Twelve competing startups were awarded a total of $150,000 in prize money at a vibrant VVM Accelerator Awards ceremony held on Thursday, May 25th at the Mass Mutual Center in downtown Springfield, MA. About 600 people attended.
Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) Accelerator Program is an annual four-month intensive boot camp that prepares high-potential startups for serious growth. In its third year, this year’s cohort of 36 teams was selected from hundreds of applicants from around the world. The startups were 67% female-lead and 53% minority-lead.
At the close of the boot camp, the 36 startups self-selected 12 finalists following a high-stakes pitch contest. On May 25th, a cadre of angel investors and venture capitalists from throughout Western Massachusetts, Greater Boston, New York, Washington DC, and as far away as Atlanta, Georgia heard the finalists’ pitches and determined who got how much of the $150,000.
Following is a full list of VVM Accelerator winners and how much they were awarded:
- Genoverde Biosciences, Incorporated: Engineering trees with increased CO2 (carbon dioxide) capture capabilities to combat global climate change. $25,000
- New England Breath Technologies: Pain-Free Diabetic Monitoring; Just a Breath Away $25,000
- MEANS Database: Waste less, feed more. Nonprofit tech devoted to business-friendly food recovery. $22,500
- Ernest Pharmaceuticals: Programmed bacteria to treat metastatic breast cancer $12,500
- M1 Tapes: The M1 SmartScribe is the best tape measure in the world. Measure and mark 3X faster, no pencil needed! $12,500
- Kwema: Building Safer communities through quick response technology $10,000
- Lumme: Cracking the code to beat addictive behavior $10,000
- Streamliners: Streamliners sells aerodynamic devices to the trucking industry, saving $4,000/truck per year in fuel costs, paying for itself in 3 months. $10,000
- Nonspec: Delivering low cost, adjustable, and durable prosthetic limbs to the world. $7,500
- Barakat Bundle: A non-profit providing life saving bundles to mothers and newborns in South Asia $5,000
- ProjectMQ: Search less. Play more. Discover video games you’ll love at ProjectMQ, a new hope for indie games. $5,000
- RecordME: RecordME makes musicians, speakers, & venues more money by providing studio quality recordings & distribution with our proprietary hardware! $5,000
But prize money is just the beginning. These winning teams have the know-how and connections to take their businesses to the next level. VVM’s startups have generated over of $19 million in revenue and investments and hired 840 employees, of that, $9.25 million in revenue and investments have been in the Pioneer Valley. According to Silva, “The quality, depth and diversity of our participants and the industries they represent bode well for the future of opportunity in Springfield and throughout the region.”
Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) is building, supporting and maintaining a community. By nurturing startups, VVM impacts the employees they hire, the customers they serve, and the neighborhoods they revitalize. Everyone involved—VVM, startups, the mentors who guide them and the community—can give, get and grow.