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The original item was published from 3/27/2017 3:51:00 PM to 4/26/2017 9:17:41 AM.

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Danville, VA Local Government News and Announcements

Posted on: March 27, 2017

[ARCHIVED] IdeaFest to give away $10,000 in prize money

The Launch Place logo

With over 100 applications received for the 4th Annual IdeaFest Business Pitch Competition, it has proven to be the toughest competition to date. Applications were received from as far away as California to West Bengal, India and ranged from sensor based training equipment for athletes to a biotech company that gives farmers precise control over their harvesting schedule. The top twenty applicants will take the stage to pitch for a chance to win $10,000 in prize money.

The day will begin with an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) workshop presented by The Launch Place, an entrepreneurship development and business consulting organization, and RIoT, a regional group focused on bringing people together to exchange ideas, learn new technologies and create new opportunities around the Internet of Things (IoT).

The competition will officially begin at 1:00pm, with an opening panel discussing what a company must do to become ‘fundable’ from an entrepreneur’s perspective as well as from the legal perspective, and will end with an awards reception from 4:30-5:30pm. The reception will continue into a RIoT event focused on Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). IdeaFlow will be held on Thursday, March 30th from 6:30-7:30pm at 2 Witches Winery & Brewing Co. located at 209 Trade Street, Danville. IdeaFlow is a free casual networking event open to anyone where attendees will have the option to pitch their two-minute idea and receive feedback from the audience.

IdeaFest is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to attend any part of the day’s activities. Community members of all ages and professions are invited to attend to learn about Danville’s startup development resources, to network with a wide range of business professionals and to explore entrepreneurship as a career option. Registration is available at

The agenda for the IIoT workshop includes an IIoT overview as well as case study applications on improving facility energy efficiency through IIoT, real-time monitoring for predictive maintenance and deploying sensors to improve capital equipment deployment. It will be geared for plant managers, engineers, maintenance and facility managers, quality control specialists and information system specialists. This is an invite only workshop for leaders in industry throughout the region. For more information, contact Kelly Fitzgerald at The Launch Place by emailing

The panel of judges for IdeaFest includes James Ramey, Managing Director, Virginia Tech Carilion Innovation Fund in Roanoke/Blacksburg, VA; Bob Creeden, Managing Director, University of Virginia Seed Fund and New Ventures in Charlottesville, VA; Iulian Bobe, Chief Technology Officer, Tyton BioEnergy, in Danville, VA; Autumn Visser, Principal, Attorney, Woods Rodgers in Roanoke, VA; and Eva Doss, President & CEO, The Launch Place, Danville, VA. Audience members will also have the chance to vote on a favorite competitor to win the Audience Choice Award.

Winners of the competition will also be eligible to receive twenty-five hours of free business consulting from The Launch Place. The Launch Place, located in the River District of Danville, assists with business formation, job creation and retention through its business consulting services and investment funding, while having a dual responsibility to recruit and retain entrepreneurs to the Dan River Region. The IdeaFest competition exposes The Launch Place’s services and funds to start-up companies that are ready to establish or seeking early stage capital. The Launch Place could potentially invest in the company from its Seed and Pre-Seed Funds that were established from a $10 million grant awarded by the Danville Region Foundation.

IdeaFest is free to attend thanks to sponsorship support from the Danville Regional Foundation, City of Danville, JTI Leaf Services and The Launch Place.

Additional information about IdeaFest can be found at

Video from 2016 IdeaFest competition -


Media Contacts:

Varun Sadana, IdeaFest Co-Founder and The Launch Place Deputy Director: or (434) 799-5491

Kelly Fitzgerald, The Launch Place Marketing Manager: or (434) 799-5491

Tom Synder, Executive Director, RIoT: or (919) 272 -3663

Additional Information:

Background: First envisioned by six young professionals in summer 2013, IdeaFest is a community project to encourage and inspire entrepreneurship among residents of the Dan River region. The group, which calls itself “Team IdeaFest,” hosts an annual business pitch competition, educational opportunities and networking events.



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