Three software startups won $15,000 apiece and admittance to the Bounce Innovation Hub’s product development accelerator last week at the third annual FUEL Akron pitch competition.
About 75 people attended Thursday's event at 526 S. Main St., with four teams of aspiring entrepreneurs vying for investment money in a "Shark Tank"-inspired pitch-and-negotiate format with three seasoned entrepreneurs and investors serving as judges.
The winners were:
• Linear Labs, an artificial intelligence technology for market research and consumer insight; it was co-founded by Ted Troxell and Adam Miclot and is based in Cleveland.
• ReqPrep, a digital platform that simplifies and streamlines the ordering process in the diagnostic lab industry; it was founded by Dan Soucek and is based in Sagamore Hills.
• Event Discovery Company, developer of Evitt, a platform that integrates with websites to simplify online calendar management; it was founded by Joe Duncko, Andrew Jarvis and Chris Palmer and is based in Youngstown.
A fourth team, Quanterra Software, co-founded by Mayer Ginsburg and Shoshana Ginsburg and based in Cleveland, was unable to reach an investment agreement but remains in discussion with Bounce for admittance into the accelerator with possible future investment.
This year’s “sharks” were Doug Weintraub, CEO of Bounce; Bill Manby, founder and managing partner of Acquire Investments and CEO of Akron-based Paradigm Equity Strategies; and Jim Zedella, chairman/CEO of Fiducius, formerly ISLoan Solutions.