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Startups win big at annual Venture Challenge

technologyWinners of the sixth annual Innovate Mississippi New Venture Challenge competition have been announced.

Mississippi innovators and technology entrepreneurs from more than 40 companies competed on May 21 to promote their various business plans.

Participants from start-up or existing companies pitched their plans to a special panel of Mississippi’s top entrepreneurs and investors.

Cash prizes and in-kind services from attorneys, accountants and web designers were awarded to the winning teams to help grow their business.

“More than 150 participants were able to see nearly 50 companies pitch some of the greatest new opportunities in innovation and technology our state has ever seen,” said Tony Jeff, president and CEO of Innovate Mississippi. “I have no doubt that several of these companies will be household names in the near future.”

With an unprecedented number of participants this year, the competition featured two competing pre-revenue categories and a student category. Commercial stage companies presented during a showcase at the end of the competition.

In the first pre-revenue category, first place went to Kopis Mobile, LLC, of Flowood, a company that builds rugged and secure digital tools and wireless accessories for global warfighters and law enforcement. Second place went to MedPix, LLC, of Jackson, which builds software for computer-aided detection, analysis and remote transmission of medical images in different imaging modalities. Third place was awarded to Pushlocal, of Natchez, a web and mobile platform that allows businesses and organizations the immediacy to push information, events, deals and specials to their customers’ mobile devices.

In the second pre-revenue category, first place was awarded to Thermally Targeted Therapeutics, of Ridgeland, which works to eliminate side effects of therapeutic approaches for cancer by using a thermally responsive polypeptide. Second place was awarded to FMD Organizers, LLC, of Clinton, a company that designs organizational systems and products for school lockers. S.P.A.R.K., LLC, of Ocean Springs, received third place with their creation, BabyBedside, a 3-N-1 diaper changing station for the home and on the go that also transforms into a diaper bag.

First place winner in the student division was Nimbus Mobile, LLC, of Starkville, a company that has created a more seamless application and web experience for managers, employees and customers through their intuitive software for service providers. Second place was awarded to Sensei Mobile, LLC, of Starkville, which designed a mobile app that allows anonymous, one-to-one conversations with people in the user’s local community via mobile devices. Third place was awarded to the Mississippi Center for Molecular Excellence, of Oxford, a genetics lab combining next-generation sequencing and the Compendia database and analytics, which is the largest repository of cancer patient data.

Competitors were screened prior to the event and once chosen, each team was placed with a mentor who assisted in preparation for the competition. Mentors were matched with companies based on their areas of expertise and experience and included angel investors, Venture Coaching Academy fellows and industry experts.

“Many of the presenting companies are already raising money and pitching to Angel Investors,” said Tasha Bibb, entrepreneurial development manager for Innovate Mississippi. “We were watching firsthand the cream of the crop when it comes to new businesses!”

“As the biggest and best event yet, we can’t wait to work with each of the presenters to get them the connections, plans and funding they need to move forward,” added Jeff.

Source: Innovate Mississippi


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