WYOMISSING, Pa. — Berks LaunchBox powered by Penn State recently announced the winners of its Idea TestLab accelerator pitch competition. CataPalloVR earned first place with Natural Skincare taking second place. Multi-Pet Feeding Station and Don’t Quit Branding tied for third place.
The competition started with six selected startups that received coaching to test their business ideas through customer discovery. The entrepreneurs met with potential customers, identified their target audience and value proposition, and created pitches. The program concluded with the pitch competition where teams competed for seed funding to continue their business development.
CataPalloVR, a web-based learning modules program that helps address service gaps for young adults with autism started by Kryn McClain, received $500 in seed funding. Second place Natural Skincare, a skincare line made from ethically sourced beeswax and plant-based ingredients started by Porsche Davis-Taylor, received $300 seed funding.
Multi-Pet Feeding Station, an adjustable pet feeding station startup started by Joe Strauss, and Don’t Quit Branding, a visual branding company focused on helping small urban businesses, started by Theron Cook, each received $100 in seed funding.
Competition judges included Erika Swift, operations director for Penn State’s College of Medicine’s Center for Medical Innovation, Jobany Bedoya, owner of Diversity Mixers and Red Tie Affairs, LLC., and Adrean Turner, author, coach, and adjunct professor of business at Alvernia and Widener Universities.
About Berks LaunchBox
The mission of Berks LaunchBox, located in Suite 105 of the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in downtown Reading, is to support economic development and entrepreneurship. An innovation hub of Penn State Berks, Berks LaunchBox connects local entrepreneurs to the support, resources, and facilities that they need to build sustainable and scalable businesses with a viable plan for growth. Services include assistance with prototyping, conducting market research, and connecting with advisers. Berks LaunchBox offers entrepreneurship workshops, coworking space for startups, Meetups focused on business development, a makerspace with 3D printers for prototyping and special youth programs.
Berks LaunchBox is supported by Invent Penn State — a commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student success, launched by Penn State President Eric J. Barron in 2016. For more information, visit berkslaunchbox.psu.edu or contact Erica Kunkel, Berks LaunchBox director, at 610-396-6221 or via email at [email protected].