Annual event to reward winners with a combined $4,500

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Eight finalists have been selected to pitch their business ideas at The Company Lab’s (CO.LAB) annual ‘Will This Float?’ competition. The presenters will compete for prizes before a panel of three judges and an audience of community members, who will cast votes to determine the winners.

The event will take place Thursday, Dec. 8 from 6—9 p.m. at the Chattanooga Zoo. Admission is free. Click here to reserve a ticket.

“The breadth of this year’s ‘Will This Float?’ ideas truly exemplifies the vibrant nature of Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Jack Studer, executive director of CO.LAB. “From a novel approach to end-of-life planning to a fun new spin on the traditional piñata and tools to help individuals become better versions of themselves, this year’s ‘Will This Float?’ competition will illustrate the overflowing creativity and entrepreneurial spirit Chattanooga has to offer.”

Established in 2010, ‘Will This Float?’ is widely considered one of the most prominent business pitch competitions in the region. Over the last six years, the event has showcased approximately 60 entrepreneurs who have raised nearly $38 million in combined capital. A number of notable entrepreneurial successes have grown out of ‘Will This Float?’, including SupplyHog, NODE (Variable, Inc.), RootsRated, Granola Products and Innovasan.

At the event, each finalist gets three minutes to pitch his or her startup idea before a panel of judges and an audience of local startup leaders, general attendees and potential mentors and business partners. A brief Q&A session with judges will follow each presentation. Once all the presentations are complete, the judges will deliberate backstage, assessing candidates according to a set of five assessment criteria. During that time, audience members will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite ideas, with their collective feedback determining the winner of the People’s Choice Award.

After judges and the audience have reached their decisions, CO.LAB will announce the winners. The top honoree will receive a cash prize of $3,000, and the runner up will receive $1,000. The winner of the People’s Choice Award will receive $500. The first and second place winners will also receive a package of free business services to continue developing their ideas. Those packages include:

  • 10 hours of legal services from Miller & Martin
  • 10 hours of legal services from Chambliss Startup Group
  • 10 hours of accounting services from Henderson, Hutcherson & McCullough
  • Three months of access to co-working space at Society of Work
  • A spot in the CO.LAB Accelerator, GIGTANK Accelerator or CO.STARTERS program

The Finalists

4U2 is a child-centered vending machine that offers items such as coloring books and puzzles that kids can complete in doctors’ offices and other types of waiting areas. // Presenter: Desia Yamese

Allstar Technologies is an athletic training system that utilizes LED lights on a track to provide a customizable pace for runners. The system enables athletes to engage in multiple training modes that allow them to improve their pace-per-mile and compete against previous run times.  // Presenter: Dan Basler

Arrival Events is an end-of-life celebration planning service that works with families to create meaningful memorials designed specifically for their loved ones. As a growing portion of the population moves toward alternative burial methods, Arrival Events will offer flexible services that enable families to plan creative, celebratory memorial experiences in non-traditional venues and formats. // Presenter: Tara Viland

Bash is a specialized consumer experience that delivers pre-filled themed piñatas for all of life’s most memorable events. Bash Piñatas are themed for everyday experiences such as breakups, friendship reminders and more. The contents of each piñata vary depending on theme of the event, such as spa face masks for breakups or glow sticks and candy for celebrations. // Presenter: Christine DiPietro

EZ RYDR is an app-based service that allows college students to order rides on demand. The company will work with universities to offer the service via a subscription that enables students or parents to pay an upfront fee at the beginning of every semester in exchange for unlimited rides available 24/7. By hiring part-time employees to administer the service, EZ RYDR will be able to subject drivers to stricter background checks and thereby offer safer riding experiences. // Presenter: Robby Robinson

Lucent Gift is a locally curated gift box for women who are going through a medical treatment or recovery related to breast cancer. This beautifully branded gift box will contain items specifically selected to comfort women after surgery, during treatment and throughout recovery. // Presenter: Missy Luce

Music Therapy Gateway in Communications, Inc. is a software platform that allows users to engage in music therapy without having a music therapist present. Due to the limited number of certified music therapists available to the local populace, this platform will make the benefits of music therapy accessible to a much larger number of people affected with speech, motor and cognition issues. // Presenter: Martha Summa-Chadwick

SkillBuilder is an online, community-curated platform that allows users to share their routines and procedures for learning specific skills. In the same way people share their individual bodybuilding routines with one another, SkillBuilder users will share the steps and habits they follow to advance their skills in areas such as cooking, dancing, playing music, welding, making furniture and a variety of other hobbies and proficiencies. The platform will include entries for the beginner’s path to basic competency, as well as intermediate and advanced routines for the full spectrum of skill building.  // Presenter: Ustin Zarubin

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