The stakes will be high for early stage firms competing next week in a contest that merges Shark Tank and American Idol-style entertainment.
It all takes place at Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s new West Wing of its TechVentures building at the Mountaintop Campus of Lehigh University in Bethlehem. It is the first public event in the wing.
The organization will once more host Venture Idol, on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Now in its 14th year, the contest offers entrepreneurs the chance to compete for capital to build their early stage firms.
Thirty-five investor judges will select three startup technology entrepreneurs from the eight contestants during an afternoon session prior to the evening event.
The three finalists will present their businesses at Venture Idol. A new panel of accredited investors will comment and deliver short critiques.
With $100 in “Ben Bucks,” guests in the audience will distribute their investment dollars in whole or part among the three finalists. Ben Franklin then will award $15,000 in real money to the companies based on the audience vote.
This year’s competitors are ChannelApe Inc. of Scranton; Ethnic Beauty Store LLC of East Stroudsburg; GiveGab Inc. of Dunmore; Grovara LLC of Ben Franklin TechVentures in Bethlehem; Medtrics Lab LLC of Lewisburg; PlanGuru of Wilkes-Barre; webcemeteries.com of Fleetwood; and Xverity of Ben Franklin TechVentures in Bethlehem.
Investor panelists are James Marciano, Strategic Exit Advisors; Paul Martino, Bullpen Capital; Doug Petillo, Leading Edge Ventures: and Don Yount, Activate Venture Partners.
Kirstie Chadwick, CEO and president of the International Business Innovation Association, is the keynote speaker.
“We are honored to welcome Ms. Chadwick as she presents on the importance of resources and networks to building a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Laura Eppler, chief marketing officer of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania. “Her topic is particularly apropos this year, as we expanded both our incubator, Ben Franklin TechVentures, and the Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network to 15 members.”
Registration is still available. The event is 5:30-9:30 p.m., which includes networking before and after the program.