The Big Launch Challenge


The Launch Place received 129 applications for its 6th Annual Big Launch Challenge Pitch Competition from various start-up companies located in the US and abroad. The top 10 competitors took the stage and presented their innovative business ideas in the Research Triangle Park, NC today. 

Winner of this year’s competition was Intake who was awarded a $15,000 cash prize. Intake is a digital health company that provides automatic daily health checkups with professional medical monitoring for proactive intervention. They do this by using a patent-pending technology to measure health biomarkers from urine. Their connected device hangs over the toilet to automatically collect and test urine directly from the bowl with diagnostic level accuracy. Intake believe’s closing the feedback loop between lifestyle choice and health outcomes will empower people to make small course correcting decisions that lead to improved long-term health outcomes. 

Second place and a $5,000 cash award went to Optimal Solar. Optimal Solar sells a high efficiency solar module to industrial and utility customers. They offer them a lower cost for their energy spend at a reduced footprint. Their customers therefore have a higher rate of return on their power plant investments. They convert just over 40% of incoming light into electricity through a patent pending process and provide consultative sales. 

Competition winners will also receive access to several resources provided by The Launch Place, including training, networking, and mentorship. The Launch Place, located in the River District of Danville, VA and at the First Flight Venture Center in the RTP, NC provides new and early-stage business support services and seed funding to start-up companies. 

“The Big Launch Challenge exposes The Launch Place’s services and funds to start-up companies that are ready to launch, or are seeking early stage capital” said Eva Doss, President and CEO, The Launch Place. “The Launch Place Pre-Seed and Seed Fund could potentially invest in the company.” 

big launch challenge competitors winners judges

Each finalist was given eight minutes to present their business plans to a panel of judges followed by a short question and answer block. 

  • 6AM City - Redefining the local media landscape. Greenville, SC
  • Hite Health Solutions - Innovation in feminine hygiene serving women’s health & wellness. Burlington, NC
  • Intake - Health empowerment through automated preventive care. Raleigh, NC
  • Kamana - Empowering healthcare employers to efficiently manage and fill critical staffing needs. Richmond, VA
  • Microbial Biosensors, Inc. - New technology to rapidly detect bacterial contamination in food & animal feed. Durham, NC
  • Muuktest - Helps software companies build products faster without armies of test engineers. Raleigh, NC
  • Optimal Solar - Maker of the highest efficiency solar module. Durham, NC
  • PureSurgery - Improving elective surgery experience through digital health powered pathways. Charlotte, NC
  • Point 93 - Allows consumers to exchange their data with retailers for micro price adjustments. Roanoke, VA
  • VerusTitle - Automated & AI enabled underwriting and pricing of title insurance. Durham, NC

This year, the Challenge was held at the conclusion of the Angel Capital Association’s (ACA) Southeast Regional Meeting. ACA, the world's largest professional organization for accredited investors, in partnership with RTP Capital Associates, Inc. and The Launch Place, hosted a two-day conference from September 10th to 11th for accredited investors that focused on improving investments and building and growing entrepreneurial ecosystems. The meeting included deep dive sessions on building an entrepreneurial ecosystem and key investment topics such as syndication, valuation, due diligence, and portfolio diversification. 

The full panel of judges included Elaine Bolle, RTP Capital Associates, Investment Chair and Board member, Angel Capital Association, Board Member; Tim Cartwright, Co-Founder and Partner of Fifth Avenue Family Office, Founder and Chair of the Tamiami Family of Angel Funds; Marty Kaszubowski,  Executive Director for Innovation Initiatives, Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Old Dominion University, Chair of The Launch Place Board of Directors; Paul Nolde, Director, NRV, The Launch Place Seed Fund Advisory Board member; and Autumn Visser, Principal, Woods Rogers, PLC. Mark Friedman, President and Co-founder of RTP Capital Associates; CEO of Lakeview Business Advisory, The Launch Place Seed Fund Advisory Board member, served as the Master of Ceremonies.