By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Being the first team voted on the island and the first to pitch in the finals were good omens for Covington, KY-based Wyzerr as Launch Tennessee’s “36|86 Conference” wrapped-up its second day yesterday in Nashville.
The survey-focused start-up captured the top prize of $50,000, besting 34 other companies that competed in groups of seven to make the finals. All were part of “Village 36” – the best of the South’s start-ups, and Wyzerr was in the first group to pitch Monday afternoon. Attendees at the conference voted after each round of pitches.
In another good sign, four of the five finalists were presented by females who were either Founders or held key executive roles.
Natasia Malaihotto, Chief Executive Officer and Lead Programmer, said Wyzerr just recently launched its new product named “Smart Builder.” Paying customers doubled last week from 200 to 400.
The other finalists were:
- Bark of Savannah, GA, a company that helps parents by monitoring online activities of their children, detecting issues, and alerting the parents. The company says its technology and the resulting alerts have already saved 25 lives.
- HomeyLabs, an app that manages chores and enables payouts of rewards and allowance. The Founders moved from Slovenia to Memphis and continue to grow the company there.
- NourishWise, the healthy eating app founded by Jason Denenberg, a former executive at Launch Tennessee. The company is currently focused on Nashville with plans to grow next in Atlanta.
- Apto, another Nashville start-up that helps global corporations like Bridgestone and Nissan help international employees relocating to the U.S. and their families acclimate to the language and regional dialects of the communities into which they are moving.
The prize money is officially known as the “FedEx Innovation Award.”
The “36|86Conference” wraps-up about noon today after four topical specific workshops.