KNOXVILLE—A business that simplifies wedding registries for couples is the winner of this semester’s Vol Court pitch competition.
Dave Seeman, senior in mechanical engineering and founder of Willow List, an innovative gift registry that uses crowd sourcing to fund gifts, won first place and received $1,000 to move his business forward. In addition to the cash prize, he also will receive space in the UT Research Foundation’s business incubator, consulting services from Pershing Yoakley and Associates, legal services from Morehous Legal Group PLLC, and mentoring from the College of Business Administration’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Vol Court is a speaker series and pitch competition presented by the College of Business Administration’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The goal of the program is to help people develop new business ideas and gain entrepreneurial skills. It is sponsored by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, UT Federal Credit Union, Morehous Legal Group, Launch Tennessee, Pershing Yoakley and Associates and the UT Research Foundation.
A second-place $500 prize went to Christopher Saah, junior in mechanical engineering, who founded MyPTshop.com, a web application that allows fitness professionals to start and manage an e-commerce fitness shop. Saah will receive space in the UT Research Foundation’s business incubator, legal support from Morehous Legal Group PLLC, and mentoring from Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Recently engaged, Seeman created Willow List after dealing with frustrations of setting up wedding registries at various locations.
“Like many entrepreneurs, the idea for my business came from personal experience,” he said.
Couples using Willow List keep a registry of things they want, from kitchen goods to money for the honeymoon, and use crowd sourcing to fund it. Friends and family who visit a registry on Willow List can give money to a specific item or give to the general fund. As items become funded, they are sent directly to the couple’s residence at a time they specify. Willow List does this by offering their software as a service to retailers who want to sell more products by harnessing data analytics.
Vol Court is offered every fall and spring semester and is open to students, faculty and the general public.