Cerebration Takes Top Prize at Rhode Island Business Competition's Elevator Pitch Contest

PROVIDENCE - (December 6, 2019) - The Rhode Island Business Competition's Elevator Pitch Contest drew over 45 presenters on Wednesday night at Venture Café pitching a wide range of business ideas focused on healthcare, food, beauty products, and even laundry to name a few.

Cerebration's Anqi Zhou, a Brown University student, proposed a technology to combat the involuntary muscle dysfunction for those that suffer from Parkinson's disease. Her company has a letter of intent to license a patented technology from Duke University called ExeterPlus. This is a minimally invasive device to eliminate muscle tremor by emitting electrical pulses at certain frequencies to synchronize muscle movement and is easily accessible and manageable for patients.

Second place went to Denise Valenti of Westerly and founder of IMMAD. Currently there are no biologic/breathalyzer or impairment testing for marijuana use. IMMAD's product would test for retinal function which would accurately determine if a driver is too impaired to operate an automobile.

Other winners were:

  • Hadley Witt of RetroCidal Therapies is looking to license a Brown University patented compound that does not focus on targeting what HIV/AIDS is but instead what HIV needs.
  • Joshua Daniel, a Brown University student, pitched Blossom Therapies, a licensed patented technology that aims to ease the anxiety and difficulty of transdermal drug delivery by utilizing a novel touch actuated micropump.
  • Brown University student Karlly Feng, pitched her company, Tint, which is a direct-to-consumer skincare brand that delivers organic and healthy products. The product line, Upgr-aid uses scientifically developed formulas to create a singly skin perfector moisturizer product that will adapt to all skin tones.

"It was wonderful to have such a wide array of presenters who were willing to stand in front of an audience of 100+ strangers to pitch their business idea," said Anthony Mangiarelli, partner at KLR who served as MC for the event. "The presenters as well as the audience learned a lot from the judges who gave thoughtful and constructive feedback on their presentations."

Judging the contest were:

Todd Knapp, CEO, Envision Technology Advisors

Barbara Schoenfeld, Managing Director, Saffron LLC

Karina Wood, Executive Director, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses

Isil Yavuz, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship & Director of the

Entrepreneurship Program at Bryant University.

Sponsors of the 2020 Rhode Island Business Competition

Pillar sponsors are Bryant University, Cox Business, and Everhope Foundation. Other lead sponsors include Envision Technology Advisors, Hinckley Allen, Integrated Media Group, KLR, Sprout Coworking, and Tech Collective.

Also sponsoring is Barlow, Joseph & Holmes, Brown University, Greater Providence Chamber, Social Enterprise Greenhouse, TD Bank, and Center for Women & Enterprise.

Additional sponsors include Bank Rhode Island, Beacon Mutual Insurance Co., Business Development Company, Delta Dental of Rhode Island, Dimeo Construction Company, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at CCRI, Citizens Bank, Navigant Credit Union, Morgan Stanley - Richard Carriere, Teknor Apex, The Washington Trust Co., Cherrystone Angel Group, Fidelity Investments, Hayes & Sherry RE Services, InsureMyTrip, Newport Biodiesel, and Pawtucket Credit Union.

The Rhode Island Business Competition aims to create and foster growth companies in Rhode Island that will increase local employment. This non-profit is supported by a broad range of sponsors that include private businesses, investors, foundations, colleges and universities, public entities, nonprofit organizations, and former competitors. Today, it is the leading community-supported business plan competition in the Northeast. The Competition encourages plans for new businesses, as well as from early stage companies.

The Define Your Business workshop will be held on Wednesday, January 8th from 5:30-7:00 pm at Venture Café at District Hall in Providence.