FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 7, 2015) –TriBlue Engineering, a Lexington-based startup that developed an efficient system to clean low-quality natural gas, won first place and a $5,000 prize during the statewide finals of the Kentucky Innovation Network Pitch Competition late last week.
The competition was part of the annual Kentucky Angel Investors Summit, held on Thursday in Louisville.
Joseph Alexander, TriBlue founder and president, explained how his system filters impurities from inferior-quality natural gas. The filtration unit is quicker and more efficient than existing processes, resulting in a less corrosive, hotter and cleaner-burning gas.
The company is currently gathering data from its first system installed at a gas-processing facility. It plans to build and sell additional units to natural gas production companies.
The pitch competition represented the culmination of 11 regional competitions held across the state this year. At the finale event, winners from each region pitched to a panel of investors representing the Kentucky Angel Investors Network.
Second-place winner, Louisville-based Hue Innovations, developed Mi-Color, a machine nail salons can use to custom mix any color of polish or gel polish with environmentally friendly ingredients. By essentially printing precise amounts of polish, salons could drastically reduce their inventories of bottled polish, improve conditions for workers and give customers limitless options to color match dresses, purses, shoes and more.
Company CEO Mimi Pham said the prototype Mi-Color is in final development. She plans to begin beta testing in several salons in the first quarter of 2016.
Third-place winner, Door Force 1, received $2,000. The two-year-old Ashland, Ky. company designed and produces a ratcheting, steel security device that pushes back against a door when an intruder tries to force it open.
Other events of the day-long summit provided information and assistance to both accredited investors and entrepreneurs.
The summit’s keynote speaker, John Huston, a founding member and former chairman of the nationwide Angel Capital Association, discussed how entrepreneurs can best pitch to angels. He also complimented the Kentucky Angel Investment Tax Credit, which provides qualified angels with tax credits for up to 50 percent of investments. That program will start taking applications for 2016 tax credits on Dec. 11.
The pitch competition, which concluded its second year, was sponsored by the Kentucky Innovation Network, the Office of Entrepreneurship within the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the Kentucky Angel Investors Network.
The Angel Investors Network brings new ventures and accredited investors together via monthly online meetings, providing investors access to form deals and partnerships with entrepreneurs statewide. Membership is open to those accredited investors in and outside the state who are passionate about investing in Kentucky companies. To learn more about the group and available tax credits, visit www.kyangels.net.
Consisting of 13 offices throughout the state, the Kentucky Innovation Network offers extensive resources for small and new businesses. Assistance can range from funding initiatives, marketing and sales assistance, small business advocacy and resource referrals, along with a variety of financial and incentive programs to encourage investment and job growth. All services are free. For more information, visit kyinnovation.com.
The Kentucky Innovation Network is an initiative of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s Office of Entrepreneurship. The office works to develop an entrepreneurial climate in Kentucky, provide guidance and support to startups, and assist existing small businesses with growth opportunities.