Fifth Annual Startup Day Celebrates Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – East Tennessee’s leading investors, innovators, entrepreneurs, and business leaders convened at the U.S. Cellular Stage at The Bijou Theatre in Downtown Knoxville on Thursday, September 21, 2017 for the fifth annual Startup Day. The event is part of Innov865 Week 2017, which celebrates and showcases Knoxville as a great place to start and grow businesses.

New this year, the Startup Day pitch competition featured two prize categories. Mac Bartine, Smart RIA received the $10,000 Startup Day 2017 Judge’s Choice Prize presented by the Innov865 Alliance. Anna Douglas, SkyNano Technologies received the $5,000 Startup Day 2017 Crowd Favorite Prize presented by SunTrust Bank. The winning pitches were among six startups participating in the fifth annual pitch competition.

“East Tennessee is rapidly gaining traction as a destination for startups and entrepreneurs in the Southeast,” said Stacey Patterson, President of the University of Tennessee Research Foundation and founding member of the Innov865 Alliance, which hosts Innov865 Week. “Startup Day provides an opportunity for us to demonstrate what makes Knoxville such an inviting place to start and grow a business, as well as celebrate the entrepreneurs who are putting our city on the map as a hub of innovation.”

Mac Bartine, Smart RIA Smart RIA is a cloud-based, secure software platform that simplifies and automates regulatory compliance for the registered investment advisor (RIA) industry, serving firms that are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Compliance management can be a costly and time-consuming task for businesses, especially those that do not have in-house expertise. Smart RIA’s software streamlines the process through customized tools that use customer data to track and address compliance issues. This solution not only saves customers time and money, but allows them to focus on growing their business while remaining compliant and independent. 

Anna Douglas, SkyNano Technologies SkyNano Technologies has developed an open system manufacturing technique to produce low cost, high value carbon nanotubes, a material with potential applications in a variety of areas from energy storage to consumer electronics. Compared to traditional manufacturing processes that require high vacuum and high pressure gas flow systems, SkyNano’s patent-pending technology relies on the electrochemical conversion of carbon dioxide, resulting in a process that is lower in cost and scalable for commercial applications. Aside from lowering the cost of carbon nanotubes, SkyNano’s technique offers a promising method for converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into useful functional nanomaterials.

Jenna Johns, Chief Operating Officer of RDI Technologies, a Startup Day 2015 alum, received the third annual Innov865 Traction Award, presented by UT Federal Credit Union. The Innov865 Traction Award is given to a Startup alum who has gained the most momentum since pitching at Startup Day. RDI’s video camera-based technology quickly determines faults in machinery, infrastructure, and human performance not visible to the human eye. RDI counts Fortune 100 companies as its customers including Honda, Dow Chemical and Shell Oil.

Another highlight of this year’s Startup Day was a fireside chat hosted by Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee and Mark Montgomery, Entrepreneur/Investor/Change Agent. The two featured speakers held a lively discussion on the state of Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Startup Day is the signature event of Innov865 Week 2017, which wraps up today. Throughout the week more than one thousand startups, entrepreneurs, makers, investors, business leaders, students, and community leaders from across East Tennessee participated in educational panels, investor roundtables, demo days, and networking opportunities that promoted Knoxville as a premier hub of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Southeast.

About Startup Day

Startup Day is the signature event of Innov865 Week, a weeklong series of events that celebrates Knoxville’s entrepreneurial spirit. It is presented by the Innov865 Alliance, a brand that represents a commitment to yearlong collaboration to develop, support, and promote the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Founding members of the Innov865 Alliance include the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PYA, UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Three Roots Capital, Tennessee Valley Authority, Launch Tennessee, and Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. To learn more, visit http://innov865.com/.

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Celebr865: The Startup Day AfterParty

Join us for the official Startup Day 2017 afterparty!

After a long week of innovation, come have a drink and celebrate Knoxville’s entrepreneurial community!

Smart RIA and SkyNano Technologies Wins Startup Day 2017 Pitch Competition

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Mac Bartine with Smart RIA and Anna Douglas with SkyNano Technologies claimed the winning pitch prizes during Startup Day 2017 on Thursday, September 21, 2017 on the U.S. Cellular Stage at The Bijou Theatre in Downtown Knoxville. This marks the first year that the Startup Day pitch competition featured two prize categories.

Mac Bartine, Smart RIA received the $10,000 Startup Day 2017 Judge’s Choice Prize presented by the Innov865 Alliance. Anna Douglas, SkyNano Technologies received the $5,000 Startup Day 2017 Crowd Favorite Prize presented by SunTrust Bank. The winning pitches were among six heard during the fifth annual Startup Day, the signature event of Innov865 Week 2017, which runs from September 18-22.

“I was amazed by the talent on display at this year’s Startup Day pitch competition. Mac Bartine truly demonstrates the entrepreneurial spirit we are celebrating throughout Innov865 Week and it is an honor to bestow the judge’s choice prize on Smart RIA. I am excited to see where the momentum of Startup Day will take them,” said Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee. Launch Tennessee is a founding member of the Innov865 Alliance.

Mac Bartine, Smart RIA Smart RIA is a cloud-based, secure software platform that simplifies and automates regulatory compliance for the registered investment advisor (RIA) industry, serving firms that are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Compliance management can be a costly and time-consuming task for businesses, especially those that do not have in-house expertise. Smart RIA’s software streamlines the process through customized tools that use customer data to track and address compliance issues. This solution not only saves customers time and money, but allows them to focus on growing their business while remaining compliant and independent.

Anna Douglas, SkyNano Technologies SkyNano Technologies has developed an open system manufacturing technique to produce low cost, high value carbon nanotubes, a material with potential applications in a variety of areas from energy storage to consumer electronics. Compared to traditional manufacturing processes that require high vacuum and high pressure gas flow systems, SkyNano’s patent-pending technology relies on the electrochemical conversion of carbon dioxide, resulting in a process that is lower in cost and scalable for commercial applications. Aside from lowering the cost of carbon nanotubes, SkyNano’s technique offers a promising method for converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into useful functional nanomaterials.

Judges Christopher G. Ayala, Managing Partner, Towanda Capital; Sue Malone, Director of Marketing, Superior Financial Group; and Gerry O’Meara, head of Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate and Investment Banking at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, scored all presentations on a variety of criteria including value proposition, market and sales strategy, distinctive competence, and growth potential.

“Startup Day’s Pitch Competition has rightfully earned a reputation for showcasing some of the region’s best entrepreneurial talent,” said Harry L. Gross, Jr., Executive Vice President of Commercial Banking at SunTrust Bank and presenter of the $5,000 crowd favorite prize. “I commend each one of the pitch competitors for their hard work, passion, and vision, and look forward to seeing them grow their businesses here in East Tennessee.”

Startup Day 2017 featured a fireside chat with Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee and Mark Montgomery, Entrepreneur/Investor/Change Agent. The event also featured the awarding of the third annual Traction Award, sponsored by UT Federal Credit Union, which is presented to a Startup Day alum who has made the most progress over the past few years. Jenna Johns of RDI Technologies was the 2017 recipient.

About Startup Day

Startup Day is the signature event of Innov865 Week, a weeklong series of events that celebrates Knoxville’s entrepreneurial spirit. It is presented by the Innov865 Alliance, a brand that represents a commitment to yearlong collaboration to develop, support, and promote the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Founding members of the Innov865 Alliance include the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PYA, UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Three Roots Capital, Tennessee Valley Authority, Launch Tennessee, and Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. To learn more, visit http://innov865.com/.

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RDI Technologies Recipient of 3rd Annual Innov865 Traction Award, Presented by UT Federal Credit Union

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – RDI Technologies, which offers video camera-based technology to quickly determine faults in machinery, infrastructure, and human performance not visible to the human eye, is the recipient of the third annual Innov865 Traction Award. Jenna Johns, Chief Operating Officer of RDI, accepted the award for the company, whose President, Bob Wilson, presented a Power Pitch during the third Startup Day in 2015. The announcement was made during the fifth annual Startup Day program at the U.S. Cellular Stage at The Bijou Theatre in Downtown Knoxville.

RDI counts Fortune 100 companies as its customers including, Honda, Nissan, Dow Chemical and Shell Oil. Since August 2016, the company has been completely profitable and revenue has increased by 400 percent.

Myra Hamilton, Assistant Vice President of Business Lending at UT Federal Credit Union, the sponsor of the award, presented it to Johns in front of hundreds of business leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs in attendance at Startup Day.

“It is an honor to sponsor this award for the third year in a row and to bestow it on such a deserving recipient,” said Hamilton. “Jenna Johns and her colleagues at RDI have developed a video data collection system that is revolutionizing motion measurement capabilities and helping industries from healthcare to infrastructure solve big problems.”

RDI’s patented technology measures deflection, displacement, movement and vibration not visible to the human eye—it’s the first non-invasive, simple, and cost effective way to visualize and quickly determine faults in machinery, infrastructure, and human performance. The technology is more effective then looking at numbers and analysis from tools like accelerometers, strain gauges, modeling software, or even optical sensing technology.

A 2016 CodeWorks alum, RDI has been the recipient of two awards: the Vision Systems Design 2017 Innovator Award and an American Society of Civil Engineers 2016 Innovation Award in the “Innovative Business Models and Technologies” category. Currently, RDI is working to develop relationships with international resellers and expand its Fortune 100 footprint. The company has also grown in size, with eight full time and eight contract-based employees.

“On behalf of my team at RDI, we are humbled to be the 2017 recipient of the Innov865 Traction Award and look forward to growing our company right here in Knoxville, Tennessee,” said Johns.

About Startup Day

Startup Day is the signature event of Innov865 Week, a weeklong series of events that celebrates Knoxville’s entrepreneurial spirit. It is presented by the Innov865 Alliance, a brand that represents a commitment to yearlong collaboration to develop, support, and promote the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Founding members of the Innov865 Alliance include the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PYA, UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Three Roots Capital, Tennessee Valley Authority, Launch Tennessee, and Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. To learn more, visit http://innov865.com/.

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Startup Day 2017

Startup Day 2017 promises an exciting line-up that will showcase Knoxville as a great location for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses.

This year’s event will feature fireside chats with Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee and Mark Montgomery, Entrepreneur/Investor/Change Agent; power pitches from Knoxville-area startups competing for a cash prize up to $15,000, including the Startup Day 2017 Crowd Favorite Prize, presented by SunTrust Bank; and awarding of the 2017 Innov865 Traction Award presented by UT Federal Credit Union to a Startup Day alum who has made the most progress.

RSVP for Startup Day 2017 here.

Click here for a recap of Startup Day 2016.

Innov865 Alliance announces nominees for the 2017 Traction Award presented by UT Federal Credit Union 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Knoxville will once again celebrate its entrepreneurial spirit with the return of Innov865 Week and the fifth annual Startup Day, to be held on Thursday, September 21, featuring the Innov865 Traction Award presented by UT Federal Credit Union. The Innov865 Alliance has announced its 2017 nominees for the award, which is presented to a Startup Day alum who has made the most progress, or gained the most ‘traction,’ since pitching their business at Startup Day.

Startup Day is the signature event of Innov865 Week, a week-long series of events that celebrates entrepreneurship and showcases Knoxville as a great place to start and grow a business. Innov865 Week is set to take place September 18 – 22, 2017.

“East Tennessee has a rich tradition of innovation, and that tradition lives on in this year’s Traction Award nominees,” said Lynn Youngs, Executive Director of UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and a founding member of the Innov865 Alliance. “Each one has contributed in some way to building Knoxville’s reputation as THE place for startups in our region. They are true role models and exemplars of what it means to be an entrepreneur.”

“UT Federal Credit Union is pleased to once again sponsor the Traction Award and recognize the achievements of an East Tennessee entrepreneur who is not only thriving, but driving innovation and growth in our community,” said Myra Hamilton, AVP of Business Lending at UT Federal Credit Union.

Bob Bradley with NewsBreak was the 2016 award recipient. Since then, the company has reached an agreement with Gilbarco Veeder-Root, the world’s largest fuel pump manufacturer to make NewsBreak available to Gilbarco’s product line of multi-product fuel dispensers with a select number of U.S. based convenience store operators. Currently, NewsBreak is available across five states with 1,000 screens reaching 5.6 million viewers each month.

The Innov865 Traction Award presented by UT Federal Credit Union will be presented at Startup Day, Thursday, September 21 at the U.S. Cellular Stage at The Bijou Theatre. Startup Day is free and open to the public. Registration is required at http://innov865week.com/register/

The Innov865 Alliance selected the following three nominees:

Jenna Johns, RDI Technologies

Jenna Johns is the Chief Operating Officer for RDI Technologies, which has patented a noncontact, video camera-based technology platform that allows users to measure motion, vibration, deflection, and displacement not visible to the human eye. Unlike traditional contact monitoring systems, RDI’s technology measures data in real time, turning virtually every pixel in the camera’s view into a sensor capable of measuring vibration or motion with sub pixel accuracy. The results lend themselves to a visualization of motion, as captured in the company’s tag line “seeing is believing.” RDI’s method of video data collection has proven to be a cost effective, convenient, and safe way to conduct contact monitoring and has benefits for multiple markets, including infrastructure, healthcare, and machinery.

A 2015 Startup Day and 2016 CodeWorks alum, RDI has evolved from offering technology services to products that can be purchased and used by customers. The company has been awarded two patents (three additional patents are pending) and is now profitable, with revenues that have increased 300% year over year. RDI has also grown in size, with eight full time and eight contract-based employees. Within the last two years, the company has been the recipient of two awards: the Vision Systems Design 2017 Innovator Award and an American Society of Civil Engineers 2016 Innovation Award in the “Innovative Business Models and Technologies” category.

Graham Taylor, T&T Scientific

Graham Taylor is co-founder of T&T Scientific, a company that produces low-cost, single use liposome extrusion devices that simplify the process of preparing liposomes for research laboratories, manufacturing facilities, and clinical settings. Compared to other commercially available extrusion platforms, T&T Scientific’s NanoSizer (formerly LipX) technology is ready to use out of the package and does not require any assembly or cleaning. As a result, the liposome extrusion process time is reduced from the standard 45-60 minutes to 2-3 minutes, and its single-use nature eliminates the risk of batch to batch contamination.

Since winning the Startup Day Pitch Competition in 2016, Taylor, along with his business partner Nima Tamaddoni, have attained greater visibility for T&T Scientific, which helped them land their first investor. T&T Scientific’s NanoSizer product line has expanded to include the patent-pending NanoSizer AUTO, an automated system capable of scaling up liposome extrusion for large scale production, and the NanoSizer STERILE, the world’s first sterilized, single use, and fully assembled liposome extrusion system. In addition, T&T Scientific has started selling a selection of lipids to complement their equipment line. The company’s products are now available in 40 countries and its customer base has tripled in size. Total revenues for T&T Scientific reached $100,000 earlier in 2017 and the company has acquired seven patents since September 2016.

Chris Van Beke, Vendor Registry

Chris Van Beke is CEO and co-founder of Vendor Registry, an online platform that streamlines procurement and vendor management for local governments. Vendor Registry was founded with the simple purpose of making it easier to do business with local governments and institutions by replacing the paper-intensive purchasing process with a standardized, affordable, cloud-based solution. Through Vendor Registry, local governments can register their vendors, post bids and quotes, send notifications of those bids and quotes, and check to ensure their vendors remain in compliance. Vendor Registry also makes it easy for vendors to register with multiple governments and find bid opportunities in the areas they serve. It is a one-stop shop that saves time, generates new revenue for vendors and suppliers, and decreases costs for government and institutional purchasing departments.

Vendor Registry has experienced significant growth since participating in Startup Day 2014, having tripled its revenue in the last 18 months alone. The company has expanded its platform’s offerings, adding contract management tools and more robust reporting and data capture capabilities. The platform itself is being used by 250 governments and institutions in more than 20 states, primarily in the Southeast and Midwest, and more than 36,000 vendors are registered, representing all 50 states and Canada.

About Innov865 Alliance

The Innov865 Alliance develops, supports, and promotes the Knoxville region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is a collaborative effort to celebrate and showcase Knoxville as a great place for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses and increase access to capital. Innov865 Week is our signature event; however, the Alliance coordinates other activities throughout the year, including pitch competitions, educational opportunities, and social events. Founding members of the Innov865 Alliance include the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Lab, PYA, UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Three Roots Capital, Tennessee Valley Authority, Launch Tennessee and Knoxville Entrepreneur Center.

Learn more about us at http://innov865.com/

About UT Federal Credit Union

UT Federal Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative with more than 22,000 member-owners and assets of over $250 million. UT Federal Credit Union’s mission is to provide members with exceptional financial service, education and leadership. As winner of the Tennessee Small Business Administration Credit Union of the Year award each year since 2012, UT Federal Credit Union is dedicated to providing support to startups and small businesses in Tennessee. The heart of UT Federal Credit Union has always been and will always be its owners. Learn more about UTFCU at https://www.utfcu.org/

Startup Day Pitch Competition Ups the Ante with Two Cash Prizes for 2017

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The 2017 Startup Day pitch competition promises to be bigger than ever with the addition of a second cash prize. This year’s six competitors will pitch their businesses before a panel of investor judges on Thursday, September 21 at the U.S. Cellular Stage at The Bijou Theatre for the chance to win up to $15,000. This is the fifth Startup Day pitch competition and the signature event of the second annual Innov865 Week, a celebration of Knoxville’s vibrant entrepreneurial community, September 18-22, 2017.

“Innov865 Week is our opportunity to highlight the diverse entrepreneurs who are driving innovation and economic growth in the region,” said Jim Biggs, Executive Director of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC). KEC is a founding member of the Innov865 Alliance. “This year’s Startup Day pitch competitors more than exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit found here in East Tennessee. I am excited to see just how far they will go.”

New this year, the Startup Day pitch competition will feature two prize categories: the Startup Day 2017 Judge’s Choice Prize presented by the Innov865 Alliance, worth $10,000, and the Startup Day 2017 Crowd Favorite Prize presented by SunTrust Bank, worth $5,000. Competitors will have an opportunity to win both prizes for a grand total of $15,000.

“SunTrust Bank is pleased and honored to join the Innov865 Alliance as a sponsor for the fifth annual Startup Day pitch competition. We are amazed at the entrepreneurial talent represented at this year’s competition and look forward to giving one deserving East Tennessee startup the financial kick-start they need to grow their business,” said Harry L. Gross, Jr., Knoxville City President and Executive Vice President of Commercial Banking at SunTrust Bank.

Graham Taylor, co-founder of T&T Scientific and the 2016 Startup Day cash prize winner, has made great strides with his business since pitching at last year’s competition. He has expanded his single-use liposome extrusion device product line, tripled his customer base, and has an international reach with products available for sale in 40 countries. To top it off, total revenues for T&T Scientific reached $100,000 earlier in 2017 and the company has acquired seven patents since September 2016.

Startup Day is free and open to the public. Registration is required at http://innov865week.com/register/

The Innov865 Alliance selected the following six startups to compete in the 2017 pitch competition:

Mac Bartine, Smart RIA Smart RIA is a cloud-based, secure software platform that simplifies and automates regulatory compliance for the registered investment advisor (RIA) industry, serving firms that are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Compliance management can be a costly and time-consuming task for businesses, especially those that do not have in-house expertise. Smart RIA’s software streamlines the process through customized tools that use customer data to track and address compliance issues. This solution not only saves customers time and money, but allows them to focus on growing their business while remaining compliant and independent.

Anna Douglas, SkyNano Technologies SkyNano Technologies has developed an open system manufacturing technique to produce low cost, high value carbon nanotubes, a material with potential applications in a variety of areas from energy storage to consumer electronics. Compared to traditional manufacturing processes that require high vacuum and high pressure gas flow systems, SkyNano’s patent-pending technology relies on the electrochemical conversion of carbon dioxide, resulting in a process that is lower in cost and scalable for commercial applications. Aside from lowering the cost of carbon nanotubes, SkyNano’s technique offers a promising method for converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into useful functional nanomaterials.

Flora Ellis, Unveil Unveil is a free online tool that makes wedding planning much easier. The Unveil team has taken the experiences of a hundred couples who planned their own weddings and distilled their feedback into a comprehensive and easy-to-use tool. With Unveil, couples can compare vendors side-by-side to make important hiring decisions. In addition, Unveil offers a premium concierge service for couples who are looking for personal assistance in gathering pricing, availability, and other vendor details, tailored to their specific needs.

Brandon Hardin, Joyce Development, LLC Joyce Development, LLC has developed the Command Glove™, a lightweight, Bluetooth enabled glove embedded with sensors that control functions on electronic devices, such as cell phones, mp3 players, and tablets. With the Command Glove™, wearers can answer a call or change up their playlist with just the tap of a finger, all without having to remove the device from their pocket. The Command Glove™’s patent pending technology promises to change the way people interact with electronics, making it easier and more efficient to interface with wearables and mobile technology while on the go.

Jonaaron Jones, Volunteer Aerospace, Inc. Volunteer Aerospace, Inc. (VAI) uses metal powder bed additive manufacturing to produce hardware and fully functional prototypes for the aerospace and defense industries. VAI uses state-of-the-art additive equipment that has been production hardened to produce aerospace grade components with lower lead times. This competitive edge allows VAI to compete with traditional casting and forging processes.

Melissa Kreis-Stephens, Tomboy Organic Skincare Tomboy Organic Skincare is an organic skin care company for adventure enthusiasts that formulates plant salves, skin care products, and makeup using herbs and roots from the southeast’s native deciduous forests. Born from an experiment to create a poison ivy salve in a Tennessee high school science classroom, Tomboy Organic Skincare has expanded its focus to create earth-inspired, preservative-free products that provide relief from sunburn, sore muscles, scars, and insect bites and stings. The company was awarded the American Choice Best Brand Award in 2016 and its War Woman Scar Oil Salve was recognized as one of Trailblazer Girl’s Top Skin Care Products of 2016.

About Innov865 Alliance

The Innov865 Alliance develops, supports, and promotes the Knoxville region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is a collaborative effort to celebrate and showcase Knoxville as a great place for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses and increase access to capital. Innov865 Week is our signature event; however, the Alliance coordinates other activities throughout the year, including pitch competitions, educational opportunities, and social events. Founding members of the Innov865 Alliance include the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Lab, PYA, UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Three Roots Capital, Tennessee Valley Authority, Launch Tennessee and Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. Learn more about us at http://innov865.com/

About SunTrust Bank

SunTrust is a purpose-driven company dedicated to Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being for the people, businesses, and communities it serves. Headquartered in Atlanta, SunTrust operates an extensive branch and ATM network throughout the high-growth Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states, along with 24-hour digital access. As of June 30, 2017, SunTrust had total assets of $207 billion and total deposits of $158 billion. In February 2016, SunTrust launched its onUp Movement, a national movement inspiring Americans to build financial confidence and reduce financial stress. The goal is to have five million people take a pledge and make a commitment to take control of their finances. As of August 2017, more than two million people have joined the Movement. Learn more at www.onUp.com.

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Endeavor Summit 2017 will be your chance to get a preview of Innov865 Week 2017

More than 600 young professionals will be coming to Knoxville on September 15 for Endeavor Summit 2017 where attendees will also get a sneak peak into what Innov865 Week 2017 has to offer.

The one-day experience will take over three major venues along Depot Avenue in the Old City. Produced by the Knoxville Chamber and planned by a team of young professional volunteers, Endeavor is designed to empower our region’s emerging leaders to evolve their personal brand and elevate the community through collective development opportunities.

The Innov865 Alliance will have a booth set up at the Summit, where attendees can learn more about Innov865 Week 2017 events celebrating Knoxville’s entrepreneurial community and sign up for the feature event Startup Day 2017.

Two compelling keynote speakers will headline the morning and afternoon sessions: Hallerin Hilton Hill, talk radio host on Newstalk 98.7 WOKI and television talk show host of Anything is Possible on WBIR-TV; and Chris “Bash” Bashinelli, host of Bridge the Gap featured on PBS and the National Geographic Channel.

Breakout session topics focus on Launching Something New, Growing What You Got, and Why Knoxville is No. 1. Attendees can choose from the multiple breakout session options, allowing for the creation of a custom schedule tailored to their individual goals. The day wraps up with networking happy hour featuring local music, craft brews, and food.

Each attendee also has the chance to participate in activities designed to inspire growth, engagement, and excitement. These include contributing to an on-site, service-to-go project; observing the work of a local muralist; connecting with over 600 peers and community leaders; utilizing a hacker lounge; and exploring non-profit and sponsor exhibits. Lunch features local restaurants and food trucks for an outdoor picnic, and DJs amplify the experience with music and entertainment.

Individual tickets and special group rates are now available. Registration includes access to all keynote and breakout sessions, activities, breakfast, lunch, networking opportunities, and the Endeavor Happy Hour.

Application extended for the 2017 Startup Day Pitch Competition

Knoxville, Tenn.– Applications are now being extended for Innov865 Week’s Startup Day 2017 pitch competition. The event will feature six East Tennessee startups pitching their businesses for a chance to win up to $15,000 in cash prizes. This is the fifth Startup Day pitch competition and the signature event of the second annual Innov865 Week, a celebration of Knoxville’s vibrant entrepreneurial community, September 18-22, 2017.

“Knoxville is quickly earning a reputation as one of the best locations in the Southeast for entrepreneurs to start and grow a business,” said Tom Ballard, Pershing Yoakley & Associates (PYA). PYA is a founding member of the Innov865 Alliance. “Innov865 Week is our opportunity to showcase our city and region as a hub of innovation and talent.”

To apply for the pitch competition, eligible startups must be located in the East Tennessee region and fill out an application, available on the Innov865 Week website: http://innov865week.com/pitch-competition/. Applications will be accepted from June 16 through July 10, 2017. The Innov865 Alliance will review applications and select six startups to participate. Applicants will be notified of the Alliance’s decision no later than July 17, 2017.

Startup Day 2017 is Thursday, September 21, 2017 at the U.S. Cellular Stage at The Bijou Theatre.

New this year, the Startup Day pitch competition will feature two prize categories: judges’ choice and crowd favorite. Competitors will have an opportunity to win up to $15,000. T&T Scientific claimed the winning prize during Startup Day 2016.

In addition, the Innov865 Traction Award presented by UT Federal Credit Union will return this year recognizing a Startup Day alum who has made the most progress.

Innov865 Week 2017 promises another packed week of educational panels, investor roundtables, demo days, and networking opportunities. The week will kick-off on Monday with Future865, an event that will explore opportunities to help Knoxville leverage its many assets – social, cultural, and technical – to become THE destination for entrepreneurs in the Southeast. Other scheduled activities include a technology showcase hosted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee Research Foundation; The Works hosted by the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center; the return of the Maker Summit and Elev865, an exclusive networking event for business leaders and entrepreneurs; and the roll-out of Olli, a self-driving, fully electric vehicle that was created and manufactured by Local Motors, a Knoxville-based company that designs and builds innovative motor vehicles.

The inaugural Innov865 Week in 2016 was a wild success, featuring 25 events and drawing more than 1,400 startups, entrepreneurs, makers, investors, business leaders, students, and community leaders from across East Tennessee.

About

Innov865 Week is presented by the Innov865 Alliance. The Innov865 Alliance develops, supports and promotes the Knoxville region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. It’s a collaborative effort to celebrate and showcase Knoxville as a great place for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses and increase access to capital. Founding members include the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PYA, UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Three Roots Capital, Launch Tennessee, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and TVA.

For more information, visit: www.innov865.com