After going through a rigorous application process, three companies survived and will be presenting at this year's capstone event. The Cherokee Challenge Finale serves as a place for each year's class to showcase their entrepreneurial work to the public, potential investors, and the tech community at large.
The accelerator's finale event will also be the conclusion to Triangle Entrepreneurship Week.
JT Vaughn, one of the main organizers and brains behind the Cherokee Challenge Accelerator itself told me that "This year's ventures have really close ties to the local community and big local universities and are addressing big ticket issues with interesting solutions."
Speaking of the ventures, the 3 finalists presenting this year are:
BiomasonA startup led by Ginger Dosier, a formally trained architect who meets a manufacturing and environmental need through innovative use of material science. Through a combination of a unique chemical process coupled with using micro-organisms, Ginger created an environmentally friendly architectural dream: a naturally grown brick and building process.
Almost immediately after the finale, Ginger and her team will be presenting to a panel of judges including Richard Branson at the Post Code Lottery, an annual worldwide competition for sustainable entrepreneurs. She is up against four others in Amsterdam for a prize of 500,000 Euros.
HomeWellnessTriangle locals Colby Swanson and Eric Calhoun worked together to create a platform for corporations to offset carbon emissions by incentivizing their employees to make positive changes in their home energy efficiency.
HomeWellness, who is also a Startup Factory startup, helps employees to find the best local contractors for energy upgrades, helps users capitalize on financing and tax credits for financial ease, and helps target appropriate consumer and product information.
HomeWellness will be served through a comprehensive web based platform.
PlatinixPlatinix is a spinoff out of North Carolina State University, rising out of a professor's alternative solution to platinum as a catalyst in hydrogen production. Platinum is currently the main catalyst in the production of hydrogen, and is a big barrier to entry due to its prohibitive cost and scarcity.
Linyou Cao's catalyst serves the same purpose as platinum and at a fraction of the cost, a potential revolution in the production of hydrogen. Through the Cherokee Challenge, they were able to file a non-provisional patent and are competing in the CleanTech Open this year.
The Cherokee Challenge provides selected ventures with $20,000 in seed funding and a wide array of resources and advice from local and national entrepreneurs, investors, and related assets. In return they get a 3%, 6%, or 9% equity stake in the company, based on their stage of growth.
The Finale will be attended by last year's Cherokee Challenge Class and several hundred of the local tech and entrepreneurship scene. William McDonough, a notable leader in sustainability and environmental change, will be the keynote speaker.
If you're interested in attending, the Finale is September 12th at 6:30 P.M. at Marbles, and you can register here.