Now more than ever we need to celebrate Knoxville’s entrepreneurial community. 

Hosted by the Innov865 Alliance, the upcoming Innov865 Week is an annual event that celebrates some of our city’s greatest innovators and entrepreneurs. From the annual “Shark Tank”-style pitch competition to the new Innov865 Impact Award honoring an inventor who has made a positive impact in the fight against COVID-19, you do not want to miss out on this week-long celebration of local entrepreneurship.

Compared to years past, Innov865 Week 2020 is going to look a little bit different. Like many other festivals and conferences around the country, all our events will take place virtually, running from September 28 to October 2. The premier event of Innov865 Week, Startup Day 2020, will take place September 29 at 2 p.m. on the Knoxville-based platform, Lunchpool

Going virtual has allowed us to get creative about our programming and how we can continue to network and stay connected remotely. Innov865 Week 2020 has something for everyone. Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect from the Innov865 Week calendar:

  • September 28: We will kick off Innov865 Week 2020 with opening remarks over Facebook Live from Randy Boyd, the University of Tennessee President and Founder of Radio Systems Corporation. Later in the day, UT Research Park will hold its Spark Showcase. Follow Innov865 on Facebook here!
  • September 29: Startup Day 2020! Cheer and vote for your favorite startup as they go head-to-head with other participants in the annual pitch competition! Winners will be announced later in the week. RSVP here!
  • September 30: Familiar with Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Innovation Crossroads program for energy entrepreneurs? Don’t miss the Innovation Crossroads Showcase, hosted by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council and Launch Tennessee
  • October 1: The Innov865 Investor Speed Pitch is back! This invite-only event is a chance for startups to meet with and pitch to investors. 
  • October 2: At the Startup Day 2020 Awards Ceremony you’ll get the chance to see if your favorite startup won the pitch competition! As a new addition to this year’s events, you’ll also see what Knoxville inventor secured the Innov865 Impact Award for making a positive impact in the fight against COVID-19. 

You don’t want to miss Startup Day 2020! Startup Day’s pitch competition will feature six of Knoxville’s most investable startups pitching their businesses 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.

Curious about who is competing in this year’s Startup Day pitch competition? The startup finalists include: 

  • Electro-Active Technologies: developing a modular system to convert food waste and renewable electricity into low-cost hydrogen. Their system keeps food waste out of landfills and provides a zero-emission fuel to offset gasoline and diesel use.
  • 490 BioTech: makes bioluminescent human cells capable of continuously producing a visual light signal that adjusts in real-time to represent changes in cellular health. The company’s glowing cells can be used by pharmaceutical companies in their efforts to develop safer, more effective, and less expensive medicines.
  • Quantum Lock: developing a smart lock system that is more secure than many current smartphone-based key systems. Quantum Lock’s technology uses quantum physics to generate keys that are random and untraceable.
  • Qardian Labs: develops innovative artificial intelligence-based software solutions for evaluating heart disease risk. The company is dedicated to reducing the occurrence of Sudden Cardiac Arrest by improving screening for people in high stress environments.
  • 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.
  • Songboarding: subscription-based platform that combines music with safety training, providing employers with a fun and memorable alternative to traditional training methods.

A new addition to the Startup Day 2020 program is the Innov865 Impact Award, presented by Verizon. The Innov865 Impact Award recognizes an inventor who has made a positive impact in the fight against COVID-19. The inaugural Innov865 Impact Award recipient, along with the winners of the Innov865 Judges’ Choice and Innov865 Crowd Favorite prizes, will be announced during the October 2 awards ceremony.

Please join us during Innov865 Week 2020. Every event is free and open to anyone who is interested in the Knoxville entrepreneurial community. To register for Startup Day 2020 or learn more about the entire week’s schedule, visit the Innov865 Week’s calendar