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February 27, 2022 | Tom Ballard

Six finalists named for this weekend’s “What’s the Big Idea” event and pitch competition

Six finalists will compete this Sunday night to be crowned as the 2022 winner of Knoxville’s “What’s the Big Idea” pitch competition.

Organized by the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and involving a weekend of activities starting this Friday evening, the annual event is sponsored by the Development Corporation of Knox County, Harper Auto Square, and Egerton McAfee Attorneys at Law. Doors open for the finale at 5:30 p.m. Sunday (March 6) at Scruffy City Hall on Market Square, and the competition gets underway at 6 p.m.

To register to attend in-person, click here.

The six finalists are:

  • Sequense, described as the first of its kind solution aimed at the travel industry for managing day-to-day workflow of being a travel agent and drives efficiency through automation;
  • The Lotus Program, an in-home postpartum chef experience tailored to mothers that includes a weekly meal preparation service for a minimum of one quarter after birth;
  • KnoxFill, a zero waste, refill brick and mortar store where Knoxvillians can get premium personal care and household goods without any packaging waste;
  • KnoxPhilharmonic, described as a “second birth” for orchestra sound by uniting excellent orchestral musicians with passionately-inspired composers, arrangers, and recording artists to create powerful new recordings that unleash the orchestral sound;
  • Realtyless, a for sale by owner start-up that offers a complete break from the traditional real estate system; and
  • Sentinel Devices, a member of Cohort 5 of the “Innovation Crossroads” program operated by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The start-up is developing standalone devices which use machine learning – completely localized and disconnected from the cloud – to protect and secure the digital assets in charge of industrial processes.

KEC received a total of 24 applications and conducted a weeklong public voting process to help inform the decision. More than 4,000 votes were cast. The elevator pitches that the six finalists recorded can be viewed here.

Sunday night’s competition will be judged by: (1) Abhijit Verekar, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Avero Advisors; (2) Tricia Martinez, Managing Director of the “Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator”; and (3) Kandis Troutman, Chief Consulting Officer at The Creative Architect LLC.

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