Using nanotechnology for textile production and development of waterless toilets were the big ideas being turned into businesses that led to two Raleigh firms winning the “Big Launch Challenge.”

And judge/angel investor Andy Schwab, the leader of First Flight Venture Center which helped put on the event, likes what he sees in both firms.

“Both companies appear to be excellent potential investments and we look forward to local investment groups evaluating their businesses,” Schwad says of winner 3F LLC and runnerup Sanitation Creations. 3F takes home $15,000 and Sanitation Creation $12,000 as well as other goodies.

3F is looking to revolutionize textiles with nanotechnology. The Raleigh-based firm impressed Schwab and the judges.

“I think 3F resonated most with the judges because of the high performance textile angle and [CEO] Larry’ {Dickinson]’s good positioning of bringing this capability to the Dan River region as an important economic imperative that has great synergy with its past traditional textile success,” he says.

“3F’s next generation of competitive advanced material manufacturing based on nano technology also appealed to the judges.”

The event took place in Danville, Va. on Thursday and was a co-production of First Flight along with The Launch Place, which is based in Danville.

Sanitation Creation and its CEO were no surprise to Schwab, who prowls the Triangle for angle deals and runs the First Flight incubator which houses some 40 startups across multiple fields.

“I have been following Liz and her company for the last year or so and she has made tremendous progress in establishing an entry market in the boating industry,” Schwab explains. “Based on the recent boating media interest, initial orders and dialogs with manufacturers, I think this is a great opportunity. Her product also needs a variety of manufacturing capabilities and there are a number of possible contracting options that would be attractive to the region.”

3F and Sanitation Creations competed against four other finalists, three of which were also from the Triangle. The other finalists were: Reynolds-Clark Development of Gretna, VA; and INRFood, Rheomics and NanoBrew Laboratories, all located in or near the Triangle.

“We were very fortunate to have six strong finalists for the competition. Any of them would have been good success stories and should be companies to watch over the next year,” Schwab adds.

In terms of an investment of time, effort and resources, the first Big Launch Challenge also is a success in Schwab’s view.

“Both First Flight and the LaunchPlace see this initial event as a success in bridging two emerging technology regions together to better leverage additional resources for early stage companies,” he explains. “The quality of the applicants were excellent and we look forward to advancing this competition next year with even more resources and continued success.”