April 4, 2018

IdeaFest 2018 WinnersTwenty competitors took the stage to pitch their business to a panel of judges for a chance to win cash prize money to turn their idea into a reality.  This year The Launch Place received 122 applications from various competitors who were vying for one of the top 20 spots.  In its fifth year, IdeaFest has awarded $45,500 to 20 companies since its inception by fellows of the inaugural class of Middle Boarder Forward in collaboration with The Launch Place.  Many of the companies are still around today and are working to grow their business. 

The competition kicked off at 1:00pm, with an opening panel including investors as well as a legal advisor who discussed factors that will move a company past the investment screening committee, key success factors they have seen in companies and from a legal perspective what are the things that need to be established before seeking funding from outside investors.  


  • 1st Place $5,000 - Cascade Rapid Response
  • 2nd Place $3,000 - Ventri Health
  • 3rd Place - $1,500 Efficient Innovations
  • Audience Choice $500 - SaniBrands

Winners of the competition will also be eligible to receive twenty-five hours of free business consulting from The Launch Place. The Launch Place, located in the River District of Danville, assists with business formation, job creation and retention through its business consulting services and investment funding, while having a dual responsibility to recruit and retain entrepreneurs to the Dan River Region. The IdeaFest competition exposes The Launch Place’s services and funds to start-up companies that are ready to launch, or are seeking early-stage capital. The Launch Place could potentially invest in the company from its Seed and Pre-Seed Funds that were established from a $10 million grant awarded by the Danville Region Foundation. 

IdeaFest 2018 crowd pictureIdeaFest Judges, Panelists and Master of Ceremonies (Read Bios):

  • Judge: Eva Doss, President & CEO, The Launch Place;
  • Judge: Robin Jones, Owner, Vintages by the Dan, Danville, VA;
  • Judge: Ed Pettiss, Vice-President and Board Director for RTP Capital;
  • Judge: Jim Roberts, Founder, WALE Angel Network; Founder, NEW (Network for Entrepreneurs Wilmington);
  • Judge: Tom Snyder, Executive Director, RIoT (Regional Internet of Things); Instructor, Product Innovation Lab at NC State University
  • Master of Ceremonies: Troy Knauss, Board Member, The Launch Place Board of Directors; Assistant Professor of the Practice of Entrepreneurship, High Point University; Angel Investor; Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, Angel Resource Institute
  • Panelist: Autumn Visser, Principal, Woods Rogers PLC



IdeaFest 2018 Finalists

Name of the Company/Idea

Brief Description

Efficient Innovations, LLC

Patent-pending French Slide is the first two-panel, dual sliding and hinging residential patio door system.

Dog Leash

A retractable dog leash used to measure and alert dog owners of the dangerous ground temperature their dog's paws are exposed to.


“Beechi” is a clothing brand that creates sustainable surf clothing. 

Ventri Health

Unfortunately, 45% of feeding tubes clog over their lifetime and Ventri Health has developed a product that will remove buildup from previous feedings while filtering the patient’s food, and seamlessly integrate into the standard feeding process.


TruDiary is a Women's Health startup that utilizes Blockchain technology to help women manage their health.


ARCIS's solution integrates neuromuscular electrical stimulation and shoe inserts to cause slight muscle contractions of the lower leg to improve the outcomes of compression stockings. 


Colldex allows users to access an online library of college textbooks through a low cost subscription model.


RheoPrinter Duo tackles challenges faced in 3D printing used in additive manufacturing by introducing a high strength polymer with a printing solution that improves interlayer adhesion. 

Watchdog Medical

Watchdog Medical is developing a monitoring system that will identify early symptoms of Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in a premature infant and inform physicians of this risk so that prompt care is provided.

Redshift Education

The traditional U.S. education system kills creativity. Education should foster collaboration, innovation, critical thinking, and resilience. There’s a better, proven way to educate, and we’re going to help it grow.

Cascade Rapid Response

Cascade Rapid Response has developed an assistive transport device for Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) to use when moving obese patients.

Sow App

Using recent advancements in machine learning and natural language processing, Sow will help create study materials and help guide students to study by creating materials like flashcards and multiple choice questions from lectures and textbook pages and then immediately schedule out time to study those materials in your calendar.

Imbeau, Inc

Imbeau is your salon stylist and spa esthetician's customer engagement tool to better know what 'makes you beautiful' and imbue you with confidence. 


OpenGait aims to increase the quality of life for amputees around the world through their low-cost modular AK prosthetic kit; which contains all components and tools required to fit an individual with a complete prosthesis; including a novel, non-casted adjustable socket able to a fit a range of amputees and a high-performance mechanical knee.

Tray’s Gourmet

Tracy’s Gourmet® produces healthy, artisan foods made from high quality ingredients that are clean-free of chemical preservatives, corn starch, corn syrup and GMOs- flavorful and fun without compromise. 


SaniBrands' signature product is a patented oral device disinfectant known commercially as Defense Sport mouthguard rinse which safely eliminates dirt and harmful pathogens on contact with a 3-second rinse.

Quinn Riddle

The goal of the EverSafe bracelet is to reduce the number of lost children by creating a bracelet that locks onto a child’s wrist, and is equipped with GPS tracking as well as other beneficial technologies to minimize the possibility of losing a child even if it is just for a minute or two.

Rent Assured

Rent Assured is on a mission to take the uncertainty out of renting.


Grouptrades is an app that helps regular people invest successfully.

Teamed for Learning

Education organizations are struggling to evolve with rapid technological advancements. Teamed provides access to new types of experts needed to design, build, and maintain digital education experiences and flexible, on-demand staffing solutions.