April 18, 2023

IdeaFest Business Pitch Competition - April 20, 2023

IdeaFest Logo

IdeaFest is a Business Pitch Competition where finalists will pitch their startup idea to a panel of judges and a live audience.  The top three competitors will be awarded $5,000 for first place, $3,000 for second place and $2,000 for third place.

IdeaFest is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to attend any part of the day’s activities. Community members of all ages and professions are invited to attend to learn about the region's startup development resources, to network with a wide range of business professionals and to explore entrepreneurship as a career option.

IdeaFest is a live event that will be held at 2 Witches Winery & Brewing Co. located at 209 Trade St, Danville, VA. Register to attend.

Register Now


Meet the IdeaFest Finalists
  • Elysia Creative Biology - Eli Hornstein
  • Salem - Trevor Gingras
  • BioSensys- Jocelyne Akamaliza and Robin Jacob
  • Verenovo Energy - Hayden Miller
  • Gemini III Technologies - John Marshall
  • Lithium Technologies, Inc. - Brian Keenum
  • ELDR End of Life Design - Christy Lee Knutson
  • Truth Or Err - Keenan Headen
  • XStar Research LLC - Rick Fenrich
  • VENT - Takita Walker and Shakeva Frazier
  • Turnip - Dwight Brake
  • Trova Commercial Vehicles, Inc. - Chad Lee Burchett
  • Leantime - Gloria Folaron
  • ExstoBio - Juan Carlos Pacheco
  • CareYaya Health Technologies Inc. - Neal K. Shah
  • Tromml - Lauren McCullough
  • Nanode Battery Technologies Inc. - Brian Worfolk
  • Sprocketz - Noon Farsab
  • NursesBnB - Keisha Manning
IdeaFest Judges
  • Jan L. Davis, Retired CEO, ShopperTrak RCT Corporation; Investor and Vice Chair, Triangle Angel Partners; Board Vice-Chair, The Launch Place
  • Pat Gouhin, CAE, Angel Capital Association, CEO
  • Mark Granville, Screening Chair, RTP Capital; Board Vice-Chair, The Launch Place Seed Fund
  • Robbie Hardy, Founder and Chair of xElle Ventures; Board Member, The Launch Place Seed Fund
  • Marty Kaszubowski, Technology Mentor, Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program (ICAP), Virginia Small Business Development Center Network, George Mason University

Learn More about the IdeaFest Judges


Patrick Gouhin

Keynote Speaker

Patrick Gouhin, CAE

CEO, Angel Capital Association

Patrick Gouhin is presently serving in his fourth year as the CEO of the Angel Capital Association. ACA is a professional society for accredited angel investors, North America's most prolific early-stage investment class. ACA represents 15,000+ member accredited angel investors, 250 angel groups, accredited platforms and family offices and more than 30,000 entrepreneurial companies that are in ACA member investment portfolios. Before joining ACA, Mr. Gouhin spent 12 years as the Executive Director and CEO of the International Society of Automation (ISA) and then 15 years with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). During his tenure at ISA he provided leadership toward the creation of many new initiatives and companies. At AIAA, Mr. Gouhin served as the Chief Operating Officer whereby his leadership contributions resulted in significant revenue growth and the successful management of 300+ project teams through development and delivery of multiple products and services.

Mr. Gouhin also served as the first Vice President of Operations and Technology Transfer for the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) at Langley Research Center. This was a start-up resulting from $69 million government contract award to build a world-class research and education institute. Mr. Gouhin has experience in corporate divestitures and acquisitions, business construction and relocation, strategic standardization management, business planning, project management, process mapping and reengineering, and serving as a company wide change agent. He has served on the board of directors of multiple non-profits including the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives (CESSE) where he is a past president.

He has a bachelor of science in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from The Ohio State University and a master’s in engineering management from George Washington University. He has also completed the executive development program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the advanced management college of Stanford University. Mr. Gouhin is a Certified Association Executive or CAE.

For additional information, contact Varun Sadana at vsadana@thelaunchplace.org.

ideafest 2022 business pitch competition





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