KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Innov865 Alliance has selected six of Knoxville’s most investable startups as pitch competition finalists for Startup Day 2020. The annual “Shark Tank”-style competition is the premier event of Innov865 Week, which will be held virtually Sept. 28 – Oct. 2.

Each of the six entrepreneurs will pitch their business in front of a panel of expert judges for a chance to win up to $10,000 in cash prizes. Two prizes are up for grabs: the Innov865 Judges’ Choice prize and the Innov865 Crowd Favorite prize, presented by BB&T and SunTrust Bank, now Truist.

Startup Day 2020 is Tuesday, Sept. 29 starting at 2 p.m. The event is open to the public and will be presented virtually using the Knoxville-based technology platform, Lunchpool. Tickets are available now online.

Hosted by the Innov865 Alliance, Innov865 Week spotlights Knoxville as a great place to start and grow businesses and connects the entrepreneurs planting roots here with support systems to succeed. The week’s events bring together local leaders, investors, entrepreneurs, and the public to support local economic development and celebrate Knoxville’s entrepreneurial spirit.

WATE 6 On Your Side is pleased to present this year’s Virtual Elevator Sessions. Each of the selected Startup Day entrepreneurs is given 60-seconds to pitch their company. Hosted by Bo Williams, these sessions are an opportunity to quickly learn what each company and product has to offer.

Watch these short videos and you will see that the entrepreneurial spirit is truly alive and well in East Tennessee. Who do you think should walk away with the $10,000 prize?

Alex Lewis, Electro-Active Technologies Inc.
Electro-Active Technologies is a public benefit corporation developing a modular system for converting food waste into hydrogen. This fights climate change on two fronts by keeping food waste out of the landfill while providing a zero-emission fuel to offset gasoline and diesel use.

Dan Close, 490 BioTech
490 BioTech is a biotechnology company making glowing human cells that revolutionize scientific research. This technology enables pharmaceutical companies to better identify safe, effective drugs by making cells continuously produce a visual light signal that adjusts in real-time to represent changes in cellular health.

Erica Grant, Quantum Lock
Quantum Lock started in 2018 and has since developed untraceable password generator technology that can be used by hotels for increased security in guest rooms.

Mike Benn, Songboarding
Songboarding is a company that is built on a remarkably simple concept: music equals memory. Songboarding artists are able to help generate meaningful and purposeful content for companies in their efforts to train new and existing employees.

Sofia Tomov, Qardian Labs
Qardian Labs develops innovative artificial intelligence-based software solutions for evaluating heart disease risk with 99 percent accuracy on test data. The company’s software benefits sports physicians by helping flag athletes at risk of sudden cardiac arrest, which is the leading cause of death in athletes.

Stacy Baugues, PowerUp Fitness
PowerUp Fitness certifies wellness champions as youth fitness instructors and provides them with the training and support needed to empower youth through fitness, education, and fun in their communities. 

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