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A celebration of startups & culture


NOVEMBER 21, 2013

3:00 PM to 7:00 PM (EST)

The Standard
416 West Jackson Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37902

Tickets are FREE. Registration required.


Knoxville and East Tennessee have a rich tradition in entrepreneurship and successful Startup companies that include Pilot Corporation, Regal Cinemas, The Regas Family Restaurants, Scripps; and more recently, Bandit Lites, Radio Systems, CTI and ProVision. The list is much longer and all these companies started and grew right here.

Startup Day is a showcase of the next generation of entrepreneurs in our community. The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, along with support from Tech 20/20 and LaunchTN, has conducted a series of programs over the year to nurture, encourage and support several young companies. In the meantime, these CEO’s have tested their business models in the real world and are now ready to raise the necessary capital and launch their businesses. Now it’s time to introduce them to the community and let everyone know who they are and what they are up to.

To do that, we have organized an event that brings together local entrepreneurs with local artistic talent in a great new local venue with local food. It’s truly a party to celebrate “growing our own” future.

Michael Strickland will kick us off with his story of how Bandit Lites got started when he was in high school, followed by 5-minute rapid-fire pitches by the CEO’s of 16 new Startups. In between, we have breaks with local musicians sharing their talents and we will end up with great food and a concert by the Coveralls.

And you’ll be home in time for your favorite TV shows.

Startup Day is open to everyone! If you care about the economic growth and future of our community, please come and meet these fine new CEO’s and show your support!


The Standard

416 West Jackson Ave., Knoxville, TN 37902


3:00 PM Welcome – Mayor Madeline Rogero
3:20 PM 4 Power Pitches
3:50 PM Musical Entertainment: Jonathan Sexton
4:10 PM 5 Power Pitches
4:45 PM Musical Entertainment: Leah Gardner
5:05 PM 4 Power Pitches
5:30 PM Keynote Speaker – Michael Strickland
5:50 PM Wrap Up/Networking
6:00 PM Refreshments and Entertainment: The Coveralls
7:00 PM It’s over!

Keynote Speaker

Founder of Bandit Lites

Michael Strickland

Michael T. Strickland grew up in Kingsport, Tennessee in the late 50’s and 60’s. He was one of three children of Thomas and Marion Strickland. His father was a research chemist at Eastman Kodak and his mother was a teacher in the Kingsport city schools. He shared a great life with his sister Susan and his brother Steven. Along the way Michael played football and basketball, was an Eagle Scout, was twice president of his Junior Achievement companies and was an avid church member. Michael attended city schools in Kingsport and graduated from Dobyns Bennett High School in 1973. In 1968 at age 12 while in junior high school Michael started what would become his life long passion and his company, Bandit Lites. Michael moved the firm to Knoxville when he began to attend college at the University of Tennessee. Michael obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Tennessee and then attended the University of Tennessee Law School. The company continued throughout college and has existed ever since under Michael’s guidance and ownership.

In 1999 CNN USA Today named Michael as Entrepreneur of the Year. This came on the heels of Mass Mutual awarding Bandit The Blue Chip Award as one of America’s top companies. Over the years Bandit Lites has won numerous Lighting Company of the Year Awards from the many different organizations that bestow such awards. Through the many years artists such as Garth Brooks, The Monkees, Alice Cooper, WWE, Lord of The Dance, Jimmy Buffett, ZZ Top, Van Halen, Alan Jackson, Pink, Carrie Underwood, Queen, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Neil Young and hundreds of others have worked with Michael and Bandit for all of their lighting needs.

Bandit Lites now has offices globally in Knoxville, Nashville, San Francisco, London, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bandit services the entertainment industry from these locations and is known globally as the Rolls Royce of entertainment lighting. Bandit has over 300 full time employees and 200 part time employees.



Presenting Companies

Startup Day is a different kind of event.

-- John Morris, CEO of Tech 20/20 --

Presented By

Knoxville Entrepreneur Center

Tech 20/20

Launch Tennessee

Sustaining Member






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