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Frank Podlaha and win the 2014 Business Plan Competition
Frank Podlaha (right) accepts $5,000 check from Brown & Roberto for his Business Plan Competition for Veterans win.


KNOXVILLE — Frank Podlaha and his company claimed a $5,000 grand prize yesterday in Brown & Roberto’s annual Business Plan Competition for Veterans at the Tennessee Veterans Business Association Expo.

“The competition is our way of thanking local veterans and, hopefully inspiring and encouraging them to greater success,” says firm partner Andrew Roberto. “Our veterans protected our great nation so that we would have the opportunity to pursue our dreams. This is our way of helping them pursue theirs.”

The competition was open to any veteran owned business, be it a new startup or an existing business less than three years old.

Podlaha served as a Cobra Helicopter Crew Chief in the 2nd Armored Cavalry. He and his crew were awarded the Presidential Unit Award for their efforts during Operation Desert Storm. They were part of the force that flew south from Iraq to cut off troops fleeing from Kuwait.

Earlier in his military career, Podlaha flew patrols out of Nuremburg, Germany along the German-Czech border. He was there when the Berlin Wall came down, signaling the beginning of the end of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe., founded in August of 2012, is an internet web application where musicians perform live to an interactive audience. With a webcam and microphone, musicians broadcast themselves from wherever they are – living room, basement, café, etc. Music lovers enjoy a live performance where they can chat directly with the musicians. Viewers can even tip the performers with real money in the form of “virtual tokens,” much like one would tip a street musician. Performers on the website redeem the tips for real cash paid out through PayPal.

The site gives performers another venue to showcase their talents and make new fans and even provides them with revenue. earns income from a percentage of the “tips,” from ad revenue on the site, from event sponsorships, from merchandise sold and from premium services for site members.

According to Podlaha, the site has already attracted nearly 34,000 unique visitors and has streamed 5,700 hours of video from 970 musicians performing 7,600 shows. More than $20,000 has been “tipped” to these performers, and the site continues to grow. Podlaha says he will invest the $5,000 from Brown & Roberto to develop sponsorship campaigns for special events. Commercial sponsorship means a broader reach and more income, both for the company and the artists.

The other finalists were Patricia Pieper and a restaurant concept called the Butternut, and Noel Lumbu with an after school program called Exploration Dayz. “We’re grateful for each of these veterans and their service to our country,” said Roberto. “We’re thrilled that they are part of our community and we wish them nothing but success with their business ventures.”

Published January 29, 2014


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