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June 03, 2013 | Tom Ballard

Survature, Neural Energy Games, Pipe Fighters Square move to “Big Idea” finals

Big Idea-teknoNine companies, mentored by three seasoned Knoxville entrepreneurs, competed Monday afternoon in the semi-final “knockout” round of the “What’s the Big Idea?” competition.  

The event was held in the main meeting room at the Knoxville Chamber which, ironically, is just above the new Knoxville Entrepreneur Center where the winners were announced. It was organized by The Development Corporation of Knox County, Knoxville Chamber and Tech 20/20. The overall sponsor is Rodefer Moss & Company.  

When the dust had settled, the five judges selected three winners for the event’s upcoming finals. Those moving to the final round were:  

  • Survature, a company profiled Monday on ( that is focused on a way to bring greater value to the sponsors of surveys by following, capturing and analyzing every move that a person makes while responding.  
  • Neural Energy Games, whose tagline is “education is the goal, but fun is the game.” It is focused on coupling video games, which college students like to do, with scientific-related education, which they need to do. It is the latest concept from Charles Chinn, a University of Tennessee doctoral student who won the Spring 2012 “Vol Court” competition.  
  • Pipe Fighters Square, which uses a patented device to eliminate the need for one of the two people who are currently required to square a pipe. The device was developed by a 35-year pipefitter who decided there had to be a better way to perform the work.  

The BIG winner will be selected June 20 in the final “knockout” event at the Relix Variety Theater, 1208 North Central. It runs from 5 to 7 p.m., and pre-registration is requested at  

The three coaches were Parker Frost, Founder of Gigmark Interactive; John Tolsma, Owner of Knowledge Launch; and Jimmy Rodefer, CEO of Rodefer Moss. Each of the judges mentored three of the entrepreneurial teams, and one finalist was selected from each mentor.  

During the awards ceremony, Mark Field, Senior Vice President of Membership for the Chamber, congratulated all of the semi-finalists. “Each of you has a valid opportunity to be a viable business in Knoxville,” he said.  

The other semi-finalists were:  

  • PTlink, Inc., which takes common instructions given during a therapy session and converts them into a tool that will help both the clinician and the patient. In the case of the clinician, PTlink helps track the reporting of outcomes that will soon be required of all therapists. In the case of patients, it allows them to access everything from their instructions to their progress.
  • Billy Lush, which “inspires having a dream – living lush – and making it a reality.” In the case of Billy Lush, the company is focused on stand-up paddling that provides a workout targeted to paddle rather than skate boarders. The company also has a number of new products and services in mind.
  • Greenlight, a company providing a way to have “stress-free email newsletters” for those who don’t have the time or ability to do them. It was billed as “a simple and powerful concept that solves real customer pain” while using a proven tool – email – to drive sales.
  • Dwelln, billed as “simple rental management, search and discovery,” serves both property owners wanting to rent their property as well as those seeking to rent property. It also helps manage the relationship between tenants and renters – everything from reporting maintenance problems to paying rent online.  It is geared to owners of one to 10 dwelling units.
  • TaTa Coolers, focused on helping 150 million American women stay cool – those that are cancer patients, going through menopause or participating in athletics. The company’s product involves a patented technology for insulated soft gel packs concealed inside bras.
  • Teval, which is “removing boundaries associated with implementing a comprehensive teacher evaluation program.” The company says that only 11 percent of a principal’s time is focused on teacher evaluations. Teval has developed a web-based tool to enhance the evaluation process while also saving time for the principal’s time.

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