The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC), one of the key organizations in the Launch Tennessee Network, hosted the third session in its “Pitch for Good” series during yesterday’s fourth day of the “36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival,” and one of the three winners was a Knoxville start-up.
Like the two previous editions of the event, there was a core theme. Yesterday’s – “Pitch for Good: Woman Founders Edition” – was very appropriate considering the celebration underway this month on the 100th anniversary of passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote.
A total of six start-ups competed in one of two categories – “Launch Stage” (less than $25,000 in revenue) and “Up and Running Stage” (more than $25,000).
- Stacy Baugues, Founder of PowerUp Fitness, won the “Up and Running Stage” competition and $2,000. The Memphis native was a competitive gymnast in high school who revived her business plan for “making kids fitness fun” a little more than a year ago, and she recently completed the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s (KEC) “The Works 2020” program. Baugues was selected as one of the six presenters to compete in next month’s pitch competition during Knoxville’s annual “Startup Day.” Click here for our October 2019 feature article about PowerUp Fitness and be on the watch for an update in biz in the next week or so.
- In the “Launch Stage” competition, Madison Campbell of Leda Health took the $2,000 prize for her start-up focused on transforming existing systems of sexual assault prevention, care, and justice to better serve survivors. Explaining that she was a sexual assault victim in college, Campbell said the start-up’s first product will be an at home sexual assault kit, targeted to college campuses.
Ironically, one of Baugues’ competitors in the “Up and Running” category was Alane Boyd of Cookeville who just completed the recent “AgLaunch Bootcamp” co-sponsored by KEC. For that program, Boyd was participating with her BurgerFit start-up that is focused on more healthy eating that comes from mixing vegetables with hamburgers (see recent teknovation.biz article here).
Yesterday, she pitched her consulting company (BGBO Co.) and a new software product called KnowCo. Boyd describes it this way: “All of your resources, from sites you are already using like Dropbox, Slack, and Google Drive, are combined in one place with a simple UI (user interface) and search functionality using AI (artificial intelligence) so that it doesn’t matter where a resource was originally created, it is all in your KnowCo.”
The third East Tennessee participant was Sofia Tomov of Qardian Labs, a company focused on improving the speed and accuracy of heart disease diagnosis. She is a participant in the “HealthTech Accelerator” in Chattanooga as well as the EC’s current “Project Healthcare” cohort and will be one of six start-ups pitching in Knoxville’s “Startup Day” at the end of September.
Tomov and Qardian Labs, which was categorized in the “Launch Stage,” captured the ‘Audience Favorite” award in the EC’s inaugural “Pitch for Good: Pandemic Edition.”
Jane Allen, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the EC, said the finalists were selected from about 70 applicants. In addition to those already mentioned, the third “Launch Stage” competitor was Brittany Cole of Career Thrivers, winner of the “Audience Favorite” designation, and Lauren OMeara of Plum Flower Software who competed in the “Up and Running Stage” category.
Judges for the event were: (1) Shawn Johnson East, an Olympic Gold Medalist, Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of TheBodyDepartment.com; (2) Jamie Troxel, Global Marketing Lead for Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network; and (3) Bethany Newman, CEO and Co-Founder, ST8MNT Brand Agency.
The next “Pitch for Good,” scheduled for September 22, will focus on data analytics and artificial intelligence.