Launch Place’s IdeaFest is a startup extravaganza – here’s a look at 20 finalists, the winners – WRAL Tech Wire

DANVILLE, Va. – The Launch Place, a startup and entrepreneurship hub that is making the River District of Danville a fast-growing region for entrepreneurship, added to its corporate resume on Thursday with its sixth annual IdfeaFest Pitch Competition.

The event drew a wide variety of 20 finalists drawn from nearly 100 applications from companies across the US and elsewhere, including several from the Triangle as well as Charlotte and Wilmington.

The Launch Place

Pocket Protector took the top $5,000 cash prize. Pocket Protector is a medical device company aiming to prevent pocket hematomas (the buildup of blood) after pacemaker implantation. The product is a simple device that applies even pressure to the “pocket” of a patient after pacemaker implantation. The applied pressure to the region prevents blood from pooling into the pocket through the muscular fascia or blood vessels.

NIRSleep placed second, receiving $3,000. NIRSleep is developing a more accurate and native method to measure sleep to enable better patient outcomes.

Third place of $2,000 went to Battery Xchange, which is a rental platform that provides portable batteries to cell phone users on-the-go.

The winners also are eligible to receive  25 hours of free business consulting from The Launch Place.

To hear the presentations of the finalists visit The Launch Place page at Facebook.

The hub also is an active investor in Triangle startups and a partner in promoting various events.

The IdeaFest 2019 Finalists

Here’s a look at the finalists:


a.       Presenter: Benjie Davis

b.      Description: wirl is the only marketplace which helps everyday people find and hire affordable personal stylists so they can dress confidently!

c.       Location: Durham, NC

QuickTech Medical

a.       Presenter:  Glenn Feit

b.      Description: QuickTech makes arthritic recovery faster, easier, and cheaper while improving patient outcomes by introducing new technologies such as 3D scanning and artificial intelligence (AI) into orthopedic clinics.

Cofounders: Gregory Grande and Jacob Merizian, will be attending and present for Q&A

c.       Location: Blacksburg, VA

NeuroView Diagnostics

a.    Presenter: Omar Uribe

b.    Description: NeuroView’s mission is to improve the detection of stroke using artificial intelligence and the camera in your pocket.

c.       Location: Charlottesville, VA

NIRSleep Inc

a.    Presenter: Ember Melcher

b.    Description: NIRSleep is developing a more accurate and native method to measure sleep to enable better patient outcomes.

c.    Location: Richmond, VA

SWELL Systems, Inc

a.    Presenter: Derek Schmidt

b.      Description: SWELLEnterprise is an all-in-one business management application that allows creative agencies and b2b startups to manage their administrative, sales and production in one integrated system.

c.    Location: Wilmington, NC

Single Baked Sweets

a.    Presenter: Melissa Stefaniak

b.    Description: Single Baked Sweets provides single-serve, bake-at-home dessert kits that come with the pre-measured dry ingredients, bakeware and simple instructions needed to make a delicious homemade treat for one!

c.       Location: Charlottesville, VA

Groove Watersports

a.    Presenter: Drew Bartek

b.      Description: We bring music to Watersports through a patented vest with integrated speakers.

c.       Location: Charlotte, NC

Pocket Protector

a.    Presenter: Kayla Burkholder

b.      Description: A Medical device company aiming to prevent pocket hematomas (the buildup of blood) after pacemaker implantation.

c.    Location: Richmond, VA

Everywhere Ad

a.    Presenter: Dezbee McDaniel & Rashaad Galloway

b.      Description: Everywhere Ad is a mobile rideshare advertising platform that pays Uber, Lyft and other rideshare drivers to advertise small and local businesses in their vehicles.

c.    Location: Raleigh, NC


a.       Presenter: Andrew Bowker & Praneet Mocherla

b.    Description: Since half of all house fires originate from the kitchen stove, we created Chirp: an IoT-enabled Smart Home device that leverages a combination of sensors guided by a proprietary algorithm to monitor the stove and immediately address threats to help reduce emergency response times by an estimated 50%.

c.    Location: Raleigh, NC

Gig Connected

a.    Presenter: Keith Clithero

b.      Description: A mobile-friendly web application that streamlines the construction staffing process.

c.    Location: Charlotte, NC


a.       Presenter: Thad “TC” Parker

b.      Description: Kwistr is a SaaS based automated regression testing solution for web apps, mobile apps, APIs, and websites.

c.    Location: Raleigh, NC

Rendyr, Inc.

a.       Presenter: Martin Angst

b.      Description: Rendyr has developed a portable laser cutter to make rapid product development accessible to everyone.

c.       Location: Blacksburg, VA

Decidedly by Pathos Ethos

a.       Presenter: Greg Akinbiyi

b.      Description: “Decidedly” is a next-generation productivity intelligence platform that helps organizations automate meetings, streamline their decision-making process, and leverage data to remove bias when measuring performance.

c.       Location: Durham, NC


a.    Presenter: Chandana Muktipaty

b.      Description:  Brise-Solette — enables neonatal care providers to precisely control the amount of light received by premature infants hospitalized in NICU chambers, positively impacting the critical cognitive, optical and overall physical development of this most vulnerable infant population.

Co-founding team members that will attend the event and will join for questions:

Joshna Seelam, Aniket Kulkarni, Kashyap Venuthurupalli

c.    Location: Richmond, VA


a.       Presenter: Chris Phillis

b.      Description: Get an immediate answer on buying your dream home.

c.    Location: Charlotte, NC

Vortix Apparel

a.       Presenter: Alan Sexten

b.      Description: Swimming trunks with waterproof pockets, so you can carry your phone, wallet, keys, and other valuables in and around water.

c.    Location: Liberty University Lynchburg VA


a.    Presenter: Sheeba Dawood

b.      Description: Extraction of lithium using nanomaterials: A network of solutions.

c.       Location: Greensboro, NC

Battery Xchange

a.    Presenter: Desmond Wiggan

b.      Description: A rental platform that provides portable batteries to cell phone users on-the-go.

c.    Location: Charlotte, NC


a.    Presenter: Emmanuel Borkor Nuakoh

b.    Description: iMonitR is a mobile application for preventing credit/debit card fraud in real time using machine learning and human collaboration.

c.    Location: Greensboro, NC


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