Judges for this year's
competition plowed through 301 entries for new company and product ideas to award $80,000 in prizes to 10 Greater Cincinnati entrepreneurs.
The First Place winner was Jocelyn Cates, of Burlington, Ky., who created an online event venue booking website application called Venue Agent
. Cates won a $25,000 prize. Soapbox profiled
Venue Agent in a recent issue as a Featured Growth Company.
Cates explained the company this way: “Many brides don't know that booking on a Thursday or Friday could save them 50% on their venue - and many venues have a tough time selling off-season dates. VenueAgent is like the Hotels.com of event venues."
Cates said the funding will help fund a site redesign and formal public launch.
"We have much work to do in order to get ready for a formal launch to the public. We will use the money and the mentorship from CincyTech to gear the site to be even more of a venue "deal" website, offering venues the opportunity to fill vacancies at their facility while making it possible for brides and event planners take advantage of great savings," she said.
The second place winner was Mason resident Suprasanna Mishra, of Mason, who created the Facebook application "ConcertEverytime." The app, which also has a downloadable counterpart, crawls your electronic music library (ex. iTunes) finding your favorite bands based on playlists and other factors. The app then geolocates those bands and find concert dates for your favorite artists.
"I'll be using the grant from Cincytech to develop and brand both the downloadable application as well as the online facebook counterpart. It'll help take ConcertEverytime from concept to completion and basically act as the founding seed money for my idea," Mishra said.
The awards were announced Sept. 22 at the Underground Railroad Freedom Center along the Cincinnati riverfront. The second annual competition was open to anyone now or originally from the 15-county area of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana. It had a broad reach and included innovative products, devices, business processes and more. The top prize of $25,000 was sponsored by CincyTech
The contest's aim is to identify and support a wide diversity of high-potential entrepreneurs. Nearly 34 percent of entrants were women, and 17 self-identified ethnic groups were represented.
"We've been very pleased with the kinds of participants Cincinnati Innovates is attracting. We are looking for strong startups in which to invest, and we’ve seen many good ideas coming out of this competition," Said Bob Coy, president of CincyTech.
The other award winners were:
Northern Kentucky Commercialization Award: $10,000. Winner: Alex Frommeyer, Alex Curry, Daniel Dykes, and Joseph Schab, all Northern Kentucky residents, Intellidontic Endodontic File - a safer endodontic file that protects patients from nerve damage during root canals.
(Award sponsored by Northern Kentucky eZone, Vision 2015, Northern Kentucky Tri-Ed, and bioLogic)
Legal & Patent Awards sponsored by Taft Law Firm
First Prize, $10,000: Winner: Amit Bhattacharya and David Ralph, OsteoDynamics - a device that enables painless and non-invasive diagnosis of osteoporosis.
Second Prize, $5,000: Winner: Georg Weber, MetaMol Marker for Breast Cancer Aggressiveness - diagnostic tools to predict whether a breast tumor will spread.
LPK Design and Branding Award: $10,000 (applied toward design and branding, sponsored by LPK)
Winner: Sally Pipkin, Patients at Play -- Clothing and IV covers designed to put a smile on parents and kids faces in the hospital - and safely secure needle sites for young patients undergoing treatment.
CoStrategix Web Development Award: $5,000 (applied toward web application, sponsored by CoStrategix)
Winner: Darcy Crociata, FunBooks - an app that lets you grab status updates, comments and photos from Facebook and click them into a hardcover snapshot of your life stream.
Cooney, Faulkner & Stevens Get Started Award: $2,500 (applied toward business accounting and advisory, sponsored by Cooney, Faulkner & Stevens)
Winner: Keara Schwartz, ShareSomeSugar -- an eBorrowing community where you can find someone in your neighborhood or social network who is willing to lend you something that you need.
HYPE! Community Choice Award: $2,000
Winner: Dan Calhoun, of Northern Kentucky, RooRoo - In-flight games for airline passengers.
Student Innovator Award: $1,000
Winner: Carly Hagins, Compostable Portable Restroom -- a greener alternative to current porta-potty designs.
Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: Elizabeth Edwards, Cincinnati Innovates founder
You can follow Feoshia on twitter @feoshiawrites