Six entrepreneurial startups were selected as the top enterprises at the 13th annual Charlotte Venture Challenge, conducted by UNC Charlotte’s Ventureprise and the Charlotte Research Institute. They will receive more than $60,000 in cash prizes.
Thirty-six early-stage ventures were among the finalists from 100-plus entrants from across the Southeastern United States for the 2014 edition of the challenge. The 36 teams conducted three-minute pitches to corporate and investor judging panels at the finals, held in the UNC Charlotte PORTAL Building.
Industry category winners received $12,500 each. Clodico, a Tennessee-based company with a patented product to eliminate odors and disinfectants using chlorine-dioxide, won in the new energy and high technology category. In the health IT and biotech category, eosNANO won; it is a company that started at UNC Charlotte that uses fungi and microorganisms to break down contaminants. Huntersville-based ProctorFree won in the consumer products and services category; it offers online testing to prevent cheating in online education. In the IT and informatics category, Durham-based PRSONAS won for its computer-generated virtual presenters that can interact with customers and gather user analytics.
Student entrepreneurs also were recognized with $5,000 cash awards. The undergraduate recipient was Track2Quit from N.C. State for a mobile app to help smokers quit. Motus, from UNC Charlotte, won the graduate prize for a product line that can create prototypes. This initiative received the People’s Choice Award, decided votes from all conference attendees, too.
The J. Chris Murphy Prize for best UNC Charlotte undergraduate venture went to Clutch Gaming Solutions.
Sponsors of the 2014 Charlotte Venture Challenge were UNC Charlotte’s Research and Economic Development Office, Charlotte Research Institute, Belk College of Business, College of Computing and Informatics, EPIC, Office of Technology Transfer and Ventureprise and the city of Charlotte, McGuire Woods, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Hammer and Associates P.C., Charlotte Angel Fund, Robinson Bradshaw, North Carolina Research Campus, city of Kannapolis, town of Harrisburg Economic Development, Paul Pedigo IP and Law and Management and University City Partners.
Photo (by Aaron Cress) - Motus presentation