Harrisburg LaunchBox Idea TestLab 'final pitch' winners announced

image of Carley Furlow, Sarah and Hall Schwartz, and Justin Slusarski, Syd del Cid, Derek Sheehan

Winners of the Harrisburg LaunchBox Idea TestLab virtual accelerator final pitch competition include: Top (left to right) Carley Furlow (1st place), Sarah Schwartz and Hal Schwartz (3rd place). Bottom: Justin Slusarski, Syd del Cid, Derek Sheehan (2nd place).

Credit: Penn State Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Harrisburg LaunchBox recently announced the winners of its Idea TestLab virtual accelerator final pitch competition. The competition concluded a six week-long virtual business idea accelerator, in which seven selected startups received coaching and training to identify viable business models through intensive customer discovery. Program participants included a select cohort of Pennsylvania-based community and student entrepreneurs with early stage, scalable business ideas.

During the program, startups interviewed customers, built their early stage business models, and crafted their elevator pitches. The cohort of entrepreneurs included community members, students and professionals. The program culminated in a pitch competition, in which teams competed for up to $2500 in seed funding to continue development of their business models.

The competition winners include:

  • 1st place ($2500 seed funding): Bonded Bows (Carley Furlow, founder) – a patent-pending device to help string musicians hold their bows securely.
  • 2nd place ($1250 seed funding): Quarbon Inc. (Justin Slusarski, Syd del Cid, Derek Sheehan, co-founders) — an environmental and social impact scorecard and toolkit for small- and medium-sized businesses looking to increase sustainability to reduce costs and attract more customers. Quarbon was also one of 10 startups selected to participate in Philly Startup Leaders 2020 offered by Founded in Philly accelerator.
  • 3rd place ($1250 seed funding): SchoolStack (Sarah Schwartz, Hal Schwartz, co-founders) — an EdTech startup creating virtual learning structures and programs for schools and homeschool families. SchoolStack was one of three winners of the 2020 Startup Challenge idea accelerator program, sponsored by Harrisburg LaunchBox and Invent Penn State.

Competition judges included:

  • Tracy Cutler — executive vice president of The Lancaster Community Foundation, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Martin Fedorko — managing partner of White Rose Ventures, York, Pennsylvania
  • Suresh Madhuvarsu — founding partner of Product10x, San Francisco Bay Area, California

Harrisburg LaunchBox will offer the next cohort of Idea TestLab in early 2022.  Visit the program page to learn more.

One of 21 Invent Penn State innovation hubs across Pennsylvania, Harrisburg LaunchBox offers no-cost business accelerator programs, legal and intellectual property advice, and other resources to help entrepreneurs avoid common costly mistakes associated with starting a business and to help them build sustainable models with viable strategies for growth. Invent Penn State is a commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation, and student career success. For additional startup resources visit resourcenavigator.psu.edu.