Eleven companies made pitches. Only three were selected. And the opportunity could be substantial.

BRAIN, otherwise known as the Blue Ridge Angel Investors Network, is bringing in three startup firms to make pitches for cash at its next meeting on March 18. And they offering an interesting mix, just as the finalists named for the Five Ventures 2003 competition (see related story, also posted today on LTW).

Navigational Sciences is developing cutting-edge commerce technology for marine data, satellite imaging, mapping and geographic information services. The company was launched in Charleston, SC, in 2000. Eric Dobson, Ph.D., its president and chief executive officer, was a remote sensing scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for five years before Navigational Sciences was launched. He holds degrees from the University of Tennessee and the University of South Carolina.

(By the way, companies from outside North Carolina could apply to make a presentation if they are considering moving to
Western North Carolina.)

Web site: www.navsci.com

Chemtronix: is a pollution abatement firm based in Waynesville. Chemtronix has developed means of recovering imaging and toxic silver recovery for businesses such as hospitals and newspapers, which produce silver as a byproduct. Jim Partridge is the chief executive officer.

Web site: www.chemtronix.com

Personal & Child Safety, LLC: The firm bills itself as an “edutainment” company that uses multimedia to educate children on important safety issues. Michael Moore is the chief executive officer. (The firm does not have a web site; it is located in Charlotte.)

BRAIN is an initiative sponsored by the Mountain Council for Entrepreneurial Development. The March 18 event will take place at Homewood in Asheville’s Montford Historic District.

“We’ve selected a good range of businesses with a high level of sophistication,” said David Reeves, an investment banker with the Capital Corporation and an AdvantageWest Board member. He also is a founder of MCED and BRAIN and current BRAIN Advisory Board Member.

“I expect that for those entrepreneurs attending the meeting, watching others present their business plans before the investors will be a rare and invaluable experience. MCED will be there to help these entrepreneurs, and any western North Carolina entrepreneurs, fine-tune business plans and ultimately seek capital formation or other appropriate assistance.”

All 11 business that submitted plans have been invited to attend the meeting.

“They all were good but these three particularly impressed the BRAIN advisory board,” said Mark Owen of Advantage West. “We feel they all can really learn something.”

A number of venture capital firms will be represented at the event.
For details about the event, contact Jim Roberts, Executive Director of MCED and BRAIN. Jim Roberts at: 828-273-9862 or jroberts@awnc.org.

Rick Smith is managing editor of Local Tech Wire.