An idea for a mobile storage solution won first place in this semester’s Vol Court Pitch Competition. University of Tennessee sophomore Kaleb Winders pitched Rolling Storage in the semiannual competition and speaker series hosted by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in UT’s Haslam College of Business.
Rolling Storage aims to provide convenient and secure storage for use at sporting and entertainment events. Winders developed the idea while working in event security.
“I’ve experienced thousands of people asking me where they can leave their belongings and complaining when they have no option other than to throw away items,” Winders said. “I’ve seen many different reasons people are frustrated with bag policies at large events and the security issues that result when people leave behind unattended bags.”
Winders, a business management major and entrepreneurship minor from Hendersonville, Tennessee, said he has felt the same way when patronizing events.
“Having experienced both sides of this problem, I know my company’s solution to it can help both event attendees and staff,” Winders said.
Winders’ first-place prize includes $1,500 from Red Stag Fulfillment, office space in the UT Research Foundation Business Incubator, consulting services courtesy of PYA, legal advice from Morehous Legal Group, design services from Innovative Design Inc. and web design services from Make Me Modern.
Second place was awarded to Alexander Weber and Makenzie Swicegood for Backdoor, a smartphone application to help pet owners track lost pets.
“Our goal is to make sure every lost pet finds its way home,” said Weber, a senior electrical engineering major and entrepreneurship minor from Lynnville, Tennessee. “Merging social media with smartphone technology, the Backdoor application revolutionizes pet tracking technology by utilizing the microchips many pets already have.”
The Backdoor team received $1,000, office space in the UTRF Business Incubator, legal advice from Morehous Legal Group and design services from Innovative Design Inc.
“I have attended Vol Court sessions for the past three years and have always wanted to pitch,” said Swicegood, a senior electrical engineering major from Knoxville. “Backdoor is an idea that I have been working on for a while, and I'm so glad we got to share it with everyone.”
Third place winner Moriah Goss, a graduate student from Knoxville, pitched Maternity Muscle, a company providing fitness resources for pregnant women.
“Maternity Muscle is dedicated to enhancing motherhood through exercise, research and community,” said Goss, a master’s of education candidate studying exercise physiology. “In an effort to promote and support active pregnancies and build stronger mothers, Maternity Muscle is seeking to develop a mobile app to serve this mission.”
“Participating in Vol Court wasn't just about the winnings,” Goss said. “It was a great opportunity to become comfortable sharing my vision with others. The atmosphere was fun and inviting and made for an awesome experience.”
Goss received $500, legal advice from Morehous Legal Group and design services from Innovative Design Inc.
“We heard some impressive pitches and ideas this semester,” said Shawn Carson, Vol Court director. “The participants continue to raise the bar by engaging in the speaker sessions and using the information they learn to develop their ideas and pitch.”
The Vol Court Pitch Competition was the final event of the spring 2019 Vol Court Speaker Series. Leading up to the competition, participants attended five workshops covering entrepreneurship topics like entrepreneurial crowdfunding and storytelling.
Vol Court is a free event hosted by the Anderson Center each fall and spring semester. It is open to UT students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the local community. Partners for the fall competition include Red Stag Fulfillment, the UT Research Foundation, PYA, Morehous Legal Group, Three Roots Capital, Innovative Design Inc. and Make Me Modern.
Carrie McCamey (865-974-9964, firstname.lastname@example.org)