Cash Awards Totaling $20,500 Are Largest in Ten-Year History of Competition
A crowd of over 200 people heard business pitches from eleven hopeful high-growth ventures at UNC Charlotte on April 14, 2011. This year's contest featured cash prizes of $20,500 and additional in-kind services for a total prize value of $50,000
The tenth annual Five Ventures competition featured success stories from ten prior winners including 2005 winner, Ometric, recently acquired by Halliburton in a sale that yielded the largest royalty ever for the University of South Carolina.
The event featured a lively conversation between Mike Elliott, Managing Partner of Noro-Mosely Partners, a leading Southeastern venture capital firm and Kevin Drehmer, former President of Digital Optics Corporation, one of Charlotte's all-time entrepreneurial success stories. Their dialogue offered insights into the collaborative and contentious, yet strategic, relationship between investor and entrepreneur.
Student Team Winners were as follows:
- SolarMax Engineering, led by UNC Charlotte graduate student Terence Goveas, was selected as the first prize winner within the student teams and will receive $2,500 cash and $2,000 in Ben Craig Center services.
- Second place winner GoodFit.com will receive a $1,000 cash prize and $2,000 in Ben Craig Center services. GoodFit.com is led by UNC Chapel Hill graduate student Andrew Fu.
- Allincoupons.com was the third place winner led by Chad Miller and will receive a cash prize of $500.
- Two other finalists were: Cullowhere.com and FAC International.
Early Stage Venture Winners were:
- First prize winner, mailVU will receive $10,000 cash, the largest prize in Five Ventures history, and $2,000 in Ben Craig Center services. This ambitious venture, led by co-founders Alan Fitzpatrick and Addy Kapur, has created a cloud-based platform for business video messaging. Alan Fitzpatrick observed, "There is nothing elese like it in Charlotte, and I highly recommend the Five Ventures process to anyone considering a start-up."
- Second place winner, CanDiag, LLC, was founded by UNC Charlotte researcher Dr. Pinku Mukherjee to commercialize proprietary breast cancer diagnostic and screening tests. This winner will receive a $2,500 cash prize and Ben Craig Center services of $2,000.
- Third place was awarded to Camber Ridge, LLC, developer of a state-of-the-art tire testing facility based on the research of founder, Dr. James Cuttino. Camber Ridge receives $1,000 cash prize and $2,000 in Ben Craig Center services.
- Other finalists were DeskIt, Laser Biopsy, Inc. and OverstockAds.
This year's Five Ventures contest introduced two new awards judged by the 200+ attendees at UNC Charlotte's Barnhardt Student Activities Center. The J.Chris Murphy award for the best student team presentation gave $1000 to Western Carolina's Cullowhere.com, a social media venture serving rural areas. The People's Choice for the best early stage ventures presentation awarded $1,000 to mailVU.
Sponsors of the 2011 Five Ventures Business Competition include: Belk College of Business of UNC Charlotte; Charlotte Research Institute; Office of Technology Transfer at UNC Charlotte; The Ben Craig Center, University City Partners; City of Charlotte; Grant Thornton, Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A.; Summa, Addition & Ashe, P.A.; Hammer & Associates, P.C.; Wed/3; Smith, Moore, Leatherwood, P.A.; Inception Micro Angel Fund (IMAF); Small Business & Technology Development Center of North Carolina; Duke Energy; Memminger E. Wiggins, PLLC; Fisher Family Foundation; Jenkins, Wilson, Taylor & Hunt, P.A.; Paul Pedigo IP Law & Management.
Additional in-kind services prizes were provided by: Ben Craig Center, David H. Murdock Research Institute, Enventys and Edison Nation.
Tuesday April 26, 2011