Startup Companies Battle It Out for $100,000

In July 2017, AOL Founder Steve Case announced he would bring his entrepreneurial competition, Rise of the Rest, to five new locations — including Central Pennsylvania. Entrepreneurs interested in pitching their idea for a $100,000 investment submitted their applications in August, and nine finalists were selected.

On Oct. 10, the first stop on the Rise of the Rest 6.0 bus tour will be in Harrisburg, Lancaster, and York. Throughout the day, the tour will visit the fastest-growing startups in each city, hear directly from innovators, and spend time learning from local policy and business leaders. At the end of the day, Steve Case and Penn State University President Eric Barron will come together to kick off the Central PA Rise of the Rest competition with a discussion on the region’s startup economy. A panel of all-star judges, including Steve Case, will hear from each of the finalists profiled below and pick a winner to receive the $100,000 investment. Good luck to all of our Central PA finalists!

  1. Augean Robotics (Phoenixville)

    Augean Robotics logo

    Augean Robotics created a robotic cart called Burro that follows operators and can carry cargo without a remote. CEO Charles Andersen created the patent-pending prototype with farmers in mind, as Burro can carry 300-450 pounds over a variety of terrains and record and retrace paths — acting like a virtual conveyor belt.

  2. BeneFix (Lancaster)

    BeneFix logo

    Lancaster native Matthew Ranauro ran into issues updating his health insurance policy after switching jobs. In April 2016, Ranauro created BeneFix to make health insurance quoting efficient, simple, and effective through helpful software. It can manage thousands of health insurance plans across all major carriers and devices for insurance quotes. Benefix received state funding through the Ben Franklin Technology Partners.

  3. CRIMEWATCH Technologies (Carlisle)

    CRIMEWATCH Technologies logo

    Created by Matthew Bloom, CRIMEWATCH uses modern-day technology to help local, county, and state police departments keep communities safe. The software organizes and collectively distributes crime data to the public and media using its controlled content delivery technology. CRIMEWATCH is actively deployed throughout Pennsylvania with more than 40,000 mobile users, 225,000 connected social media users, and over 5 million annual unique web visitors. It is backed by the Ben Franklin Technology Partnership and the financial support of subscribed members. CRIMEWATCH Technologies also received funding through the Keystone Innovation Zone program.

  4. Device Events (York)

    Device Events logo

    Device Events is a cloud-based software that compiles and provides FDA regulation information on medical devices. Health care organizations, and the organizations that support them, can use the Device Events system to quickly identify and track problem devices and understand the history, quantity, and severity of related adverse events. CEO Madris Tomes will pitch the service, which supplies comprehensive, up-to-date information to ultimately ensure patient safety and reduce risk.

  5. Fizika Group LLC (Lancaster)

    Fizika Group LLC logo

    Started by Martha Harris, Fizika created innovative programs designed to keep learners physically active with the objective of lowering the risk of developing dementia, in addition to promoting heart health. Fizika’s programs enhance brain health throughout a person’s lifespan, and include technical assistance for educators to ensure programs start with youth, as active children have more active brains.

  6. INTAG Systems (Harrisburg)

    INTAG Systems logo

    INTAG Systems (Integrated Agriculture Systems) uses aquaponics technology to replicate processes found in nature to convert waste into ultra-high-quality and low-cost plant fertilizer that will help plants grow without pesticides. The patent-pending process will give off zero emissions and allow anyone to grow food locally. Co-founder and president Ian Kanski will pitch INTAG for the competition.

  7. Project TEAM (State College)

    Project TEAM logo

    Project TEAM’s TEAMology educational web platform helps educators create a positive school environment to help motivate young students to succeed by developing six key foundational life skills — helping others, positive change, anti-bullying, problem solving, resiliency, and leadership. CEO Linsey Covert is also an instructor at Penn State University’s College of Education, where she partners with the university to evolve TEAMology. The company was also the recipient of state funding through the Ben Franklin Technology Partners.

  8. Schedule Engine (Lancaster)

    Schedule Engine logo

    When co-founder and CEO Austin Haller created Schedule Engine, he had the modern customer in mind. The sleek mobile app allows users to find, learn, and schedule appointments with qualified home services contractors and technicians — all with just a few taps on their phone. Behind the scenes, the cloud-based scheduling system picks qualified available technicians, optimizing selection-based proximity to other jobs, saving home service providers driving time and money.

  9. TurnoutNow (Lancaster)

    TurnoutNow logo

    Company CEO Harpreet Chatha will pitch TurnoutNow’s high-resolution data and predictive analysis tools for the event industry. The cutting-edge, wearable beacons provide behavioral data in real-time to help hosts create memorable and successful events for attendees. They will capture a three-dimensional view of the event and extract actionable insights from the data. The insights are then presented through intuitive, web-based dashboards, and user interfaces for event organizers, exhibitors, and attendees.

Rise of the Rest is also kicking off a friendly challenge among the 26 cities that have previously hosted the competition. The 6.0 tour will bring the competition back to a repeat city, which could be Pittsburgh or Philadelphia. Voting for the next round of Rise of the Rest cities is open until October 12. Let’s #BringBackTheBus to Pennsylvania in 2018!

To stay up-to-date with the pitch competition, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, where we will be posting live from the event using the hashtag #CentralPARises!


UPDATE – 10/10/17

A York County businesswoman who created a software tool that identifies problems with medical devices rose above all of the others in “Rise of the Rest.” Madris Tomes founder and CEO of Device Events LLC, was chosen from among nine entrepreneurs vying for a $100,000 investment from investor, Steve Case, a co-founder of AOL.

Secretary Dennis Davin
Dennis M. Davin was appointed to serve as Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development in January 2015 by Governor Tom Wolf. Prior to his appointment, Secretary Davin served for more than a decade as Director of the Allegheny County Department of Economic Development (ACED), where he was responsible for establishing and executing the economic development strategy for Allegheny County.
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