Article courtesy of the Knoxville News Sentinel

Written by Ed Marcum
Photos by Saul Young/NEWS SENTINEL

Graham Taylor, left, and Nima Tamaddoni, center, of T& T Scientific are congratulated by Shawn Carson of Three Roots Capital after T& T won the $5,000 prize for their pitch at Startup Day onThursday at the Bijou Theatre.

It may have been the traction that made the difference, said Graham Taylor, whose company T& T Scientific won the $5,000 prize at Startup Day 2016 Thursday.

Taylor was one of six entrepreneurs who made pitches before a panel of judges at the Bijou Theatre in downtown Knoxville during the centerpiece event of Innov865 Week. Also during Startup Day, NewsBreak, a software merchandising platform that was a 2014 Startup Day winner, won the Second Annual Traction Award, recognizing Startup Day winners that have made the most progress.

T& T Scientific makes a medical extrusion device called LipX used to deliver medicine to targeted areas of the body. Taylor said he believes the fact that the company is already far along in producing and selling its product was probably a factor with judges. “I think a big difference was having traction,” he said. “Having sales, having customers, and we were fortunate that we have not just a prototype but finished devices we are selling.”
Bob Bradley, president and CEO of NewsBreak, accepted a plaque for the Traction Award win.

Dimitriy Petrov gives his pitch for RushBrush, a portable toothbrush, at Startup Day at the Bijou Theatre on Thursday. the judges, from left, are David Kereriakes of River Cities Capital Funds, Sue Malone of Strategies for Small Businesses, and Tony Shipley of Queen City Angels.

Bradley told the News Sentinel earlier that going through the Startup Day process was very helpful beyond winning a cash award. “You are really honing your investment story and you are pitching to an audience that includes potential investors,” he said. “You are pitching to the people who want your business to do well.”

A three-judge panel of representatives from three investment funds picked T& T Scientific from a group of startups representing a wide range of products. These included Alicia Caputo with Avrio Analytics, which makes a predictive software marketing tool; Daniel Lawhon with AirFlare, a fitness-based diet planning device; Dimitriy Petrov with RushBrush, a disposable pocket toothbrush with dehydrated toothpaste; Eva Mutunga with TechSmarrt, which makes data analysis software for materials research; and John Crawford with Hot Transfer Network, an online marketplace for linking hospitals with doctors who will take patients the hospitals are not equipped to treat.

Innov865 Week wraps up today with Innov865 Week Recap at the East Tennessee Economic Council, 7:30 a.m. at the UT Outreach Center in Oak Ridge, and Cybersecurity Opportunities for the Entrepreneur and Small Business, presented by Oak Ridge National Laboratory at 9 a.m. at Oak Ridge Associated Universities.