By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Have you ever been to an event when you suddenly realized a purse, backpack or other item was too large or not sufficiently transparent for you to be allowed to bring it past security?
Chances are the answer is “yes.” That was certainly the case for Kaleb Winders, a University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) student when he and his girlfriend attended a football game in Charlotte. What did he do with her $400 purse? He ran/walked two miles back to his car and missed the first quarter of the game.
That experience was the impetus for Rolling Storage, a business start-up idea he pitched at Wednesday night’s “Vol Court Speaker Series and Pitch Competition.” Winders won the top prize, including $1,500 provided by RedStag Fulfillment, for the idea of the secured portable storage binds that can be rented at events.
Twenty different ideas were pitched during 90-second rapid fire presentations that wrapped-up the Spring edition of the twice-a-year event organized by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in UTK’s Haslam College of Business.
Second place went to Alex Weber and Makenzie Swicegood, also UTK students, for Back Door. Their idea is to help owners find lost pets that might be in a pound or shelter through an app that links microchips embedded in the animals to a smartphone.
Third place winner was Moriah Goss, an upcoming UTK graduate, who pitched Maternity Muscle. She described it as an app to help pregnant women with fitness during and after pregnancy.
Besides RedStag, other “Vol Court” sponsors include the UT Research Foundation which offers free office space to the winner; PYA, the power behind teknovation.biz, that provides accounting advice to the winner; Morehous Legal Group which provides legal services; and Three Roots Capital, an organization that hosts a series of “Rise and Grind” workshops on the campus.