They won’t appear on radar at the space center in Houston, but KeySource Commercial Bank on Tuesday began what it plans to be a series of launches. The payloads will be the down-to-earth ideas of ready-for-investment entrepreneurs, not space shuttles.

Tuesday, at the American Tobacco Complex’s Bay 7, seven startups pitched their ideas during the first Launch Day event backed by Keysource Commercial Bank. Potential investors and advisors heard from Group Story, Jobkatch, Loyalese, Spotpulse, School House, 31 Projects and Wegeo. An eighth company, Choice Cereal, was among the chosen startups and had a booth at the event.

Scott A. Kelly, KeySource vice president of investment banking, said the plan is for five to 10 companies to be on the launch pad each quarter.

No one will be looking for major funding, Kelly said.

“The pitch is, ‘What I’m doing for the next six to eight months. This is my business. This is what I need,” Kelly said. The need may be for expertise for certain steps rather than money, Kelly said.

He plans to gather an audience of people who know how to bring companies along, he said. Working with NC IDEA, Launchbox and other incubator efforts, “We know the landscape” of whom to invite, Kelly said.

Pre-arranged interest is part of the plan

Attendees should already be interested in what they are going to hear because they will have helped decide it, Kelly said.

After a committee assembled by the bank screens entrepreneurs and their ideas, Kelly said, a list of candidates will go out to invitees. They can vote on which endeavors they want to hear about, and the top 10 will be on the program.

The audience, he noted, comprises opportunistic people. The launch events are “an effective way to distribute human capital” in a physical space at American Tobacco that “breathes ‘startup.’”

Why it’s worthwhile for entrepreneurs

The presenters selected for the first Launch Day, along with visibility and a chance to post on the Launch Day blog:

  • Sales consulting with SalesForce4Hire
  • Lunch with Southern Capitol Ventures
  • 18 holes of golf from McConnell Golf
  • Office chair from Edge Office
  • Marketing Strategy with Method Savvy
  • Lunch with Ignite Social Media CEO Jim Tobin
  • Legal advice from Smith Anderson
  • One year membership to CED
  • Creative strategy session with Hummingbird Creative
  • Marketing strategy session with Rockett Interactive
  • Sales strategy session with SmartCore Business Solutions
  • Legal advice from Mital Patel
  • Advertising Strategy Session with Galvanek and Wahl

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