Charlotte Venture Challenge was birthed 15 years ago to promote early-stage businesses out of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. During its early days, the competition was only open to those affiliated with the university and was named Five Ventures, which reflected the number of startups involved.

This year CVC was held at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis and applications came in from across the Southeast region. Nearly 100 companies entered and out of those, 27 were declared finalists in one of these four categories: General, New Energy & High Tech, Student Ventures and IT & Informatics.

Categories vary year to year depending on the applicants. Thirty judges from places like Belk, AvidXChange and the Charlotte Angel Fund were divided between the four categories. From their insights, four category winners and two wild cards advanced to the final round Tuesday night.

Final Six:

  • MadDogg Heat Sleeve
  • GuidePro3D
  • Thrive GPO
  • Grow Bioplastics
  • Sweetie Pie Organics (of Raleigh)
  • uBack

After the final six pitched to a new group of judges, a short break convened for the deliberation period. Greg Brown, president of Cardinal Finance and administrator of the Charlotte Angel Fund, was one of the final judges. Here’s how explains the judging process: “The criteria were a combination of the perceived validity of the business opportunity, the presenting company’s ability to capture that opportunity, potential of attractive returns for investors, and effectiveness of presentation.”

For details on the winners, see: