YouEat, a mobile application offering a social solution to online food ordering, won first place in the fall 2019 Vol Court Pitch Competition hosted by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in UT’s Haslam College of Business.
Seniors Ashley Chen and Frank Gao pitched YouEat in the semiannual competition. Gao is an industrial engineering major from Tazewell, Tennessee; Chen is an industrial engineering major and entrepreneurship minor from Los Angeles, California.
The app, nicknamed Yeat by Chen and Gao, allows users to interface during the ordering process, adding to open orders to combine delivery or order pickup.
“When seeing a friend or co-worker’s lunch, all of us have thought, ‘Oh, that looks so good. I’d like to go get some, but do I have time?’ Yeat gives users the option to hop on orders before they’re placed, so users can choose how to spend that extra 20 minutes during lunch,” Gao said.
The app will save users time by providing a speedy solution to combining group orders while saving delivery fees. Yeat also offers incentives for users who choose to pick up orders.
“Yeat is all about saving users time and rewarding users for picking up lunch,” Gao said.
The team said the Vol Court award money and prize package will boost their current efforts to develop the idea.
“We are reaching out to restaurants, creating a marketing plan, and hope to gain support in the coding realm,” Chen said.
Chen and Gao’s first-place prize includes $1,500 from Red Stag Fulfillment, office space in the UT Research Foundation Business Incubator, consulting services courtesy of PYA, legal advice from Morehous Legal Group, design services from Innovative Design Inc., and web design services from Make Me Modern.
Second place went to Andrew Swafford for Andy’s Beekeeping LLC, a business providing all-natural honey and beeswax products. The senior plant sciences major began beekeeping while in high school in his hometown of Pikeville, Tennessee.
“My top-selling product is jalapeño-infused clover honey,” said Swafford. “I developed the unique process used to make the honey, which yields a high-quality product.”
Swafford’s company also produces a line of beeswax lip balms and salves in a variety of scents. These products, and several types of honey, are available for purchase through the company’s website.
“We pride ourselves on producing the purest all-natural quality honey and honey products at affordable prices,” said Swafford.
Swafford received $1,000, office space in the UTRF Business Incubator, legal advice from Morehous Legal Group, and design services from Innovative Design Inc.
Third-place winner Joshua Cook, a senior from Knoxville, pitched The Half Windsor, a company providing premium-quality bespoke suits and custom shirts.
“I understand that when you look good you feel good. I’ve found a way to make bespoke suit buying affordable and accessible, and people need that,” said Cook, an economics and finance major.
Cook said he plans to sell the company’s products online, using the Vol Court prize money to further develop his website.
“By selling online and sourcing differently than our competitors, we make bespoke tailoring affordable and accessible,” said Cook.
Cook received $500, legal advice from Morehous Legal Group, and design services from Innovative Design Inc.
“Vol Court participants brought great energy to the competition and the speaker sessions this semester,” said Shawn Carson, Vol Court director. “It’s exciting to see the entrepreneurship community continue to grow at UT.”
The Vol Court Pitch Competition was the final event of the fall 2019 Vol Court Speaker Series. Leading up to the competition, participants attended five workshops covering entrepreneurship topics like legal structures for businesses and staffing startups.
Vol Court is a free event hosted by the Anderson Center each fall and spring semester. It is open to UT students, faculty, and staff as well as members of the local community. Partners for the competition include Red Stag Fulfillment, the UT Research Foundation, PYA, Morehous Legal Group, Three Roots Capital, Innovative Design Inc., and Make Me Modern.
Carrie McCamey (865-974-9964, email@example.com)