A colorful array of characters kicked off Chattanooga's 48Hour Launch on Thursday, an event that gives teams just two days to perfect a $10,000 idea.
After 40 attendees showed up to the event in 2010, nearly triple that number packed into the offices of CreateHere on Main Street, said Sheldon Grizzle, whose Company Lab hosts the event.
From regular joes with wavering voices and shaky fingers to serial entrepreneurs on their 10th business plan, "pitch night" was marked by the variety of ideas and the variety of those pushing them.
The goal of the pitch was to catch the eye of observers - skilled developers, designers and the like - to form a team and prepare for a 48-hour creative explosion next weekend when three $10,000 prizes are on the line.
Reid Cooper started out slow during his three-minute presentation, but had the crowd buzzing 60 seconds later with his idea for a subscription-based eReader called Nibble.
Bob Edwards pitched a rock garden to honor Chattanooga's sister city, Wuxi, China.
There were anecdotes, rhetorical questions, props, handouts and plenty of beers.
The social lubrication helped because after the pitches, the most important part of the night was the meeting of pitchpeople with those they had convinced to help them.
"Who do I need?," asked a guidance counselor with an idea for a jobs website. "I need someone to build the dang thing."