Launch to win: High-tech tool protection woos judges at start-up contest in Chattanooga

August 23, 2014 | TimesFreePress.com | Mitra Malek

Forget about marking tools with tape or scratching them with something sharp to create unique identifiers.

ToolGard will permanently brand them with a laser - and the start-up company will come to you to do it. With that pitch, ToolGard founder Brandon Tiede on Thursday won nonprofit organization Launch's first-ever pitch contest, earning $35,000 in prizes to help get his new business going.

"I went there expecting to make contacts and never expected to win the grand prize," said Tiede, 30, a father of three living in East Ridge.

Thirteen entrepreneurs vied for the top prize during the "Summer Showcase" pitch session at Camp House in Chattanooga's Southside. All are graduates of Launch's 10-week Business Entrepreneurship Academy.

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