Venture Connectors has chosen nine semifinalists to compete in the preliminary round of our 10th annual Venture Sharks™ business competition on Wednesday, April 17, at Saints Pizza Pub & SkyBar, 131 Breckinridge Lane. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and pitches begin at 5 p.m. During the event, all nine entrepreneurs will present their business plans to a panel of savvy investor sharks fishing for the next great deal. The field will be narrowed to four finalists, who will then vie for a $5,000 cash prize, one year of startup coaching and thousands of dollars of in-kind services at Venture Connectors’ regular monthly lunch on Wednesday, May 1, at the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. Sixth St.

Venture Connectors received more than 30 applications from entrepreneurs across the region. The Venture Sharks selection committee chose the top ideas for the first round of competition.

The semifinalists are:

  • Concussion Triage, a concussion baseline development tool and telemedicine service
  • Gluconfidence, a convenient source of fast-acting, concentrated glucose for people with diabetes
  • Jensen Dynamics, developer of a mechanical battery for use in solar Installations and backup emergency power generation
  • Kare Mobile Inc., developer of a mobile application that connects patients to dentists and a mobile dental unit that provides concierge-style dental services
  • ParkBot, a near-fully automated automated license plate reader (ALPR) parking enforcement system geared toward universities
  • Pascal Tags LLC, the first completely passive inventory tag allowing for identification without a chip or battery
  • Prodigy Biosciences, rapid tableside food testing device that will specifically detect traces of peanuts in food samples
  • The Read Read, the first device that allows children and adults with visual impairments and blindness to independently learn and practice phonics and braille
  • Stacks Mobile LLC, a social savings app designed to makes short-term saving simple

In both rounds of competition, presenters will be allowed a few minutes to describe their idea to the judges, who then will fire off questions to the presenters in the style of the television show, “Shark Tank.” One lucky survivor will receive a prize package designed to help them take their idea to market.

New to the prize package this year, startup coaching will include one-on-one mentoring from established entrepreneurs and advisors on: strategic planning, product/market fit, software development, marketing and promotion, financial advising and modeling, capital fundraising and legal structuring.

Venture Sharks’ title sponsor is the Vogt Invention & Innovation Fund. Thanks to many generous sponsors over the years, Venture Sharks has awarded more than $100,000 in prizes since it launched in 2010.

RSVPs to the both events are required. The preliminary event on April 17 is $10 for members and guests. The final round on May 1 is free to members and $40 for nonmembers. Doors open at 11:45 a.m., and the meeting runs from noon-1 p.m. Click here to register.