2018 Venture Plan Competition


The Venture Plan Competition provides early-stage entrepreneurs in Central Florida with an opportunity to take a new product or business and develop a plan to introduce it to the marketplace. Participants compete for prize money before a panel of distinguished judges, all of whom are successful investors and entrepreneurs.


Wednesday, March 28, 2018 | 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. | Doors open at 5:30 for light bites & refreshments.


Bush Auditorium Bush Science Center | Rollins College | 1000 Holt Ave. Winter Park, FL 32789

This Year:

From more than 50 applications, five teams have been selected to compete in the finals. Congratulations to our 2018 Finalists: Frida.ai, HENO, Lucerna Studios, Pangian and Statusphere.

Judges: Clay Biddinger, Kenyon Energy / Bay 4 Energy| Kathy Chui, FAN Fund | Jerry Hayes, Hayes Family Foundation | Diana LaTour, LFE Capital | Richard Licursi, venVelo | Richard Powell, AP Capital Partners | John Riley, Legacy Fund | Jason Rottenberg, Arsenal Venture Partners | Jonathan Taylor, Entrenext Ventures

Prizes: The 2018 competition prize package, valued at $115,000, includes $25,000 in cash to the winner. The winner will also receive a $25,000 equity investment offer from our partners at venVelo and a robust prize package that includes additional services. Our in-kind sponsors include the FireSpring Fund, VentureScaleUp, RVR Consulting Group, Corridor Legal, HUB International, Ferrell & Kelly CPA, and the IDEA Fund.

The event will include a panel of Central Florida’s Capital Raising Rock Stars featuring:

SuneeraSuneera Madhani is the Founder and CEO of Fattmerchant, a payment technology company offering small businesses the data analytics, savings, and support they need to take back control of their payments. Her unique idea for subscription-style processing has not only saved business owners up to 40%, but has brought transparency to a traditionally opaque industry. Suneera is a mom, entrepreneur, thought leader, and executive, raising over $8 million in funding for her business, receiving numerous accolades, and contributing content to such publications as Forbes and Fast Company.

ErnestErnest Rolfson is the founder and CEO of Finexio, an Orlando-based fintech startup that has raised $5m in investment capital to date. Finexio’s smart B2B payment network eliminates paper check payments for middle and large market companies. Finexio helps our business customers intelligently determine the best way to pay vendors and suppliers, then routes their payments digitally without requiring bank account information. On average, Finexio is able to convert over 60% of our clients' paper checks to electronic payment, saving time and money and increasing customer and supplier happiness. Prior to starting Finexio in 2015, Ernest was a Vice President of Corporate Alliances at Change Healthcare, the largest US healthcare payments company, where he identified and developed unique fintech investment and partnership opportunities. Before Change Healthcare, Ernest led the healthcare business at MasterCard, and advised CFOs on business payments as a founding member of EY’s West Coast Working Capital Advisory group. Ernest graduated with a BA in History from New York University. He also holds a MSc in International Public Policy from University College London in London, England. Ernest grew up in Orlando. Though he’s lived in some of the most prosperous tech cities in the world, he chose Orlando as Finexio’s home, moving the company back here from Silicon Valley in 2017.

PhilPhil Dumas is a passionate alternative access control visionary with over a decade of experience delivering mass-market consumer products. In 2010, Phil launched UniKey Technologies with the vision of changing the way the world accesses everything by replacing the keychain in a more convenient way than a key. In 2012 Phil brought his fully-functional prototype to the hit ABC show, Shark Tank, and was the first contestant to receive investment offers from all five “sharks”. Shortly thereafter in 2013, UniKey partnered with Kwikset and released the Kevo, the world’s first smart lock in the residential market. Now with over 17 partnerships worldwide, UniKey has a foothold in the residential, commercial, and automotive industries and is on its way to bringing smart security solutions to the masses. Phil has raised more than $20mm in venture capital and debt since UniKey’s inception, helping position the company for accelerated growth and market diversification plans. Phil speaks at numerous startup, entrepreneurial, and security events and is a board member at the University of Central Florida, from where he holds a BSEE.

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