Congrats to all the teams in our 2018 cohort!
This year's top prize winners are:
Burlington Code Academy
LaunchVT is our annual early stage acceleration program. We accept eight Vermont startups each year for an eight week intensive program that culminates with a pitch competition. Entrepreneurs in the LaunchVT cohort work with a dedicated coach, strategic advisors, and each other to refine their business models and hone their pitches. The pitch competition provides investor exposure and the opportunity to compete for $100,000 in cash and in-kind services. In selecting our cohort and awarding prizes we look for 1. Viability: Quality of the product, business model and team, 2. Scalability: Market opportunity and revenue growth potential, and 3. Impact: Job creation and positive impact on VT
These private networking opportunities connect members of the LaunchVT cohort with the individuals and companies that can help them build their businesses. With time for informal networking and structured conversation, finalists get one-on-one access to one of our greatest community resources - our people. Our Office Hours events also allow members of the cohort to offer feedback and assistance to each other, an invaluable element of the program.
Members of the cohort are assigned a dedicated coach with industry specific skill-sets. Coaches review their team's business plan and pitch, and help them prepare their presentation. Coaches also provide detailed feedback and strategic advice to help their team prepare a polished Launch Report for applying to other accelerators and investment opportunities.
At the pitch competition, teams will have the opportunity to pitch their businesses to local and regional investors, and the top two teams are awarded cash prizes from LaunchVT.
1st place - $30,000 in cash & up to $30,00 in in-kind services
2nd place - $15,000 in cash & up to $20,000 in in-kind services
In addition to the suite of services that the 1st and 2nd place winners receive, the rest of the cohort will also have access to a range of in-kind services from local businesses. Click the link below to check out all of the amazing in-kind service providers supporting our entrepreneurs!
Laury Saligman’s career has focused on conservation, from renewable energy, to forestland management, and most recently to investing in companies solving environmental problems. She is an active investor with Investors’ Circle, Branch Venture Group, and Next Wave Ventures. In addition, she is helping to form the Vermont Women’s Investor Network (WIN), aimed at closing the gender gap in early-stage finance. Laury has worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Conservation International, Ethical Marketplace, a renewable energy start-up, and a web-based company focused on indoor environmental quality, which she created and sold. In 2006, she and her husband started Conservation Collaboratives to invest in forestland and develop new models for conservation finance, including payments for ecosystem services. The company owns and manages over 1,000 acres of forestland in northeastern Vermont and built the Victory Hill mountain bike area. Laury serves on the Board of Directors of Burlington-based Packetized Energy as well as the National Museum of American Jewish History. She holds an MBA, focused on sustainability, from UVM; an MS in Environmental Health Sciences from Harvard; and a BS in Physics from Georgetown.
Mike grew up in the small town of Georgia, just north of Burlington, VT. He has worked in the tech industry his entire career, and loves being an entrepreneur and starting up companies. In 1998, he and four others started Dealer.com, a digital marketing company focused on the automotive industry. Dealer.com was the first in its industry to bring digital marketing solutions to the automotive sector for OEMs, large dealer groups, and independent groups. Mike served as the COO for 16 years, and during that time the team grew the company to more than 7,000 clients, 850 employees, and exceeded revenues of $230mm. The founding team successfully sold the company for over $1.1B in 2013 to publicly traded Dealertrack.
Mike is currently the CEO of Fluency, based in Burlington. He formed the privately-funded company with three others, and the company provides a business-to-business digital advertising platform whose clients are industry-focused digital marketing companies.
Aaron is Managing Director and leads east coast equity and venture lending efforts for TriplePoint Capital, a venture financing company that provides growth capital to technology, tech services and healthcare IT companies. Prior to joining TriplePoint in 2014, Aaron spent 10 years, first as a Principal then as a Partner, at Lighthouse Capital Partners, a venture lending firm based in Cambridge, MA and Menlo Park, CA. Previous to Lighthouse, Aaron worked at GrandBanks Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund in Boston, where he was Board observer and spent considerable time doing strategy and business development work with a couple portfolio companies, including WHERE (acquired by eBay). From 1999-2002, Aaron was an investment banker, doing M&A and corporate finance at Robertson Stephens. Aaron graduated from Middlebury College in 1999. He lives in Shelburne.