KNOXVILLE—Add another victory to the list. In six months, How’s the Living Inc., a business founded by Aeron Glover, an engineering major, and Kaliv Parker, a business major, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has won three major competitions.
Tennessee Technology Development Corporation (TTDC) has granted a $10,000 business development grant to How’s the Living (HTL), a company that operates the website howstheliving.com, which helps college students learn more about student housing around the world.
In December 2010, Glover and Parker’s company won the $25,000 first prize in the Movers & Changers competition, a national business pitch competition sponsored by mtvU and the New York Stock Exchange. In the fall, it won the Vol Court Competition, a series of eight free how-to seminars led by entrepreneurs and business experts from across the state. The Vol Court win gave HTL another $1,000 with additional services valued at $22,000.
HTL was one of twenty-eight high-potential, early-stage businesses that pitched their ideas at TTDC’s Venture Showcase competition, which was part of the Tennessee NEXT 2011 Conference held in Nashville on May 5 and 6. Tennessee NEXT is the state’s only conference focused exclusively on innovation-based economic development.
“The TTDC conference was an amazing opportunity for How’s the Living,” said Parker. “There were so many strong ideas and even stronger teams. We learned so much from the competition, and we look forward to applying what we learned at the conference in future pitch opportunities.”
Glover and Parker have used their winnings to put together a new and improved website which will allow college students to rank features of their new residence halls at more than a 1,000 colleges and universities nationwide. The website premieres May 16.
“We’re just 21-year-old college students trying to make life easier for fellow college students by building a housing review platform so that students won’t be surprised when they move into university housing,” said Glover.
The Venture Showcase competition awards will be used by the companies to build their businesses and are a part of TTDC’s Technology Maturation Fund program, which provides commercialization grants to inventors and entrepreneurs to help move promising technologies through early-stage development in order to attract additional investor support or secure third‐party licensing.
The awards are given on a competitive basis to for-profit entities and innovators affiliated with the University of Tennessee system, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Tennessee Board of Regents, the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association, Vanderbilt University, and the Y‐12 National Security Complex.
The Tennessee NEXT Conference, held annually in Nashville, is the state’s premier event devoted to innovation-based economic development with a focus on commercially promising technologies, early-stage businesses, and the resources required for highly effective translation of technology to the marketplace. For more information about the conference, visit http://www.tntechnology.org/conference.
TTDC is a private, nonprofit organization focused on increasing science and technology business development in Tennessee.
For more information about HTL, contact Aeron Glover at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kaliv Parker at email@example.com.
Whitney Holmes (865-974-5460, firstname.lastname@example.org)