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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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/

Knoxville Showcases its Entrepreneurial Spirit at Startup Day 2016

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 22, 2016 for the fourth annual Startup Day. The event is part of Innov865 Week, which celebrates and showcases Knoxville as a great place to start and grow businesses.

Graham Taylor, T&T Scientific won the pitch competition and was awarded $5,000 from sponsors Three Roots Capital and SouthEast Bank. T&T Scientific was one of six startups participating in the pitch competition this year.

Graham Taylor, co-founder of T&T Scientific, created LipX, a time-saving, single use extrusion device that researchers can use to prepare liposomes for use in a wide range of research applications. Unlike the gold standard device which requires 45-60 minutes to assemble and clean with each use, LipX is ready to use out of the package and does not require the use of harsh chemicals for cleaning.

Bob Bradley, President and CEO of NewsBreak and Startup Day 2014 alum, received the second annual Traction Award, presented by UT Federal Credit Union. The Traction Award is given to a Startup alum who has gained the most momentum in the past three years. Launched in 2009, NewsBreak is a programmatic merchandising platform that converts fuel-only customers to multi-product purchasers.

Startup Day also featured Paul Singh, nationally recognized serial entrepreneur and seed stage investor, who came to Knoxville as part of his North American Tech Tour. Aside from being a featured guest at Startup Day, Paul held one-on-one consultations with a lucky few Knoxville-area startups to gain a better understanding of Knoxville’s entrepreneurial landscape and identify potential investment opportunities.

“I continue to be amazed and inspired by the entrepreneurial talent we have here in Knoxville,” said Stacey Patterson, Vice President of the University of Tennessee Research Foundation and founding member of the Innov865 Alliance, which hosts Innov865 Week. “Our region has a rich tradition of innovation, and Startup Day gives our entrepreneurs a platform to share their hard work and grow their businesses. The award winners and startup pitchers truly exemplify Knoxville’s entrepreneurial spirit.”

Startup Day was just one in a series of events held during Innov865 Week, which wraps up today. Throughout the week more than one thousand entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders, students and the East Tennessee community participated in educational panels, investor roundtables and social events that promoted entrepreneurship in Knoxville and the surrounding area.

About Startup Day

Startup Day is an annual event that showcases Knoxville as a destination for startups and entrepreneurs. The event is part of Innov865 Week which is organized by the members of the Innov865 Alliance: The University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Lab, Launch Tennessee, PYA, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, and The Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. http://innov865.com/

T&T Scientific Wins Startup Day 2016 Pitch Competition

Graham Taylor with T&T Scientific claimed the winning pitch prize during Startup Day 2016 on Thursday, September 22, 2016 on the U.S. Cellular Stage at The Bijou Theatre in Downtown Knoxville.

Graham Taylor, T&T Scientific received $5,000 from sponsors Three Roots Capital and SouthEast Bank. The winning pitch was one of six heard during the fourth annual Startup Day, which began offering prize money for a pitch winner in 2015.

“Graham Taylor exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit that defines Startup Day and makes Knoxville such a great place to grow a business. It is truly an honor to bestow this prize on T&T Scientific and I am excited to see where the future leads them,” said Monty Montgomery, President of SouthEast Bank.

Graham Taylor, co-founder of T&T Scientific, created LipX, a time-saving, single use extrusion device that researchers can use to prepare liposomes for use in a wide range of research applications. Unlike the gold standard device which requires 45-60 minutes to assemble and clean with each use, LipX is ready to use out of the package and does not require the use of harsh chemicals for cleaning.

Judges David Kereiakes, Senior Associate, River Cities Capital Funds; Sue Malone, President, Strategies for Small Businesses; and Tony Shipley, Chairman and Co-Founder, Queen City Angels, 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 showcased some of the best entrepreneurial talent that East Tennessee has to offer,“ said Grady Vanderhoofven, President and CEO of Three Roots Capital and co-presenter of the $5,000 prize. “I commend all of the entrepreneurs for their hard work and vision, and look forward to seeing them grow their businesses.”

Startup Day 2016 featured Paul Singh, nationally recognized serial entrepreneur and seed stage investor, who came to Knoxville as part of his North American Tech Tour. The event also featured the awarding of the second 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. Bob Bradley of NewsBreak was the 2016 recipient.

All six startups received a one-year subscription to FundingSages’ TurboFunder Platform, which provides entrepreneurs information, resources and tools to guide them through the creation and development of an investable company.

About Startup Day

Startup Day is an annual event that showcases Knoxville as a destination for startups and entrepreneurs. The event is part of Innov865 Week which is organized by the members of the Innov865 Alliance: The University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Lab, Launch Tennessee, PYA, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, and The Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. http://innov865week.com/event/startup-day-2016/

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NewsBreak Recipient of Startup Day’s 2nd Annual Traction Award, Presented by UT Federal Credit Union

NewsBreak, a programmatic merchandising platform launched in 2009 that converts fuel-only customers to multi-product purchasers, is the recipient of Startup Day 2016’s second annual Traction Award. Bob Bradley, President and CEO of NewsBreak, presented a Power Pitch during the second Startup Day in 2014. The announcement was made during the Startup Day program at the U.S. Cellular Stage at The Bijou Theatre in Downtown Knoxville.

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

“It is an honor to sponsor this award for the second year in a row and to bestow it on such a deserving recipient,” said Hamilton. “Bob Bradley has taken a local digital startup company and transformed it into a nationally recognized software company that is changing how retailers market products to consumers.”

NewsBreak is currently available across five states, with expected growth to reach 300 convenience stores by the end of this year, up from 88 locations at the end of 2014.  Earlier this year, NewsBreak opened its first site in the state of Utah through a strategic partnership with Sinclair Oil and Bennett Pump Company. The deal makes NewsBreak available to not only 1,400 Sinclair branded stations in 19 states, but the 6,000 fueling retailer locations across the U.S. that are currently served by the third largest fuel pump manufacturer in the world, Bennett Pump Company.

NewsBreak continues to enhance their software capabilities through the implementation of predictive marketing and dynamic data analytics. The development efforts are being led by Co-Founder & COO Brian Nelson, who has a background in statistical analytics and experimental psychology. The platform now utilizes historical sales and key consumer buying variable data, like unit sales, market basket, temperature, and household income to build contextual content management rules for each retail location. The content management system then delivers a relevant playlist of merchandising messages to pump-to TV and in-store screen networks. Once deployed, the software creates a feedback loop by continually updating new sales and consumer buying variable data to inform and adapt the contextual rules, resulting in adjustments to the playlist.

“I am humbled to be the 2016 recipient of the Traction Award,” said Bradley. “Startup Day provided a platform for NewsBreak’s success and growth over the last two years. I cannot think of a better place to start up a business or call home than East Tennessee.”

About Startup Day

Startup Day is an annual event that showcases Knoxville as a destination for startups and entrepreneurs. The event is part of Innov865 Week which is organized by members of the Innov865 Alliance: The University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Lab, Launch Tennessee, PYA, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, and The Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. http://innov865week.com/event/startup-day-2016/