2015 Charlotte Venture Challenge Winners Selected
7 Winners Awarded from 30 Competing Startups at the Southeast Venture Conference
30 early-stage innovation based companies from throughout the Southeast pitched to investors and corporate innovation executives at the 14th annual Charlotte Venture Challenge on March 31st, 2015. The competition for nearly $50,000 of cash prizes took place at the Southeast Venture Conference which attracted over 700 investors, entrepreneurs, and other attendees to Charlotte. The Charlotte Venture Challenge finalists included companies from North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington D.C. Student teams represented seven colleges and universities.
The Charlotte Venture Challenge and the Southeast Venture Conference partnered for the first time in this two-day event. 80 early-stage and growth stage companies presented, 12 panels offered entrepreneurship and investment expertise, and participants heard keynotes by Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and Scott Kupor, Managing Partner of Andreessen Horowitz.
The two-day event began with the 30 Charlotte Venture Challenge start-up companies making 5-minute businesses pitches followed by Q&A with investors and corporate judging panels. The judges selected the final six teams who were interviewed by a second judging panel and presented to the Southeast Venture Conference audience. The six presenting companies represented diverse industry sectors and included Akili Software, CommuniGift, General Graphene, GuideOn, Quorum, and Surgilum.
The 2015 Charlotte Venture Challenge winners announced at the Southeast Venture Conference included:
$20,000 Grand Prize — General Graphene (Oak Ridge, TN);
$7,500 Runner-up — Surgilum (Wilmington, NC),
$7,500 Runner-up — Quorum (Washington, DC)
The $7,500 Hauser Award to the top Charlotte-based startup was won by EcoH2O, a company founded by 2014 UNC Charlotte graduates based on a senior engineering design project.
Awards for teams competing in the student ventures category totaled $5,500.The winner was CommuniGift (UNC Chapel Hill), and the runners-up were Waterless Buddy’s, LLC (UNC Chapel Hill) and LoboStim (NC State). The J. Chris Murphy Award to the best UNC Charlotte startup went to Bryson Allen of SmartBrush.
2015 Charlotte Venture Challenge Sponsors: UNC Charlotte’s Research and Economic Development, Charlotte Research Institute, Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC), Data Science Initiative, Office of Technology Transfer, Small Business Technology Development Center, Ventureprise, City of Charlotte, The Charlotte Regional Fund for Entrepreneurship, TechMedia, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Charlotte Angel Fund, City of Kannapolis, BIG Council, and Wiggins & VandeGarde, PLLC.
The 2015 Charlotte Venture Challenge finalists are listed below:
Competition categories are: General, Health IT & Biotechnology, IT & Informatics, New Energy & High Technology, and Student Ventures.
General – SnapYeti (Raleigh, NC), GuideOn (Whispering Pines, NC), GivStream (Simpsonville, SC), Halo Smart Labs (Charlotte, NC), Tiger Eye Sensor (Clayton, NC), FotoSwipe (Raleigh, NC)
Health IT and Biotechnology – dReiniger (Chapel Hill, NC), StethoBarrier (Carrboro, NC), Surgilum (Wilmington, NC), Magna Solutions (Boone, NC), Tarian Orthotics, (Mount Pleasant, SC)
IT and Informatics – Akili Software (Raleigh, NC), BountyMiner (Chapel Hill,NC), Quorum (Washington, DC), ShomoLive (Charlotte, NC), KWIPPED (Wilmington, NC), DYME (Charlotte, NC)
New Energy and High Technology – Verdante Bioenergy Services (Lenoir, NC) General Graphene (Oak Ridge, TN), EcoH20 Innovations (Charlotte, NC), Bluecell Energy, (Research Triangle Park, NC)
Student Ventures – SmartBrush (UNC Charlotte), The Citizen (Lenoir-Rhyne University), MYO’bility (Appalachian State University) TeacherLoop (NC State), RightOn (Pfeiffer University), Waterless Buddy’s, LLC (UNC Chapel Hill), CommuniGift (UNC Chapel Hill), SquaddD (Elon University), LoboStim (NC State)