Florida Atlantic University’s Tech Runway ® hosted its 2018 Launch Competition and Demo Day on May 10 at the Research Park at FAU, revealing its sixth and largest class, “Venture Class 6.” This annual Launch Competition provides promising startups and talented entrepreneurs in South Florida with an opportunity to join a year-long program that brings the competition winners “best-in-class” instruction, mentoring, resources, networking, assistance raising capital, and other vital programs.

The 21 winners of Venture Class 6 were announced during the awards ceremony, with the top seven each receiving a $15,000 check, totaling $105,000 in cash investments.

The 21 winners represented community, faculty, and student entrepreneur tracks. This year’s seven cash investment award-winners are:

  • Contiguity Spatial Solutions: provides customized solutions to businesses in the geospatial field by developing tools and applications using the latest technologies. Services include structural inspection using drone technology, geographic information systems (GIS), aerial imagery, crop health inspection, digital terrain models, construction site progress inspection, and artificial intelligence (AI) geospatial solutions.
  • Deal Coach Pro: is an A.I. SaaS-based software methodology designed to have a radical impact on sales revenue. The SaaS-based application is simple-to-use and allows for a virtual “war room” where the deal team can collaborate, share content and accelerate great ideas into winning strategies.
  • Extreme Comms Lab: is working to leverage an innovative method of acoustic communication to create a “Wi-Fi”-like network of aquatic sensors that can quickly exchange information in long distances underwater. This communication method will enable the deployment of autonomously-networked underwater modems that can interface to multiple sensors with the potential for early warning pollution detection, real-time water quality monitoring, and measuring and tracking urban pollution.
  • Interchecks Technologies: provides a payroll marketplace that is designed for the Gig economy. For payers, it is the only platform that offers Gig worker benefits, free payments and free 1099s. For Gig workers, it is the first frictionless tool to manage finances across payers.
  • Nesvio: is a parent company of TV LAKAY, nesvio Internet, WAHLTV, Holatele, akotele and TeleAfrik,  an American subscription-based internet and live streaming cable company with a business model of virtual multichannel video programming distribution (VMVPD) with a receiver. The company delivers a solution to cable and satellite companies worldwide while providing international communities the opportunity to stay connected with country of origin, heritage, culture and language.
  • Rooster: provides software that independently owned service businesses can utilize for a back-office system to manage their clients, appointments, payments, marketing tools and more. Rooster then turns the information in the system around into a client-facing marketplace so clients can use search tools to find and book the best service provider for their needs 24/7.
  • Zimit: developer of a software platform that efficiently manages the configure-price-quote process for specialized services that small and mid-sized companies must source and procure. The company has developed a software product that is a SaaS, multi-tenant software application, which runs on Amazon Web services using technology that is primarily javascript (angular and node).

“Selecting the seven cash investment award-winners for our Venture Class 6 was very challenging for our judges because we had an exceptionally talented pool of entrepreneurs and innovators,” said Rhys L. Williams, associate vice president and managing director of FAU Tech Runway®. “All 21 of today’s Launch Competition winners will receive comprehensive support critical to propelling their ventures to new heights. On behalf of the entire FAU Tech Runway®team, we wish the Venture Class 6 competition winners including the $15,000 investment recipients, as well as the 19 graduates of Venture Class 5, continued success in rapidly growing their businesses.”

Venture Class 6 winners will all join a robust community of fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, instructors, and top-level support professionals. They will be provided with working space, as well as training and mentoring from nearly 50 highly vetted MIT program-trained mentors, instructors, and staff members, all at no cost. Competition winners will complete a 16-session course of instruction based on Stanford’s Lean LaunchPad curriculum. Classes cover customer development, value proposition, distribution channels, pitching skills, capital raising, and other subjects critical to entrepreneurial success.

Williams and Connor Lynch, COO of Plastridge Insurance, provided opening remarks at the event, and the keynote address was delivered by Robert S. Flippo, co-founder and CEO of MobileHelp. Prior to revealing the incoming members of Venture Class 6, the 19 companies of Venture Class 5 participated in the graduation ceremony, with a select group from that class presenting live pitches, which highlighted their accomplishments.

FAU Tech Runway® is a public-private partnership formed to foster early-stage technology companies, under the purview of FAU’s Division of Research. It also has provided financial support, entrepreneurial education, free workspace, investor introductions, expert mentoring, marketing assistance, student interns, and a close-knit entrepreneurial community for 52 early-stage companies since its launch.

In just three years, FAU Tech Runway companies have generated 298 jobs; 94 internships have been created; 53 FAU students have been employed; 139 corporate partnerships have been created; more than $23 million in revenue has been earned; and as of this July, more than $55 million in investment capital has been raised.

The 2018 Launch Competition sponsors are: TD Bank; Arnold L. & Barbara D. Cohen; Florida Power & Light (NextEra Energy); Chester Foundation; JPMorgan Chase; SunTrust Bank Foundation; Kaufman Rossin; The City of Boca Raton; Bank of America Charitable Foundation; Wells Fargo; Seymour and Estelle Fleisher Foundation; George Elmore Family Foundation and Marti LaTour; David A. Cohen; EagleEye Intelligence; Richard Yules; Hanley Center Foundation; Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith; Scott H. Adams; Steven Fleisher; Aerojet Rocketdyne; Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches; Charla Bernstein; Elaine Abrams; Locke Lord, LLP; LRP Publications; Plastridge Insurance Agency; RedSteel Properties; Robert Sullivan; Shutts & Bowen, LLP; and Sinnott Wolach Technology Group.

For more information on FAU Tech Runway®, visit techrunway.fau.edu.

BY GISELE GALOUSTIAN 

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