KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Innov865 Week is back with six new finalists — each with a new idea — for 2022.

The pitch competition finalists were chosen by the Innov865 Alliance to face off at 2 p.m. on Sept. 20 for Startup Day 2022. This annual event will be held at Mill and Mine in downtown Knoxville.

The competition is held before a live audience and is free to attend. A panel of judges will decide on two winners who will receive a share of $10,000 in cash prizes.

In 2021, Dr. Bruce Ramshaw and his startup CQInsights was named the winner, earning a $7,000 top prize to further his company’s mission of lowering costs and increase quality of patient care by applying data analytics.

This year’s finalists have some big ideas about virtual reality, building better lithium-ion batteries, nourishing new mothers, recycling fiberglass like boats, and growing a world class cutlery business.

This year’s judges’ panel spotlights female business leaders in Knoxville, featuring Tanika Harper, Founder and CEO of Shora Foundation and Harper’s Naturals, Jenna Johns, COO at RDI Technologies, and Carol Carden, Managing Principal of Valuation Services for PYA. 

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.

Here are the pitches. Which one would get your investment vote?

D3D VR Studios 

D3D LLC provides extended reality software development and IT consulting services.


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.


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, TN.

The Lotus Program

The Lotus Program, an auxiliary of Meik Meals, LLC., aims to nourish mothers post-birth to include those mothers recovering from child loss. The concept of “postpartum chef” is not radical, but it is a niche practice. This postpartum meal service is tailored to mothers that includes a weekly meal preparation service for a minimum of one quarter post-birth providing lunch, dinner and herbal teas.


ThinkUp is a cognitive development consultation organization. By using cognitive science to develop more effective talent strategies, and improve the soft skills of employees that build the relationships that secure the strategic goals within an organization.


Windfall recycles end of life fiberglass composite products, like wind turbine blades, cars, boats, building materials, and so on, and converts them back into raw materials for making new wind turbine blades, cars, boats, building materials, and so on. At product end of life, Windfall provides waste recycling services to large generators like wind farm owner-operators decommissioning a farm. Windfall then upcycles this waste into raw materials purchasable by original equipment manufacturers for new products, like wind turbine producers building more turbine blades.

The winners will be announced at the conclusion of Pitch Day on Sept. 20.

What is INNOV865 & The INNOV865 Alliance?

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, UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm, the City of Knoxville and Bunker Labs Knoxville. To learn more, visit