Venture Sharks logoVenture Connectors has announced the 2016 Venture Sharks pitch competition contestants after receiving more than 40 applications from entrepreneurs across the region.

VC chose 10 applicants, plus CompassioNote, the Startup Weekend 2016 winner, was entered as the 11th competitor as part of its prize.

This year’s prize of $23,000 in cash and services is more than double previous years’ prizes.

This year’s lineup is:

  • CompassioNote: Helps companies have better relationships with their customers by providing personalized data.
  • Fanvester: Provides crowdfunded concerts and live entertainment.
  • Farm Specific Technology: Creates innovative solutions to improve the sustainability of food systems.
  • Fund My Edu: Lowers student loan debt and increases credit scores through micro-payments.
  • Mail-Haven: 21st century mailbox designed to secure packages for absent homeowners.
  • Riot Cosmetics: Makes handmade cruelty-free, vegan-friendly cosmetics.
  • Stinger Equipment Inc.: Builds innovative equipment for landscapers.
  • Switcher Studio: Develops easy-to-use and affordable live video streaming tools that allows users to create TV-style productions for the web.
  • Totally Nalley Cakes: Manufactures cake design accessories.
  • Uncrash: Helps auto body shops organize their work and automate communication.
  • ZOFI Kombucha: Manufactures a delicious and healthful organic, sparkling, fermented elixir formulated for shelf stability.

There are some familiar names behind these companies. CompassioNote is helmed by Kartik Kamat, serial entrepreneur and VP of operations for Granite America, who has won Startup Weekend before. Kela Ivonye, founder of CEO of Arrow Food Couriers, is a co-founder at Mail-Haven. Switcher Studios has been around for several years and already has competed in Venture Sharks. Fund My Edu also competed in Startup Weekend.

On Wednesday, April 13, at 5:30 p.m., the 11 companies will compete at Chef Space, 1812 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. The field will be narrowed to four companies, who will then compete at the May Venture Connectors Luncheon at the Muhammad Ali Center.