KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The winners of Innov865 Alliance‘s 10th annual pitch competition, Startup Day, have been announced. Business leaders, entrepreneurs, students and investors gathered in person and online to vote and celebrate Startup Day at The Mill & Mine on Tuesday evening.

Startup Day is the headlining event of Innov865 Week, Sept 16 to 23 — a week set aside each year to celebrate Knoxville’s thriving entrepreneurial community.

John Phillips, founder of Primeaux, won the Crowd Favorite cash prize of $7,000 which was presented by the Innov865 Alliance. Don DeRosa, Co-Founder and CEO of Eonix, won the $3,000 Judges’ Choice Award which was presented by Truist.

Crowd Favorite Winner


Primeaux is a small manufacturer of world-class hand-made kitchen cutlery and cookware. Producing the finest and most sought-after work in their class, all crafted in downtown Knoxville, Tenn.

Judges’ Choice Award 


Eonix has created the first semi-autonomous materials R&D system, ATLAS-system, that drastically reduces the time and cost to design new materials for lithium-ion batteries. This breakthrough process shrinks product development cycles of application-specific lithium-ion battery chemistries from years to months. Eonix’s novel ATLAS-system enables the rapid design of drop-in compatible electrolyte solutions that address the market-specific barriers to electric vehicles, grid storage and hybrid defense systems to drive cleantech adoption. 

About Innov865

Innov865 Week is a weeklong celebration of Knoxville’s entrepreneurial spirit that brings together startups, entrepreneurs, makers, investors, business leaders, students, and community leaders from across East Tennessee for a week of educational panels, pitch competitions, investor roundtables, and social events. It is presented by the Innov865 Alliance, a coalition that develops, supports, and promotes 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, Knoxville Chamber, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center,  Veteran’s Ventures, UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm, the City of Knoxville and Bunker Labs Knoxville. To learn more, visit