Willow List and MyPTshop.com took the honors in the “Spring Vol Court” competition coordinated by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEI) in the College of Business Administration at the University of Tennessee’s (UT) Knoxville campus.
Top prize went to Willow List, a company founded by Dave Seeman, while Christopher Saah’s MyPTshop.com took second place. Both individuals are Mechanical Engineering majors.
First prize is $1,000 from the UT Federal Credit Union; space in the UT Research Foundation’s Business Incubator; consulting services from Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.; legal services from Morehous Legal Group, PLLC; and mentoring from ACEI. Second prize is $500 from Launch Tennessee, space in the UTRF incubator, legal support from Morehous, and mentoring from ACEI
Both companies were based on opportunities their founders saw from their personal experiences.
“Like many entrepreneurs, the idea for my business came from personal experience,” Seeman said. The recently engaged student was frustrated by the challenges of setting-up wedding registries at various locations.
Willow List helps registering couples get exactly what they want by crowd funding expensive items and delivering the products to their door. Its “secret sauce” is offering its software as a service (SaaS) to retailers who want to sell more products by harnessing data analytics.
The idea for MyPTshop.com came from Saah’s association and experience with personal trainers.
“They really love what they do,” he explained, “but the pay isn’t all that great. My business will provide the trainers with an additional, easy to access revenue stream that also simplifies the lives of their clients.”
MyPTshop.com is a web application that allows fitness professionals to easily start and manage an e-commerce fitness shop, without ever having to touch a product. This is achieved by leveraging key drop shipping techniques.
Vol Court is a series of free seminars led by entrepreneurs and business experts from across the region. The series is held in both the fall and spring and is open to students, faculty and the general public.