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Six startup companies will vie for $25,000 to help kick-start the commercialization of their idea in the Tennessee Venture Challenge (TVC) on Thursday, April 3. The UT Research Foundation (UTRF) will host the inaugural event from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. at The Foundry, 747 Worlds Fair Park Drive, Knoxville.

TVC is a business plan competition for the UT community, where university-affiliated startup companies will pitch their business model to a panel of investors who will choose the winner of the $25,000 cash prize.

“We are thrilled about the Tennessee Venture Challenge and the quality of the business ideas we’ve received,” said David Millhorn, president of UTRF. “One of the primary functions of UTRF is to move inventions from the classroom and lab into the commercial marketplace, and one of the ways we do that is by equipping UT researchers with the resources to successfully create a startup company around their idea.”

Ten potential companies presented their business plans to a panel of judges on March 25, and six were selected to move on to compete in the TVC Pitch Competition on April 3.

The six companies advancing to the finals are:

QuickSod, LLC—a company enabling sod farmers to dramatically reduce time required to produce harvestable sod, allowing for on-demand sod production.

Paradox Pharmaceuticals, Inc.—an early-stage company dedicated to translating laboratory discoveries into new drugs to treat cancer and heart disease in humans and companion animals.

Palsar, LLC—a company improving food processing methods and reducing food wastage. Their technology will accurately capture the time required for different stages of seed germination, greatly reducing the chance of error and saving the customer time and energy.

GCaDD, LLC—a company developing optically active glass components and associated devices for use in dental radiography.

ResourceIO—a company providing tools to aggregate, analyze, and create action plans for greenhouses and other confined agricultural operations. Their products combine innovative sensors, expert algorithms, and elegant user interfaces to increase yield.

Fertility Focus, Inc.—a company improving fertility rates in beef and dairy production.

In addition to the pitch competition, during the final event recognition also will be given to recent startup companies based on UT technologies.

This event is open to the public and everyone is invited to attend and learn more about the exciting research and ideas coming out of the university. There is no cost to attend, but guests are asked to register online in advance.

For more information on the Tennessee Venture Challenge, visit the website.

UTRF helps inventors at UT turn their ideas and discoveries into products and services that benefit society. In addition to supporting the university research enterprise and commercializing the resulting inventions, UTRF also supports entrepreneurship as well as state and regional economic development efforts. UTRF serves all seven of the UT campuses and institutes across the state. For more information, visit the research foundation’s website.

C O N T A C T :

Kimberly Hood, UTRF (865-974-1809,