big news and a Mayoral Forum where the focus will be on plans to further support the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Featured guest for this year is Ted Serbinski, Managing Director of Techstars Mobility, the first start-up accelerator program in the country that is focused on next-generation mobility technologies. The Detroit-based program is one of a growing number of accelerators launched by Techstars which has invested $6.2 billion in start-ups since 2006 and has more than 1,900 companies in its portfolio.

Kelly Tiller, President and CEO of Genera, will participate in a fireside chat about her 12-year journey with the Tennessee-based biomass solutions company that ultimately resulted in a more than $118 million investment that will allow Genera to construct its first manufacturing facility to produce the Earthable® line of sustainable agricultural fiber products.

“Startup Day’s” main event is the annual “Shark-Tank”-style pitch competition where the participants vie for a chance to win up to $10,000 in cash prizes. This year, six of Knoxville’s most investable start-ups will pitch their businesses before a panel of expert judges including Serbinski; Richard Dapaah, Venture Partner with FundRX and Knoxville Entrepreneur Center Executive-in-Residence; and Sue Malone, President of Strategies for Small Business.

In addition to the winner determined by the judges, there’s also the annual “Crowd Favorite” that carries a cash prize presented by SunTrust Bank.

The competing start-ups are:

  • Active Energy, a participant in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) inaugural “Innovation Crossroads” cohort that is focused on offering ultra-efficient, low-cost thermal energy storage utilizing the world’s first “icephobic coating,” a patent-pending invention that creates a surface impervious to freezing water, thus improving cooling performance by completely eliminating ice build-up.
  • EDP Biotech, a frequent generator of articles in biz that is a medical device diagnostics company with novel platform technology enabling earlier detection of diseases such as colorectal cancer, using machine learning and multiplexing to perform more advanced and efficient blood tests.
  • Reviewbox, an e-commerce software platform that enables brands and manufacturers to track product reviews and sales data across online retail sites like Amazon, providing visibility into every aspect of an e-commerce business and connecting companies directly with their customers.
  • SmartRIA, another company spotlighted recently on biz that is marketing a software platform with proprietary technology that simplifies compliance for investment advisors, saving firms and hybrid firms time and money in maintaining compliance with federal and state regulations.
  • TCPoly, another ORNL “Innovation Crossroads” company from Cohort 2 that is developing advanced materials and technology, including the world’s highest thermal conductivity filament (50x higher than traditional plastics). When combined with the design freedom of 3D printing, can be used to make lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and high-performance heat transfer components.
  • Winter Innovations, the medical device company featured more than any of the others on biz that has invented the EasyWhipTM specialty needle that improves the stability, speed, and efficiency of graft stitching, a critical component of surgery for torn ligaments and tendons.

“Startup Day” is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 1:30 pm. Tickets are available now online.

In addition to this event, “Innov865 Week,” which runs September 23 through 27. Will also include both public and invitation-only festivities that include a reception with local start-ups and venture capitalists; another program in the periodic “ Investor Series” featuring GRIDSMART Founder and former CEO Bill Malkes; investor speed pitching; a celebration of the graduates of ORNL’s “Innovation Crossroads” program as well as an opportunity to meet Cohort 3; and frequent happy hours and networking opportunities.

To learn more about the week’s events and details, click here and watch for periodic updates.

Founding members of the Innov865 Alliance include the University of Tennessee (UT) Research Foundation, ORNL, PYA, UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Three Roots Capital, Tennessee Valley Authority, Launch Tennessee, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm, and Bunker Labs Knoxville.

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