Knoxville Entrepreneur Center has officially launched The Works 2019, a startup accelerator for regionally based, early-stage technology companies. This year marks the sixth iteration of The Works, which was launched by KEC in 2014 as MediaWorks.
The program has graduated more than 40 startups, including some of the area’s fastest growing companies such as RDI Technologies, Reviewbox and Smart RIA; companies that are creating jobs and collectively driving tens of millions of dollars of investment and revenue into East Tennessee.
The Works is an intensive year-long program that supports early-stage companies through two highly focused tracks: growth and branding. The goal of the program is to promote and accelerate the growth of a burgeoning tech startup community in East Tennessee by guiding early-stage companies through the business development process while connecting the teams with potential strategic and financial partners.
During the course of The Works, the participating startups will receive more than $50,000 worth of services, consulting and potential financing. The program will continue beyond the summer into monthly work sessions across the rest of the year.
Seven teams have been chosen to participate in the three-month, fast-paced curriculum. Their ideas will be combined with classes, mentors, industry leaders, work space, special events and pitches.
This year’s companies are:
Quantum Lock: Creating a new standard of safety using quantum information security.
FitCube: A small connected gadget that merges technology and fitness, making workouts safer, stronger and smarter.
Knoxville Page: A local search engine and eCommerce marketplace for the Knoxville community.
SeatsOpen: An app that helps you reserve work space and connect with others in your community
Happego: A psychological priming app that builds healthy habits with micro bursts of visual motivation.
DigDog: A platform for dog lovers that streamlines the way we consume and share doggy-related content, creating a new medium of communication between users who celebrate and embrace “pup” culture.
Scan2Scan: A conference management and communication platform for the wedding industry and beyond.
“We are thrilled that KEC invited us to be a part of ‘The Works’ accelerator program! We participated in their ‘What’s the Big Idea’ startup competition a few months ago and greatly benefited from the mentorship that we received,” said Anthony Ragland, co-founder of KnoxvillePage.
“But ‘What’s the Big Idea’ was only a 48-hour collaboration with KEC,” Ragland continued. “‘The Works’ is a one-year collaboration. As you can imagine, we’re excited to work with KEC in this capacity and the set of possibilities it will bring to improve KnoxvillePage onward.”
Entrepreneur Lauren McNamara said she felt lucky that DigDog has been selected to participate as one of the startups.
“I’ve been overwhelmed and overjoyed by how incredibly supportive and encouraging the entrepreneur community is here,” McNamara said.
The Works summer program began June 3 and will run through Aug. 16, with follow-on programming extending into spring 2020.
KEC is the front door for entrepreneurs starting a business in East Tennessee. It is committed to connecting entrepreneurs with mentors, investors, and the critical resources they need to accelerate the launch of startup businesses.
Jonathan Sexton is COO of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and CEO of BandSumo. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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