Participants in Round 2 of the 2014 Elevator Pitch Competition (from left) Grace McPherson, Daniel Taylor, Doug Grindstaff, Sam Chaudhary, Andy Chaudhary, Andrew Hyder, Stephen Cox and Adam Feltman.

What do ladder levelers and sunscreen booths have in common? Each was a business idea pitched by a UTC student during the second round of the Elevator Pitch Competition, presented by the UTC College of Business Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) Club. The event was part of StartUp Week Chattanooga.

Now in its third year, the competition gives contestants the chance to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges within a 90 second time frame. More than 20 students sent in applications to the pitch contest and of those, 15 business ideas were presented in round one of the contest on the UTC Campus. Those winners went on to round two at the Hamilton County Business Development Center.


Elevator Pitch winner, Daniel Taylor.

The winner, Daniel Taylor, a junior business major at UTC, pitched his Ladder Levelizer. The product, originally called the Ladder Wedge, allows the user to safely use a ladder on uneven surfaces. He is currently selling his product in stores such as Ace Hardware.

The runner up for this year’s competition was Doug Grindstaff, who pitched L.A. Mist, a booth that would provide customers with an even coverage spray of tear-free sunblock. He is also working to enhance the booth, eventually offering a sun tan mist and a bug spray mist. He plans to pitch his product to Carnival Cruise lines.

The winners receive prize money, free mentoring from Lamp Post Group and CO.LAB and a paid trip to the National Elevator Pitch Competition in Orlando, Fla.


Elevator Pitch runner-up, Doug Grindstaff.

Five other students participated as well and pitched a variety of business ideas.

Sam Chaudhary and Andy Chaudhari  pitched Convertibles by Chaudhary, designer high heels that will be able to convert/collapse from heels to sandals or vice versa. The Infinium Tournament Series, pitched by Andrew Hyder and Jared Jhanke, is an online event-hosting agency that specializes in video game tournaments. Sangria Sicles, pitched by Adam Feltman combine the traditional popsicle with the flair of real sangria.

Grace McPherson’s concept, Level Up, is a technology franchise that encourages exercising through gamification–awarding points each time a user performs a particular exercise. ‘The Way’ is an app pitched by Stephen Cox. It provides an interface that allows users to track goals in devotion to prayer and Bible reading and dedication to monetary giving and physical service.

“We’re incredibly proud of all the students who participated in this competition at the local and regional level,” said Dr. Beverly Brockman, Department Head of Finance, Marketing and Entrepreneurship. “The students’ achievements reflect the support they received from faculty at UTC and from the entrepreneurship community in Chattanooga.”

The Elevator Pitch Competition was sponsored by UTC College of Business, Lamp Post Group and the Clarence E. Harris Chair of Excellence in Business and Entrepreneurship.

Videos for the winning pitches:

Daniel Taylor: Ladder Levelizer (Winner)

Doug Grindstaff: LA Mist (Runner-Up)


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