DANVILLE, VA – Applications are open for the seventh annual IdeaFest pitch competition, in which 20 early-stage startups will take the stage to present their products live to a panel of judges.
The annual event, now in its seventh year, is run by The Launch Place, an early-stage startup investor in Danville, Virginia. The organization is actively involved in startup growth in the Triangle, investing in local companies and offering business consulting services at its Research Triangle Park office. Local startups in its portfolio include Durham-based iScribes (acquired in late-2017) and Roobrik, Raleigh’s VitalFlo and Revibe, and Cary-based ProAxion.
IdeaFest is slated for April 2 from 1-5 p.m. at Cottontail Weddings & Events in Danville. Startups have until March 2 to apply. The top three winners will take home $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000, respectively. They’ll also be eligible to receive 25 hours of business consulting services from The Launch Place, free of charge.
The Launch Place is expecting that the competition will be strong for this year’s program. The organization typically receives around 120 applications from entrepreneurs eager to gain more exposure for their ventures.
Eva Doss, the organization’s president and CEO, says IdeaFest is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to hear others pitch, meet with investors and network with peers.
“We are looking forward to seeing 20 early-stage technology companies or founders with novel and innovative ideas that can be scaled,” Doss adds. “University groups, accelerator program participants, or individuals with investable ideas in health tech, software, hardware, advanced manufacturing and IoT welcome to apply.”
At the 2019 IdeaFest last March, 12 of the 20 finalists hailed from North Carolina, with four startups in Charlotte, five in the Triangle, two from Greensboro and one from Wilmington. Two startups from Richmond, Virginia won first and second place.
Charlotte-based BatteryXchange won the third-place prize of $2,000 for its portable battery pack for charging phones. Just five months after IdeaFest, BatteryXchange was one of eight startups chosen for the RIoT Accelerator Program in Raleigh. In 2018, the startup was also part of Charlotte’s City Startup Labs accelerator, then winning $10,000 at the City Startup Labs Demo Day last year.
IdeaFest is one of two pitch competitions hosted by The Launch Place every year. At the sixth annual Big Launch Challenge last September, two Triangle-based startups—Intake and Optimal Solar—took home $15,000 and $5,000 as first- and second-place winners.