Vitriform3D, B-Roll Bank win big at Startup Day 2023
Companies working on glass recycling and digital asset management take the top prizes at the anchor event of Knoxville's Innov865 Week.
Two Knoxville start-ups have slightly bigger bank accounts after winning cash prizes at Startup Day 2023.
They were joined by hundreds of business leaders, students, and investors who came together both in person and online to celebrate Knoxville’s entrepreneurial ecosystem at the Innov865 Alliance’s annual Startup Day pitch competition.
At the celebration, Alex Stiles, Founder of Vitriform3D, won the $7,000 Judges’ Choice Award, presented by the Innov865 Alliance. Attendees voted for Jonathan Halley, Founder of B-Roll Bank, to take home the Crowd Favorite cash prize of $3,000, presented by Boston Government Services.
“There were so many good companies that pitched this year and it was a really, really stiff competition to be honest,” said Stiles, pictured above with the Startup Day judges. “It was humbling to see that a company that is still pre-revenue was able to win a pitch competition like this.”
Vitriform3D harnesses glass waste with a patent-pending method to 3D print synthetic stone from 95 percent recycled glass. This team of experts uses technology to 3D print recycled glass tiles with four times lower embodied carbon than ceramic tiles and developed exterior grade paneling with less than half the carbon footprint of fiber cement board and brick cladding.
Stiles said this prize money will go directly to into their new curbside glass collection program.
“Every dollar helps us to get closer to that minimum viable product, gets us closer to commercialization,” he said. “For us, we have grant funding that is intended for the research and development side. So we have a lot of funds that are going towards Oak Ridge projects and it’s great to have additional sources of income that we can put towards efforts like our curbside glass program.”
Crowd Favorite Award winner B-Roll Bank is an AI Powered Digital Asset Management software built for production companies that makes content easily searchable, eliminates storage bloat, and turns one of their biggest expenses and untapped potential into a revenue source.
“I think everybody feels the pain of managing media,” Halley said. “Even if you’re not a production company, your phone still fills up. So I think I could resonate with the group annoyance of that.”
Halley said his prize money will go toward B-Roll Bank’s design and development roadmap. More than just the money, Halley is excited about the connections that pitching at Startup Day brings.
“There were a lot of really amazing, important people in the room, so while I did win the money, it’s awesome that there are still further conversations happening as a result of being on that stage,” said Halley.
The Innov865 Alliance selected six startups to reflect Knoxville’s diverse talent, including KnoxFill, Vitriform3D, B-Roll Bank, Orion Therapeutics, Farm Grub, and Holocene. The finalists pitched their businesses live before a panel of judges and an audience of business leaders, investors, and Knoxville enthusiasts. The judges’ panel featured Chris Miller, CFO of Three Roots Capital; Nadim Jubran, Owner of InLieu and Partner at Capstone Concepts; and Courtney Jones, Senior Consultant, DiversityWorks Group and Founder of MomSource Network.
In addition to the pitch competition, CGI awarded the Innov865 Traction Award to Anna Douglas, Co-Founder and CEO of SkyNano Technologies. The award recognizes a Startup Day alum who has established significant traction since participating in Startup Day.
Innov865 Week continues with events, including Raising & Rising, Path To Profits, Devmoot 2023, Sunsphere Private Tour and a One Knoxville SC soccer match. To view the full lineup, visit the Innov865 Week event calendar.