May 2, 2016

2016 Winners

15th Annual Charlotte Venture Challenge Winners Selected

10 Winners Awarded from 27 Competing Startups

Charlotte, NC (Tuesday, April 19, 2016) – The North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) located in Kannapolis, NC hosted over 200 entrepreneurs, investors, corporate leaders, and students for the 15th Annual Charlotte Venture Challenge. The competition selected 27 finalists from the Carolinas and Tennessee to compete for over $35,000 in cash prizes.

The 27 finalists each had 5 minutes to pitch their start-up companies followed by Q&A from judging panels made up of investors and corporate innovation executives. While the judges deliberated, the audience heard a keynote by Chris Heivly, co-founder of MapQuest (sold to AOL for $1.2Billion). The judges from earlier in the day selected the final six teams to compete for the grand prize winner of the competition. Each of the final six teams were announced by past alumni of the competition which included TrakLok (Knoxville, TN), MailVu (Charlotte, NC), DealCloud (Charlotte, NC), InfoSense (Charlotte, NC) and OncoTab (Charlotte, NC).

The final six teams included Grow Bioplastics (Knoxville, TN), Sweetie Pie Organics (Raleigh, NC), GuidePro3D (Cornelius, NC), uBack (Charlotte, NC), ThriveGPO (Fort Mill, SC) and Mad Dogg Heat Sleeve (Elon University). The final six teams pitched to the grand prize judging panel, which was made up of Sue Curley (Belk), Daniel Sondee (Ingersoll Rand), John Cambier (Idea Fund Partners), and Greg Brown (Charlotte Angel Fund).

The 2016 Charlotte Venture Challenge Prize winners included:

¨      $7,500 Grand Prize – Grow Bioplastics (Knoxville, TN);

¨      $2,500 Runner-up – GuidePro3D (Cornelius, NC),

¨      $7,500 Hauser Award to the top Charlotte-based startup – GuidePro3D (Cornelius, NC)

¨      $5,000 New Energy & High Tech Category Winner – Grow Bioplastics (Knoxville, TN)

¨      $5,000 IT & Informatics Category Winner – ThriveGPO (Fort Mill, SC)

¨      $5,000 General Category Winner – uBack (Charlotte, NC)


Awards for teams competing in the student ventures category totaled $5,500. The winner was Mad Dogg Heat Sleeve (Elon University), and the runners-up were Glance (Appalachian State) and Reel Scary (UNC Charlotte). The J. Chris Murphy Award to the best UNC Charlotte undergraduate startup went to Tailor Made Financial.

2016 Charlotte Venture Challenge Sponsors:  UNC Charlotte’s Research and Economic Development, Charlotte Research Institute, Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC), College of Computing and Informatics Business Partners Program, Belk College of Business, and Office of Technology Transfer, Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC), Ventureprise, City of Charlotte, The Charlotte Regional Fund for Entrepreneurship, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Charlotte Angel Fund, City of Kannapolis, Smith Moore Leatherwood, North Carolina Research Campus, and Town of Harrisburg,

2016 Charlotte Venture Challenge Finalists

General Category: BeautyOMICS (Chapel Hill, NC), Dogphrendly  (Cornelius, NC), Fridayd (Cornelius, NC), HomeTrackr (Charleston, SC), Morph (Carrboro, NC), Sweetie Pie Organics (Raleigh, NC), uBack (Charlotte, NC)

IT & Informatics Category: GuidePro3D (Cornelius, NC), ProjectMQ (Savannah, GA), RepRevive (Charlotte, NC), Shipedge (Durham, NC), Thrive GPO (Fort Mill, SC), Wellflix (Hillsborough, NC)

New Energy & High Tech Category: 8 Rivers Networks (Durham, NC), Grow Bioplastics (Knoxville, TN), Indexus Biomedical (Morrisville, NC), Innovasan (Knoxville, TN), SineWatts (Charlotte, NC), XOONIX  (Charlotte, NC)

Student Ventures Category: Reel Scary (UNC Charlotte), Athnetics (UNC Chapel Hill), Body Barrier (Claflin University), Credits4Less (Wingate University), Glance (Appalachian State University), MadDogg Heat Sleeve (Elon University), Monotto (College of Charleston), Tailor Made Financial (UNC Charlotte)