September 30, 2021

Big Launch Challenge

Today, The Launch Place is pleased to announce the top 10 finalists who will be pitching their business plans on stage LIVE at the ninth annual Big Launch Challenge to be held on October 14th at the NC Biotech Center in Durham, NC. 

This year’s BLC will include an opportunity for 10 companies to share their pitches with a panel of 5 judges representing multiple investor groups located across the country. These finalists will be given eight minutes to present their business plans to the judges followed by a question and answer block. Below are the 10 finalists.


  • MyMatR - will increase recycling efficiency with an automatic sorting trash and recycling container for public spaces. This smart waste container improves recycling efficiency, diverts material from landfills, collects waste stream data in real-time to help reduce collection costs and greenhouse gases.
  • CliniSpan Health – is a digital health company that diversifies clinical trial recruitment. The company leverages cultural competence, trust relationships, and technology to educate and create access to medical research for diverse communities. CliniSpan Health is able to bring back trust in healthcare for diverse communities by working with local, trusted community leaders as partners to promote research opportunities in their areas through their community engagement model.
  • Green Stream Technologies – is an environmental technology company based in Wake Forest, NC. Green Stream offers an end-to-end solution for real-time flood monitoring to protect property and improve safety.
  • CityGuyd - uses AR technology to augment real life tour guides or famous VIPs at cities, landmarks, and events across the globe - improving the travel experience, increasing fan engagement, and providing their clients with valuable data on their attendees.
  • LiRA, Inc. - is developing an AI-based next-generation voice restoration software.
  • MRGN - is the heartbeat of an aspiring small business; a budgeting platform that guides SMBs through the arduous business planning process. After MRGN creates their financial model, it provides the business with intuitive insights that drive efficiency and scalability - no need for a CFO. Users can also delegate to, and collaborate with, their coworkers, as well as simulate a wide variety of scenarios that could potentially impact their cash flow, before they happen.
  • SpartanTek - is committed to bringing their powerful, scalable yet low cost pursuit deterrent to public safety officials to save lives, prevent injuries and reduce taxpayer waste in communities nationwide. The have been working hard on producing a product that is not just mitigation after a pursuit begins, but prevents it in the first place bringing additional safety to the community as well as public safety officials. Their long-term goal is to build a comprehensive platform consolidating many disparate mapping solutions for public safety into a single platform driving both analytical, and efficiency value for public safety as well as a positive impact for the community.
  • Flux Hybrids - is an automotive electrification startup out of NC State University targeting the commercial fleet vehicle market. They have developed a system that can convert any vehicle into a plug-in hybrid at a price point that pays for itself in savings within the remaining life of the vehicle.
  • Kalia Health - is a health justice startup dedicated to improving access to healthcare for birthing people in the United States and globally. Currently, they are developing the KAL-PDx, a home-based urine test for the early detection of preeclampsia. They aim to improve maternal health outcomes by providing birthing people with the tools they need to take control of their own health.
  • ArchiveCore – is a cloud-based software company which uses distributed ledger technology to simplify healthcare credentialing. They help hospitals save millions of dollars and help health care professionals start treating patients sooner.


The full panel of judges include Elaine Bolle, Lead Venture Partner, Portfolia’s Active Aging and Longevity fund and Investment Chair for RTP Capital; Tim Cartwright, Co-Founder and Partner of Fifth Avenue Family Office, Founder and Chair of the Tamiami Family of Angel Funds; Marco Rubin, Senior Investment Director, Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) and Vice Chair of The Launch Place’s Seed Fund Advisory Board; Louisa Smith, Managing Director, NO/LA Angel Network; and Autumn Visser, Principal, Woods Rogers PLC, The Launch Place’s legal counsel. 

A special thanks to our sponsors - Center of Innovative Technology, Woods Rogers and TriNet

The BLC is part of a two-day event starting on October 13th in the afternoon with the Angel Capital Association's (ACA) Angel University and ending with the pitch competition starting at 1:00pm on Thursday, October 14th at the NC Biotechnology Center (15 TW Alexander Dr, Durham, NC 27709). 

ACA Angel University at The Big Launch Challenge is a two-day event offering a unique experience for both angel investors and entrepreneurs that will be filled with immersive learning and networking. Two courses offered will prove valuable to both angel investors and entrepreneurs—Angel Exit Strategy and Risks in Angel Investing. This is the first time these two courses are being taught with angels and entrepreneurs learning together. Angels will learn how to get to successful paydays—harvesting their investments by helping their companies manage risks and achieve successful exits. Entrepreneurs gain a better understanding of how angels think and evaluate early-stage companies helping entrepreneurs build stronger partnerships with their investors. Learn more about the ACA Angel University at

The Challenge is free to attend, but registration is required. Registration can be found at