RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Intake, a health tech startup from Raleigh seeking to “eradicate chronic disease,” took home the $15,000 first prize at The Big Launch Challenge held at RTP headquarters on Wednesday.

The $5,000 second prize went to Optimal Solar, a cleantech startup working out of Durham’s American Underground.

In total, ten early-stage startups, including five from the Triangle, pitched as part of the  sixth annual event sponsored by The Launch Place, an entrepreneurial organization based in Danville, Va., with a second office in RTP.

Intake, a Raleigh health tech startup, nabs first prize at Big Launch Challenge

Here’s a closer look at the winners:

Bender Tech, LLC dba Intake

  • Website:
  • Founder:  Brothers Brian Bender and Michael Bender
  • Year founded: 2016
  • Previous job: CEO/Founder Sociable Group
  • Company mission: To extend global health spans by making preventive care a way of life.
  • Number of employees: 4
  • Funds raised and sources: $750,000 from founder contributions, awards/prizes, NIH and NSF grant funding
  • How much are you trying to raise now? We are not actively raising.

Optimal Solar

  • Website:
  • Founder:  Dr. Reginald Parker
  • Year founded: 2019
  • Previous job: President of 510nano Inc.
  • Company mission:  To improve the quality of life across the world through the efficient use of and increased access to solar resources.
  • Number of employees: 4 full-time, 5 interns, 1 freelancer
  • Funds raised and sources: $330,000
  • How much are you trying to raise now? $2 million in January 2020
  • How will you use funds? Marketing  and sales, inventory, working capital.