Ten entrepreneurs — two more than had been planned — will pitch their ideas Thursday night during The Company Lab's annual "Will This Float?" event.
Co.Lab had expected to showcase eight startup proposals, most focused on this year's theme of music and entertainment. But almost 40 submissions came in, widening the field.
› What: Will This Float? Startup pitch competition
› When: 6-10 p.m., Thursday
› Where: Revelry Room, 41 E. 14th Street, Chattanooga
› Cost: $7 in advance, $10 at the door
"The volume, quality and diversity of their ideas far exceeded our expectations," said Tia Capps, Co.Lab's communications director. "We saw business concepts ranging everywhere from backstage video streaming to indoor drone racing and aquatic cycling."
Co.Lab picked the 10 finalists based on how novel each business idea was, its adoption costs and whether it had direct competition, Capps said. "We're very pleased with our final selection."
Still, the nonprofit organization plans to schedule one-on-one meetings with the entrepreneurs who didn't make it into Thursday's finals. "The ideas they shared with us were quite promising, so we're eager to sit down with them and see where we can help," Capps said.
Thursdays finalists include six music-and-entertainment ideas, among them a music management company and a 3-D musical instrument maker. The four general business finalists include food-related startups and a CPR aid.
Each finalist will have three minutes to pitch his or her idea before a panel of three judges and an audience that includes general attendees and local business leaders. After each pitch, judges will ask the entrepreneur a few questions. The audience will weigh in with one-quarter of the vote in each category.
There will be three winners: best overall idea, best music/entertainment idea and best general business idea. The overall winner will get $1,000 and a $500 voucher from Forum Sherpas. The two others will get $250 each. All three winners will get 10 hours of free business services from Chambliss Startup Group and Henderson Hutcherson & McCullough. In addition, the two top music/entertainment entrepreneurs will get connected with music industry experts that SoundCorps features at its quarterly professional development events.
The competition is 6-10 p.m. at Revelry Room, in Chattanooga.
Co.Lab reports that since the annual business competition started in 2010, it has given the floor to 47 entrepreneurs who have raised nearly $6 million in combined capital. The event helped launch several successful Chattanooga startups including Granola, RootsRated, SupplyHog and Variable. Last year, Knoxville-based Innovasan took the top spot.
Contact Mitra Malek at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @MitraMalek.
› RadAR is an augmented reality platform that helps venues promote their music and allows users to find new artists and upcoming concerts. Presenter: Bryce Hooper
› River City Music Management is a music management and artist development agency that helps artists allocate their financial resources to improve their work and brand value. Presenter: Heidi Foster
› Southside Strings is a musical instrument maker that creates high-quality instruments designed with 3D modeling and CNC woodworking technologies. Presenter: David Dunn
› StoneOnAir is an FM/multi-media platform radio show that focuses on the arts, music and entertainment in Chattanooga. Presenter: Bryan Stone
› undaground is a 24/7 artist-powered streaming application that bridges the gap between the music scene and the community through live and on-demand shows. Presenter: Dave Castaneda
› XCeed Events is an event production company that works to amplify the presence of minority-based arts in the Chattanooga community. Presenter: Xavier Cotto
GENERAL BUSINESS CATEGORY
› CPR Lifewrap is a durable, plastic CPR support product that provides simple CPR instructions for people with little or no CPR training. Presenter: Felicia Jackson
› Get Seated is a mobile app that lists participating restaurant wait times. Presenter: Andrew Byrum
› TrailDrops is an outdoor nutrition company that provides trail hikers with customized meal packages for food resupply on long-distance backpacking trips. Presenter: Meg Brasel
› Weekly Fig is an online farmers market that specializes in home delivery and meal planning, enabling customers to save time on grocery shopping and researching recipes. Presenter: Michele Reneau