Charlotte Venture Challenge

What is the Charlotte Venture Challenge (CVC)?

The 2018 Charlotte Venture Challenge will focus on Ventureprise Launch participants and showcase these innovation based ventures from the Charlotte community and UNC Charlotte researchers and students. The event will feature a keynote by NC IDEA FOUNDATION President & CEO Thom Ruhe, followed by a panel of local startups that have received foundation funding. A reception will follow where participating ventures will showcase their innovations.


May 1, 2018  UNC Charlotte Center City (320 E. 9th St. Charlotte, NC 28202)


Read more about our finalists here


4:00-4:15pm         Welcome

4:15-5:15pm         Pitches and Panel Presentations  (For details on finalists, click here)

UNC Charlotte Pitch Competition

 3 student finalists from 49er iChallenge will pitch their innovation

UNC Charlotte Research and Innovation

68 teams (42 faculty and 107 students) have participated in the Ventureprise Launch NSF I-Corps program since 2015 and raised $1.8M in additional funding. This panel will highlight university research and innovation. 

Community Entrepreneur Innovations

Since inception in 2017, the Ventureprise Launch NC IDEA program has served 31 local companies. Over 25 of these companies are active, collectively raising $3.2M. 

5:15-5:45               Thom Ruhe, Keynote Speaker

Thom Ruhe is President & CEO of NC IDEA FOUNDATION. Thom is an entrepreneur, investor, mentor and works with entrepreneurs, governments, universities and NGOs around the world to embrace the entrepreneurial mindset needed to grow vibrant economies. Prior to joining NC IDEA in 2016, he spent seven years directing the Kauffman Foundation’s programs addressing entrepreneurial education, mentoring, access to capital and fostering entrepreneurial ecosystems. Thom also led Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation, a school dedicated to advancing community deployed experiential-based entrepreneurial education.

5:45-6:15pm         Panel: Charlotte Entrepreneurial Scene; Funding, Resources and Lessons Learned

Lisa Ganderson, The Wed Clique, 2017 NC IDEA Seed Grant Winner

Rob Cummings, DealCloud, Inc., 2012 NC IDEA Seed Grant Winner, 2012 CVC Winner

Ivan Howitt, InfoSense, Inc., 2011 NC IDEA Seed Grant Winner, 2012 CVC Winner

6:15-6:30pm             Winners Announced

                                   Closing Remarks: Robert Wilhelm, Vice Chancellor, Research and Economic Development

6:30-8:00pm             Company Showcase and Reception

Hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be provided at reception

17 community and university companies will be showcasing their innovation and business.




CVC History

The competition has a history of producing and showcasing some of the Southeast’s most successful early-stage companies. In the last three years, over 300 start-up companies entered the competition for the opportunity to present to potential investors, first customers, and the chance to win over $150,000 in cash prizes. During the final rounds of competition, the finalists present to Angel and Venture Capital Investors and large potential customers (Fortune 500 Corps).


Find More Information


Devin Collins, Ventureprise