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March 20, 2023 | Shannon Smith

Watch live | Stream the 2023 Ballard Innovation Award Pitch Competition

Five finalists, five pitches, one grand prize winner.

Get ready to watch Knoxville’s newest pitch competition, with the biggest prize available to local start-ups.

The 2023 PYA Ballard Innovation Award Pitch Competition will take place Tuesday, March 21 at 3 p.m. at the Institute for Advanced Materials and Manufacturing at UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm.

While the award is in its third year, this is the first time a pitch competition has determined the winners.

Seats at the in-person event are fully reserved, but you can watch the pitches live starting at 3 p.m. at this link.

The five finalists were chosen by a panel of internal judges and include:

  • Aro:  Aro is the first in-home digital well-being solution designed for families. The Aro platform ensures families don’t miss out on what’s most important by making it easy for everyone to put down their phones and be fully present.
  • Captis Aire, LLC:  Captis Aire provides capital and energy-efficient emissions control technology that enhances the efficiency of wood drying and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The company has unique expertise using the fluidized Bed Concentrator (FBC) technology for controlling emissions from wood drying, i.e. for controlling emissions from Oriented Strand Board (OSB), wood pellet, plywood, etc. manufacturing processes.
  • Carbon Rivers, Inc.:  Carbon Rivers is dedicated to sustainable, green circular economies. Instead of incineration, landfill, or aggregate in other materials, Carbon Rivers reclaims glass fiber from a variety of production and end-of-life waste streams in order to provide clean, high-quality glass fiber. The recovered glass fiber is then either provided to glass manufacturers to be competitive in price and quality to virgin glass mined from silica or upcycled into composite intermediates for a variety of second-generation materials in the automotive, aerospace, marine, or construction industries.
  • iO Urology:  iO Urology, a privately held medical technology company, aims to improve the lives of men and women living with urologic conditions. Its product CarePath combines a diagnostic device with a digital health platform that provides real-time insight into patient symptoms where they live, at home. CarePath educates, empowers, and motivates patients to actively engage with their care provider to find optimal treatment. CarePath improves lives by discovering the care patients need.
  • Trillium Renewable Chemicals:  Trillium is replacing oil and gas with plant-based feedstocks in the manufacturing of green, drop-in molecules. Trillium has developed proprietary thermochemical technology to convert plant-based feedstocks like glycerol into valuable chemical intermediates (acrylonitrile and acetonitrile). Acrylonitrile is used to manufacture a wide range of materials (e.g., acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic, carbon fiber, acrylic fiber, nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR), acrylamide, specialty amines). As the worldwide demand for these chemicals increase, Trillium is providing a green alternative.

The grand prize winner of the PYA Ballard Innovation Award will win $50,000 of capital and in-kind services from PYA. The first and second runners-up will win $10,000 and $5,000 in in-kind services, respectively.

You can learn more about the award and past winners here.


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