RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Wilmington-based Boreas Monitoring Solutions won the Big Launch Challenge on Thursday, earning a $10K check.

The Big Launch Challenge pitch competition for early-stage companies features $15,000 in prize money from The Launch Place (TLP), an entrepreneurial support organization and fund with office locations in Danville, Virginia, and the Research Triangle Park.

Eva Doss, President and CEO of The Launch Place, welcomes attendees to the 11th annual Big Launch Challenge | Photo by Sarah Glova

After more than ten years of hosting this competition, TLP has awarded $189,000 to 19 different companies. Winners also get access to TLP programming and mentoring.

This year’s competition was held at the NC Biotech Center.

In his pitch Thursday, Boreas Monitoring CEO and co-founder William C. Baird IV explained how the patented technology behind their weight-based remote monitoring system offers a safe and reliable way to monitor “invaluable specimens.”

Baird currently manages Wilmington Reproductive Laboratories, an IVF center located in Wilmington, and leads the Wilmington satellite for Cryobio, an FDA-registered sperm bank.

His pitch also highlighted the “antiquated” systems used in most laboratories today — and the stress caused if people are worried about the health and longevity of specimens like sperm or embryos.

Boreas Monitoring participated in the RIoT Accelerator Program in the fall of 2022, received a $50k SEED Grant from NC IDEA earlier this year, and received the 18th investment made by the Wilmington Angels for Local Entrepreneurs (WALE) fund earlier this summer.

After the winners were announced, Baird told TechWire that his company will use the prize money to support marketing efforts and address compliance challenges.

Second place to Tromml

Tromml, an insights solution to help eCommerce sellers improve profitability, won second place and a $5K check.

First-prize winner Boreas Monitoring Solutions, pitched by CEO and co-founder William Baird IV (left), and second-prize winner Tromml, pitched by CEO and co-founder Lauren McCollough | Image provided by The Launch Place

Tromml is led by CEO and co-founder Lauren McCullough, former program lead for NC IDEA’s seed grant program. The startup also won first place at The Launch Place’s 2023 IdeaFest earlier this year.

Lauren McCollough, CEO and co-founder of Tromml, pitches at The Big Launch Challenge | Photo by Sarah Glova

Judges for the 2023 Big Launch Challenge

Judges for the 2023 Big Launch Challenge | Photo by Sarah Glova

Judges for this year’s competition included:

  • Dawn Batts, Ph.D. (Detroit, MI) The Director of Growth Capital for Tech Town
  • Timothy Cartwright (Naples, FL) Partner and Co-Founder at Fifth Avenue Family Office, a multi-family office, and Chairman of the Tamiami Family of Angel Funds
  • Silvia Mah, PhD, MBA (San Diego, CA) General Partner, Stella Impact Capital, a seed-stage venture fund, investing in diverse women founders building scalable startups at the intersection of deep tech & impact.
  • Sumedha Mongia, MD, FAAP, MBA (Washington, DC) Sumedha is a physician, 2nd-time founder, angel investor, healthcare leader, and mentor for Techstars DC
  • Rick Timmins (Austin, TX) Former Board Chairman and member of the Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN), one of the most active angel networks in the country
  • Autumn Visser (Roanoke, VA) Member; Corporate & Business Transactions and Emerging Growth & Venture Capital practice groups, Woods Rogers Vandeventer Black PLC; The Launch Place’s legal counsel

Winners of the competition will also receive business consulting from TLP. In addition, TLP “could potentially invest” in the companies’ pre-seed or seed funds, according to a press release announcing the winners.