Event showcases Connecticut entrepreneurs and Innovation Places
ROCKY HILL, Conn., January 22, 2018 – CTNext, Connecticut’s go-to resource for entrepreneurial support, today announced that Verb Energy, a New Haven–based company manufacturing a healthy, caffeinated energy bar, took first place at CTNext’s first Entrepreneur Innovation Award (EIA) All-Stars event on Thursday, January 19, at the College Street Music Hall in New Haven.
Surrounded by an audience of entrepreneurs, mentors and representatives from the Innovation Places communities across the state, Verb Energy was awarded $30,000 for the first prize and an additional $5,000 for winning the crowd favorite selection.
Envirowerks and GestVision each received $15,000 grants for winning the second- and third-place awards at the event.
“The EIA All-Stars event builds on the success and progress that companies have shown since winning the initial grant,” said Jessica Dodge, senior program manager at CTNext. “It was incredible to see the growth that these companies have had over a few short years, and in some cases, months.”
To kick off the event, the Innovation Places Showcase included a keynote from Scott Andes, fellow with the Brookings Institution Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking, followed by a panel that featured the Hartford/East Hartford, New Haven, Thames River and Stamford Innovation Places communities discussing their plans and progress.
“This was an exciting day full of content, pitches and networking,” said Glendowlyn Thames, executive director of CTNext. “We were honored to have Scott Andes from the Brookings Institution share insights into place-based innovation ecosystems and thrilled to see the impressive progress of our EIA portfolio companies. It was clear, listening to the people in the room, that the entrepreneurial community is passionate and motivated to further build on the initial successes we’ve seen in the state.”
The finalists that presented included:
Autobeacon (September 2015 winner): West Hartford–based Autobeacon is creating a comprehensive connected-car solution for teen drivers that helps parents prevent, monitor and modify all common forms of dangerous and distracted teen driving before they lead to an accident.
Envirowerks (July 2014 winner): Based in Hartford, Envirowerks is creating HodPod, a machine to convert a methanol-water mixture to hydrogen, reducing fuel cost and emissions.
GestVision (October 2014 winner): Based in Groton, GestVision is providing physicians with a diagnostic test to aid in the prompt diagnosis of preeclampsia and management of patient care.
Obvia (May 2015 winner): West Hartford–based Obvia is creating a lightweight, dual-winglet blade for small to mid-sized wind turbines that is both energy- and cost-efficient.
Trifecta Ecosystems (July 2014 winner): Based in Meriden, Trifecta Ecosystems is further developing aGrow, a vertical tower aquaponic system that will increase agricultural production.
Verb Energy (February 2017 winner): New Haven–based Verb Energy is manufacturing a healthy, caffeinated energy bar that combines your cup of coffee and an energy bar for less cost.
The EIA is a Shark Tank–style pitch event hosted by CTNext for which Connecticut-based startups and entrepreneurs compete for grants that can be applied toward a specific project that will help accelerate growth. Since launching EIA in 2014, CTNext has held 14 EIA events, awarding a total of $707,000 to 58 unique companies.
CTNext is Connecticut’s go-to resource for entrepreneurial support. 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 more than 2,000 members in its network. To learn more, visit www.ctnext.com.
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