This year’s Innovation Crossroads Showcase emphasized the importance of quality startups in Tennessee. Presented by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council, the virtual event took place during Innov865 Week 2021.
Kicking off the event, TAEBC Executive Director Cortney Piper spoke about TAEBC’s Energy Mentor Network, a program run in partnership with LaunchTN. The Energy Mentor Network’s goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors and industry specific expertise. Piper highlighted the accomplishments of companies involved in the network stating, “Over the past year the Energy Mentor Network has served over 20 companies and they have raised over $4 million.”
Afterward, Dan Miller, Innovation Crossroads’ Program Director, spoke about the program and entrepreneurship in the state of Tennessee. “Every year this week (Innov865 Week) gets bigger and bigger and that is due to the thriving entrepreneur community here in East Tennessee.”
Based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Innovation Crossroads program leverages ORNL’s scientific resources and capabilities and connects the nation’s top innovators with experts, mentors, and networks in technology-related fields to take world-changing ideas from research and development to the marketplace.
Miller then introduced Innovation Crossroads Cohort Five startups for their pitches. Attendees heard pitches from DayLyte Batteries, Unbound Water Technologies, Hempitecture, Addiguru, Sentinel Devices, and FC Renew.
Following the pitches, Cortney Piper, Dan Miller, and Gary Rawlings, Entrepreneur in Residence for the Energy Mentor Network and Senior Commercialization Consultant for Innovation Crossroads, moderated a Q&A with Cohort 5. “The Energy Mentor Network mentors are in many different industries and the intersection of those mentors with the Innovation Crossroads program is something of great value,” said Gary Rawlings.