Learn About the Three Entrepreneurs Who Were Awarded Startup Funding for Placing in the Vol Court Pitch Competition

Spring 2022 Vol Court Winners pose with Lynn Youngs, executive director of the Anderson Center. Pitch winners, from left to right, Clay Franklin, Allison Campbell, and Ian Parten.

An idea for methods to improve patient experiences and outcomes for chronically ill children won first place in this semester’s Vol Court Pitch Competition. Recent University of Tennessee, Knoxville, alumna Allison Campbell pitched Fluffy Friends for Children with Chronic Conditions in the semiannual competition and speaker series hosted by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in UT’s Haslam College of Business.

Campbell’s organization gives young patients a teddy bear holding a symbol of their matching diagnosis in a hidden pocket. With her first-place win, Campbell received $1,500 and office space at the UT Research Foundation Business Incubator for one year.

“Winning Vol Court was the heartwarming finish to the UT pitch competition trifecta and my journey on Rocky Top,” said Campbell, a Knoxville native. “I am thankful to learn from such remarkable mentors at UT and the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.”

Second place—$1,000 and six months of office space in the UTRF Business Incubator—went to Arid Delivery Products LLC, started by Clay Franklin, a senior finance major from Franklin, Tennessee. The company is a business-to-business firm that helps on-demand food delivery companies provide meals that are hot and moisture-free. With the award money, Franklin plans to secure a provisional patent for the company’s sixth and final prototype.

“We’ve solved the pervasive cold and soggy food problem through a multilayered insulated delivery bag that emphasizes neutralizing moisture while retaining heat,” Franklin said. “Placing at Vol Court means that the judges believe in Arid’s long-term potential and the ability for the company to make a difference in the market, which is an encouraging sentiment.”

Ian Parten, a sophomore from Chattanooga double majoring in finance and accounting and information management, won third place and $500 for KnoxVerified, a Knoxville-based real estate platform focusing on verified rentals.

“This has confirmed that KnoxVerified is a platform that Knoxville needs,” Parten said. “I’m happy to receive the support of business leaders from the community.”

The Vol Court Pitch Competition was the final event of the spring 2022 Vol Court Speaker Series. Leading up to the competition, participants attended four workshops covering entrepreneurship topics like 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. The spring competition was supported by the Scott and Dianna Roe Foundation.

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