Two Student Companies Receive Funding at Boyd Venture Challenge

May 9, 2022

Alexander Weber of D3D and Clay Franklin of Arid Delivery Products are the winners of the 20th annual Boyd Venture Challenge, hosted by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEI).

“For these students, this is the beginning of a very exciting journey ahead, and the ACEI is proud to support, invest and light the way for the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said Lynn Youngs, executive director of the ACEI. “When we say ‘Build Here, Succeed Beyond,’ this isn’t something we say lightly. The Boyd Venture Challenge is the springboard for these student companies to launch into success, and we are very excited to see where they all go.”

D3D, an IT consulting and software development service that specializes in extended reality (XR) solutions, was awarded $20,000. The company found a need for this technology in key business areas such as training, safety, design, quality, maintenance, inspection and workflow management. 

“Competing and winning in the Boyd Venture Challenge provides my company with the opportunity to scale our operations faster than we expected,” said Weber, the company’s founder. “The funds are a blessing to an early start-up, and we are genuinely excited to move forward with the help of such an amazing organization.”

Weber, an MBA candidate from Knoxville, has a strong desire for bringing people and businesses into the digital age. 

“As an engineer, I have always had a passion for technology, but I became enthralled with extended reality the moment I tried on my first VR headset,” he said. “After months of research and training, meeting some amazing colleagues and pursuing my MBA, I formed D3D Ltd. to bring extended reality to the workplace.” 

Arid Delivery Products received $7,500. The B2B firm enhances on-demand food delivery for companies, drivers and consumers by ensuring meals are hot and delicious. The company was founded by Franklin, TN native, Clay Franklin who is a senior finance major at UT. 

“Capital awarded in the Boyd Venture Challenge directly supports go-to-market operations, accelerating us to first revenue by bolstering production and marketing efforts,” said founder Clay Franklin. “The win is incredibly motivating, confirming that the judges believe in our product’s viability and market potential.”

The company created six different prototypes from more than 400 in-field tests to come up with a delivery bag that effectively keeps meals hot without adding extra moisture, and it is now patent pending.

About the Boyd Venture Challenge

In addition to the pitch competition, the Boyd Venture Challenge offers student entrepreneurs opportunities to launch into success through seed funding, business development and mentorship. By presenting in front of a panel of esteemed judges, students receive a real-world “shark tank” experience with non-dilutive funding where they don’t have to give up any ownership of their company.

The Boyd Venture Challenge’s prize amounts are determined solely by the panel of judges. Rather than having fixed first, second and third place prize amounts, the judges award different amounts of money to the student companies they feel deserve certain investments. 

The ACEI, housed within the university’s Haslam College of Business, is proud to continue to host the Boyd Venture Challenge every year. Open to UT undergraduate and graduate students from any field of study who have a legally established corporation, LLC or partnership with a federal tax ID, the event is made possible by award funding from the Boyd Foundation. 

About the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation 

The Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEI) is a university-based resource for entrepreneurship across the region and the state of Tennessee. Its mission is to foster an entrepreneurial culture at UT and across the state by developing student skills, providing experiential learning opportunities, conducting meaningful entrepreneurial research and connecting students with mentors and resources that enable them to successfully start and grow new businesses.


Brennan Galbraith,