Knoxville-based Innovasan Corp. took the grand prize at yesterday's Will This Float? competition, winning $1,000 in cash, 32 hours of free business services and a one-year mobile marketing contract.
Innovasan is the creator of Gauntlet Disinfection System, which is a fluid waste technology treatment platform to reduce global water pollution. The technology creates effluent that is safe for discharge into the environment or municipal sewer systems.
"Winning Will This Float? provides validation that the problem we're trying to solve truly has no borders," Jeff Hubrig Jr., manager of business development for Innovasan Corp., said in a prepared statement. "Water is the most precious resource we have as humans, and we have a responsibility and opportunity to improve the accessibility of clean water for people around the world."
CO.LAB Executive Director Mike Bradshaw congratulated the winner for transitioning into commercialization after spending years in labs developing the technology:
The research project could have chosen a number of ways to go to market with its first product. Most inventors in their position would seek large licensing deals or an outright acquisition by a major player in the medical device industry. Instead, the founders decided to introduce their first-ever product at Will This Float? I hope their coming success in the marketplace will serve as a model for other research- and development-driven startups to earn their first revenue coming from founder-led sales.
Approximately 350 people attended Will This Float? 2014, which featured business pitches from 10 aspiring entrepreneurs from across East Tennessee. Of those, seven pitched ideas relevant to this year's theme of outdoors and sustainability.
Chattanooga Sports Leagues won the best outdoor/sustainability idea, and the best general business recognition went to The Baby Flat. Both companies won $250 in cash and 25–30 hours of free business services.
The other finalists are listed below:
- Mayfly Coffee
- RamRock Building Systems
- Sleep in a Tree
- Wind River Custom Homes
- Your Outdoor Family
- Willow Games