The Launch Place’s Annual Big Launch Challenge Picks A Winner In RTP

Will Baird (left) and Wilmington-based Boreas Monitoring Solutions took home first prize and $10K at yesterday's Big Launch Challenge in RTP. Lauren McCullough of Chapel Hill-based Tromml won second place and its $5K award.

Wilmington-based startup Boreas Monitoring Solutions took home top honors—and a check for $10,000—at yesterday’s 11th annual Big Launch Challenge in RTP. Chapel Hill-based Tromml won second place and a $5K prize.

A total of 10 startups (six of them from the Triangle) competed in the contest in front of a panel of judges who represented multiple investor groups from across the nation. The pitch contest is a signature annual event held by The Launch Place (TLP), a VC investor is based in Danville, Va., with a second office in RTP. Over the last 10 years, TLP has awarded over $180,000 to 19 companies as part of the Big Launch Challenge. (We previously hosted TLP’s CEO and President Eva Doss on The Friday Nooner.)

The finalists were given eight minutes to tell their story, followed by a five-minute question and answer session with the judges, some of whom represent angel investment firms. 

Boreas Monitoring CEO Will Baird pitched his startup’s innovative tech to safeguard irreplaceable biological materials; think embryos or sperm. The company’s patented, weight-based monitoring system offers a safe and reliable alternative to antiquated systems used in labs today.

Co-Founder Lauren McCullough—a speaker at this June’s Grep-a-palooza 2—took the stage for Tromml, which helps sellers in the automotive parts ecommerce space operate more efficiently and profitably. We first profiled the startup last December.

The other startups who competed last night included:

  • Acta Solutions is a Chapel Hill-based SaaS platform that helps local government to streamline constituent responses faster and coordinate better communication among staff members. (We previously wrote a profile on them in August 2019 and they were one of GrepBeat’s Startups To Watch 2022 honorees.)
  • Agricision, Inc. is a Virginia-based agtech startup that uses state-of-the-art edge computing and autonomous systems to deliver early and accurate pest detection in order to help farmers attack invasive pests before major infestations that lead to crop and profit loss. 
  • Bristles AI is a Durham-based, AI-powered software designed to build creativity-enabling products using the insights of artificial intelligence to deliver visual ideas. Their mobile app is the ultimate Photoshop-esque solution for designing a home, allowing users to virtually place eclectic pieces in their space simply by taking pictures of what they want to add. (GrepBeat featured them in November 2022 and hosted Co-Founder and CEO Tina Tang on The Friday Nooner.) 
  • Cosmic Eats, Inc. is a Cary-based startup that offers an all-in-one food solution system that delivers a delicious and high nutrition food supply with low disruption risk for military, humanitarian and space uses.
  • DNAli is a biotech company that provides DNA-based solutions toward serving not only scientific research, but also the overall archival data storage market, where customers will be able to upload their data to a platform that houses DNA strands with all their information. (We previously featured the Raleigh-based startup in a June 2022 article.)
  • Jigsawdio is a Raleigh-based multi-sensory engagement device designed to help people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia to engage with meaningful aspects of their lives. Their platform allows users to play Jigsawdio’s collection of physical personalized jigsaw puzzles that are accompanied by recordings or songs associated with the jigsaw piece.
  • SportScale is a Greenville-based biotechnology research company that develops their weight scale product and web application, which automates the process of monitoring the weights and other body health data of high school to collegiate athletes.
  • Three Strands Recovery Wear is a Winston Salem-based recovery garment company dedicated to offering comfort and improving patients’ post-surgical recoveries with their product, the Resilience Bra, and additional loungewear garments. 

TLP also partners with the Angel Capital Association (ACA) Angel University to connect angel investors and entrepreneurs to learn, share and network.

The Big Launch Challenge was part of an all-day event that kicked off with the Ann and Bill Payne ACA Angel University workshop courses, which provide powerful insights and actionable strategies to make angel investments and startups more successful.

About Kaitlyn Dang 50 Articles
Kaitlyn is a reporter covering tech startups and entrepreneurs. Before starting at GrepBeat, she graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in media and journalism in May 2023. She has written for The Daily Tar Heel. In her spare time, she likes going to concerts and going on nature walks.