CTNext Awards $54K to Connecticut-based Companies at Shark Tank-Style Pitch Event

Nearly $400k awarded to 39 unique Connecticut companies through Entrepreneur Innovation Awards since 2014

Rocky Hill, Conn., Jan. 27, 2016 – CTNext, Connecticut’s innovation ecosystem managed by Connecticut Innovations, today announced the award winners of the most recent Entrepreneur Innovation Awards (EIA), which were held on Thursday, Jan. 21, at The Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport, Conn.

The finalists, who are Connecticut-based companies and entrepreneurs, presented their innovative project ideas at a Shark Tank-style event for an opportunity to secure $10,000 awards. Winners included:

  • Asarasi, Inc. (Cos Cob): Developing a proprietary manufacturing process for allowing biological plant-based water to go to market with an indefinite shelf life in a glass container.
  • Freedible, Inc. (Darien): Developing a social marketplace for eaters with dietary restrictions and the bloggers and brands that feed them.
  • OuttaVue LLC (Old Lyme): Creating the OuttaVue Shield, a new product designed to rapidly block the view of a hostile intruder into a classroom.
  • Shoplandia, Inc. (Stamford): Enabling and empowering shoppers to instantly purchase direct-from-video, using the first end-to-end shoppable video creation and streaming platform for mobile devices.
  • *The TubieGuard LLC (South Windsor): Creating a medial bracket that protects feeding tubes, catheters and other medical ports from accidentally disconnecting.

The other finalists that were selected by an outside review committee and presented at the event included:

  • *Aeolian Kitesurfing LLC (New Haven): Combining an electric inflator with a dual-action hand pump to make a lighter, cheaper and more dependable portable compressor.
  • Agrivolution LLC (South Windsor): Redesigning a vertical green growing system to be installed in K-12 schools in Connecticut, promoting hands-on STEM-based education.
  • FRESH Farm Aquaponics (South Glastonbury): Working toward a minimum viable product (MVP) for the aGrow2, a vertical growing tower designed to increase the agricultural production using aquaponic technology.
  • MoVi Interactive (Hamden): Refining Fitness Faceoff, an engagement and marketing platform collecting fitness-based data while allowing the users to compete against each other.
  • RepVisits (Wethersfield): Building an Application Program Interface (API) to increase access to higher education by connecting school counselors and college representatives.

*The judges’ favorite ($2,000) went to The TubieGuard LLC and the crowd favorite ($2,000) was awarded to Aeolian Kitesurfing LLC.

“This Entrepreneur Innovation Awards event attracted members of the entrepreneurial community from all over the state and The Bijou Theatre delivered a positive atmosphere full of energy and charisma,” said Glendowlyn Thames, director of Small Business Innovation (SBI) and CTNext. “This program has provided project funding to almost 40 companies in Connecticut since launching in 2014 and we look forward to adding to that list this year.”

To be eligible for an EIA, startups must be Connecticut-based, registered as CTNext members, and looking to conduct growth-related activities to help advance their business. Project examples include but are not limited to prototyping, performance testing, compliance testing, product or service development, market research, licensing, and more. A full list of criteria can be found on the application page. For more information on how to apply for an EIA, visit

CTNext has awarded nearly $400,000 to 39 companies and entrepreneurs through the EIA–which began in February 2014.

CTNext was established by Governor Malloy and private-sector leaders in the 2011 Connecticut Jobs Bill to support the state’s most promising entrepreneurs and startup companies.

About Connecticut Innovations Inc.
Connecticut Innovations (CI) is the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies. To maximize the growth potential of each business, CI tailors its solutions and often combines its funds with resources from other financial leaders to provide venture capital and strategic support for early-stage technology companies; grants that support innovation and collaboration; and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. For more information on CI, please visit

About CTNext
CTNext is Connecticut’s innovation ecosystem. The goal of the program is to build a more robust community of entrepreneurs and to accelerate startup growth by providing access to talent, space, industry expertise, services, skill development, and capital to foster innovation and create jobs for people in Connecticut. CTNext launched in 2012 and has worked with more than 800 companies.

Lauren Carmody
Connecticut Innovations


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