In the heart of Pennsylvania’s innovation ecosystem, a virtual pitch event held on Tuesday, September 12, 2023, marked a defining moment for seven entrepreneurial teams. Hosted by Ben Franklin Technology Partners, in collaboration with Invent Penn State, the TechCelerator Startup Boot Camp showcased the entrepreneurial spirit of these teams as they unveiled their groundbreaking business ideas in hopes of securing $15,000 in funding for their startup.
KiposTech Triumphs with a Breath of Fresh Air
The top honor, a grand prize of $10,000, was awarded to KiposTech, founded by Hema Ravindran and Raj Singh from Lancaster County. KiposTech is not just a startup; it’s a breath of fresh air. Their pioneering approach harnesses non-thermal plasma technology to combat indoor air pollution, with a particular focus on healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Through patent-pending disinfection systems, KiposTech is on a mission to revolutionize indoor air quality, breaking the chain of infection one breath at a time.
“[The TechCelerator] has been an incredible journey, and much of our growth and progress is thanks to the support and guidance,” shared Hema, co-founder of KiposTech. “The classes and coaching sessions have not only enriched my knowledge but have also given me countless memorable moments.”
Lightscline Shines Bright in Second Place
Claiming the second-place prize of $5,000 was Lightscline, the brainchild of Ankur Verma and Ayush Goyal, hailing from Centre County. Lightscline is shedding light on a major industry challenge, reducing sensor data analytics costs by up to 90%. Their innovative approach targets B2B companies reliant on sensor data, effectively streamlining data infrastructure and human capital expenses.
While KiposTech and Lightscline emerged victorious, the journey of innovation continued for the other entrepreneurial teams who participated in the TechCelerator:
North Country Gear Works (Dustin Coles, McKean County): North Country Gear Works manufactures high-quality and versatile outdoor equipment for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation for outdoorsmen and women in the East and Midwest.
Lehr Labs (Evan Lehr, York County): Lehr Labs is designing and building a high-temperature, high-performance FDM 3D printer that can process almost all available 3D printing materials at larger size formats more efficiently and cost-effectively for manufacturers.
Hoffman Appalachian Farm (Joshua Brock, Elk County): Hoffman Appalachian Farms is expanding their existing hops operations, adding small grains, hemp and other crops to diversify and is building working partnerships with local breweries and PA Wilds marketing efforts to establish the region as an Agritourist destination.
Allegro Learning Solutions (Joel Kline & Shaun Donovan, Dauphin County): Allegro Learning Solutions is building a workforce platform that engages and matches pools of unqualified employee candidates with the programs and training to become qualified employees for medium – large size employers.
Dolphin Studios (Drew Piispanen, Dauphin County): Dolphin Studios is a chatbot consulting firm, specializing in knowledge-based chatbots through contextual learning for businesses to improve the overall customer service experience by providing targeted information – more efficiently. The company chatbot plugin would be useable for three primary ecommerce platforms – shopify, woocommerce and Magento 2.
Drew Piispanen, founder of Dolphin Studios, expressed his gratitude, saying, “Thanks for all your support these past weeks in helping me build up a business model. Although I didn’t claim victory, I feel more confident to be able to succeed in the future – and I couldn’t have done it without [the TechCelerator’s] help. Ben Franklin is a much-needed resource for this area, and I’m happy that it exists the way it does.”