May 14, 2015

The Big Launch Challenge is a joint venture between The Launch Place from Danville, Virginia and First Flight Venture Center from the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina designed to showcase business plans for innovative ideas in a competitive environment. The Big Launch Challenge is scheduled for 1:00pm on May 19, 2015, at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, and 6 finalists have been chosen from thirty-seven applicants from nine different states.

The Big Launch Challenge offers startups valuable business networking and capital opportunities, as well as critical resources. The goal of The Big Launch Challenge is to foster entrepreneurship by offering education, team creation, mentorship, early-stage prototyping, and potential follow-on seed financing.  Startups from the nano technology, green technology, alternative energy, advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, medical devices, and information technology industries were invited to apply for The Big Launch Challenge’s second year.
The 6 finalists for The Big Launch Challenge are:
1. Camras Vision, the developer of the patented Camras Shunt. This device provides personalized pressure control to stop the progression of glaucoma.
2. GO Leaf, a cost and energy efficient producer of graphene.
3. Indexus Biomedical LLC, whose goal is to develop a revolutionary medical device to affordably bring advanced diagnostic testing closer to primary care.
4. SeaChange Technologies, who aims to provide sustainable solutions for water purification and desalination.
5. Tom & Jenny’s Candy, the maker of naturally-sweetened, cavity-preventing, and diabetic-friendly, delicious candies.
6. Velosal Medical, Inc., an innovative developer of medical devices for critical care and emergency medicine.

The top two contestants will be awarded up to $20,000 for the first place and $10,000 for second place.  This event starts at 1pm and is free and open to the public - attend all or join at 5pm for the reception. Register to win free business consulting hours from The Launch Place.

The keynote speaker and moderator for the event is Troy Knauss.  Troy is Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, of the Angel Resource Institute, a non-profit spinout of the Kauffman Foundation focused on education and research initiatives for early-stage investors. Troy is a partner in a number of Angel funds and networks that invest in high-growth and turnaround companies. Troy has over 20 years of experience in family, growth, and start-up businesses. In addition to his fund activities, Troy is an exited entrepreneur with start-up and growth management experience in food processing, brand building, software development, and eCommerce companies. Troy is an active investor in more than forty ventures.


About The Launch Place
Awarded a $10 million grant from the Danville Regional Foundation in July 2013, The Launch Place increased its capacity to offer business consulting services and expanded to include entrepreneurship recruitment, development and retention resources and assistance, including seed investments.

Founded in 2005 as a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit organization, The Launch Place strives to energize and diversify Southern Virginia’s regional economy through entrepreneurship development and business consulting services.

About First Flight Venture Center
Founded in 1992, First Flight Venture Center was created to foster innovation and grow sustainable companies. Today, First Flight is one of the nation’s largest and most stable incubators, playing host to more than 37 high-science, high-impact annually. In total, First Flight company startups number 267 and growing. Several of the most notable graduates include United Therapeutics (NASDAQ: UTHR), SciQuest (NASDAQ: SQI) Athenix (acquired by Bayer, NASDAQ: BAYRY), Advanced Liquid Logic (acquired by Illumina, NASDAQ: ILMN), Bloodhound Technologies (acquired by Verisk), Ganymede Software (acquired by NETIQ IPO) and Exam Design (acquired by Person PLC, NASDAQ: PSO).