November 2, 2018

big launch challenge logo

Today, The Launch Place, an entrepreneurial development organization based in Danville, VA, is pleased to announce the top 10 finalists who will be pitching their businesses on stage at the fifth annual Big Launch Challenge held on November 7th in Danville. This competition provides startups with valuable business networking and investment opportunities where two will walk away with checks totaling $20,000. 

These finalists will be given twelve minutes to present their business plans to a panel of judges and will then go through a short question and answer block. 

  • Crate Systems, LLC - New breed of modular, providing patent pending portable storage systems for college students
  • EnerVision - Li-ion battery solution provider for portable power stations
  • EverSafe Bracelet - Child safety tracking wearable device with proprietary locking mechanism
  • INF Robotics - Developed RUDY, the intuitive mobile social robot that is designed to promote an active and independent lifestyle, while keeping older adults connected to their care community
  • KnoNap - Rape drug detecting napkin
  • Murano Corporation - Helps manufacturers cut waste from their supply chains using AI
  • Protopia - Protopia is the ‘easy button’ for entrepreneurial communities
  • Skyphos Technologies - High Range Resolution-3D printing or additive manufacturing
  • Wellthly - Saving and controlling employer healthcare costs (20-500 employees)
  • Zogo, Inc. - The Zogo app is the first forward looking financial coach for your teenagers 

This year, Paul Singh, founder of Disruption Corporation and serial investor in 2,200+ companies, will be the keynote speaker for the event and will join the panel of judges during the competition. With his startup background and vast corporate experience, Singh will be able to offer unique insight to competitors and audience members throughout the competition. Paul will be in Danville from November 6-8, as part of his American Tech Tour, meeting with entrepreneurs, community leaders and established businesses. 

The full panel of judges include Paul Clark, Managing Director, VentureSouth; Jan Davis, Retired CEO, ShopperTrak RCT Corporation; Investor, Triangle Angel Partners; Board Chair, The Launch Place Seed Fund; and Entrepreneur in Residence; Paul Nolde, Director, NRV; Paul Singh, Serial Entrepreneur, Investor, Airstreamer, & Disruptor; and Autumn Visser, Principal, Woods Rogers, PLC

The Challenge is free to attend, but registration is required

“The goal of the Big Launch Challenge is to provide early-stage startups the opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors, and for The Launch Place Pre-Seed and Seed Fund to generate deal flow,” says The Launch Place President and CEO, Eva Doss. “Every year it is a different experience, with different business ideas and founding teams, and I look forward to hearing the pitches.” 

Competition winners will also receive access to several resources provided by The Launch Place and First Flight Venture Center, including training, networking, mentorship and early-stage prototyping. 


The Launch Place
The Launch Place provides new and early stage business support services and seed funding for the Danville City and Pittsylvania County region of Virginia and Caswell County in North Carolina. As an entrepreneurship development organization with the purpose to plan, fund, launch and grow businesses, TLP helps companies to get started or to expand their operations by providing business consulting services, office space, and by investing in them through its investment funds.

About First Flight Venture Center
First Flight Venture Center (First Flight) is a high-science, high-impact science and technology incubator located in the heart of Research Triangle Park. Established in 1991, with a mission to support the development and growth of high-science, high-impact entrepreneurial companies by providing the tailored resources, guidance, connections, and support required for their commercial success.