VentureClash Announces Winners of $5 Million Global Investment Challenge

Israeli-based Voiceitt, making speech recognition technology available to everyone, wins top investment of $1.5 million

ROCKY HILL, Conn., October 22, 2018 – Connecticut Innovations (CI), the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies, today announced the winners of VentureClash, $5 million global investment challenge for early-stage companies in digital health, financial technology, insurance technology and the Internet of Things. The final pitch event was held on Thursday, October 18, at the Yale School of Management in New Haven.

In all, nine companies from six different countries participated in the final pitch event. VentureClash judges awarded six companies with investments, mentoring and customer introductions to help them grow and succeed.

The winning companies are required to establish a presence in Connecticut.

Voiceitt received the top investment award of $1.5 million. Based in Israel, Voiceitt is developing the world’s first speech recognition technology designed to understand non-standard speech and help restore communication channels for a combined 10.4 million people in the United States and Europe who suffer from speech disabilities.

Two second-place winners were each awarded a $1 million investment:

  • DOZR: A Canadian company that has developed a marketplace for the online rental of heavy equipment, enabling business owners to earn additional revenue from their idle equipment and allowing contractors to rent equipment at lower rates than traditional rental companies.
  • IronYun: A Stamford-based next-generation, AI deep-learning, big-data video search business-to-business software company providing enterprise customers with hyper-converged, private cloud computing and big-data video software products.

Three additional finalists were selected to each receive a $500,000 investment award:

  • CloudKPI: An Irish company developing an insight engine that enables SaaS businesses to predict likely outcomes.
  • Invixium: A Canadian manufacturer of modern biometric solutions for markets needing strong user authentication, convenience and data analytics.
  • Paygilant: An Israeli technology company working to prevent mobile payments fraud on mobile devices in the preauthorization phase.

The other finalists were:

  • Kasko: A London-based digital insurance intermediary bridging the gap between the digital and insurance economies.
  • Panoply: An Israeli startup developing a smart data warehouse, using machine learning and natural language processing to automate data integration, data management and query optimization.
  • SnapSwap: A Luxembourg-based company offering white-label end-to-end know-your-customer (KYC) services for financial institutions and businesses.

“The VentureClash competition continues to introduce some of the world’s most innovative and promising early-stage companies to all that Connecticut has to offer,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of CI. “From the initial application period through to the finals, we were so impressed with the caliber of leadership and the depth of innovation represented by the companies involved in the competition. We thank them for their efforts and commitment and look forward to working with the companies to help them make Connecticut a center point of their growth strategy.”

This year, VentureClash also identified an early winner in the process: Aureus Analytics, which provides insurance industry solutions to measure customer experience. Hosted on an AI platform, its solutions combine both explicit and implicit data to determine a “Sentimeter” (CX) score for all customers, in real time. Anurag Shah, CEO of Aureus Analytics, is working with the Connecticut Innovations team to close an investment in the next few months.

“We have always said that we never let the VentureClash competition get in the way of a good deal,” said McCooe. “Aureus was in the process of raising a round, and we wanted to participate. We learned about the company through Startup Bootcamp, and we knew we wanted to join the round. We’re delighted to name Aureus our early winner of VentureClash 2018.”

The finalists, representing the most promising early-stage companies in digital health, financial technology, insurance technology and the Internet of Things, pitched their ideas in front of a live audience and a panel of judges at the Yale School of Management in New Haven, Conn. The judges included investors and subject-matter experts from Greycroft Partners, Oak HC/FT, Real Ventures, Stanley Ventures, Teamworthy Ventures, Travelers and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

In addition to the company pitches, Thursday’s event also featured a keynote address from Laurie Santos, a professor of psychology at Yale University, where she serves as Director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory as well as the Canine Cognition Center, a research facility that studies how dogs think about the world.

The VentureClash competition started with applications from 300 companies from more than 15 countries. After two rounds of judging, nine finalists were named, and they then went on to compete at the live pitch event.

Event partners and sponsors included Aetna; aventri; Bernstein; Boehringer Ingelheim; Diameter Health; Disruptive Technologies; Elm Street Ventures; FML; Harman; Hartford Healthcare; Magellan Health; MasterCard; Medtronic; Nassau Re; NatWest Markets; Payflex; Pitney Bowes; Health Venture; ISG; Stanley, Black & Decker; startlab powered by Bank of Ireland; The Hartford; Shipman & Goodwin; Sikorsky Innovations; Synchrony Financial; Teamworthy Ventures; Travelers; Updike, Kelly & Spellacy; Voya Financial; Webster Bank; Yale University; and Yale University’s Office of Cooperative Research.

For more information on qualifications, requirements, guidelines and application, visit http://www.ventureclash.com.

About VentureClash
VentureClash is Connecticut Innovations’ global venture challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge identifies promising companies in digital health, financial technology, insurance technology and the Internet of Things that will receive investments from a $5 million award pool and the support of resources around Connecticut. To learn more, visit http://www.ventureclash.com.

About Connecticut Innovations Inc.
Connecticut Innovations is Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm, providing funding and strategic support to early-stage technology companies. In addition to equity investments, CI provides grants that support innovation and collaboration through CTNext, and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals.
To learn more, visit http://www.ctinnovations.com.

Contact: Lauren Carmody
Vice President of Marketing and Communications
Connecticut Innovations/VentureClash
860.258.7829
Lauren.Carmody@ctinnovations.com

VentureClash Announces Finalists for 2018 Global Venture Challenge
Nine early-stage IoT, digital health, insurtech and fintech companies to compete for $5 million in investments at Yale School of Management in New Haven on October 18

Rocky Hill, Connecticut – September 17, 2018 – Connecticut Innovations (CI), Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm, today announced the finalists for VentureClash, the $5 million global venture challenge. The nine finalists, representing six different countries, will participate in a live pitch event at the Yale School of Management on Thursday, October 18, 2018, in front of a panel of live judges.

The 2018 VentureClash finalists include:

  • CloudKPI (Sandyford, Ireland): An insight engine that enables SaaS businesses to predict likely outcomes
  • DOZR (Kitchener, Canada): A marketplace for the online rental of heavy equipment
  • Invixium (Markham, Canada): A manufacturer of modern biometric solutions for markets needing strong user authentication, convenience and data analytics
  • IronYun (Stamford, Connecticut): A next-generation AI deep-learning, big-data video search business-to-business software company
  • Kasko (London, England): A digital insurance intermediary bridging the gap between the digital and insurance economies
  • Panoply (Tel Aviv, Israel): A smart data warehouse, using machine learning and natural language processing to automate data integration, data management and query optimization
  • Paygilant (Ramat Gan, Israel): A technology that prevents mobile payments fraud on mobile devices in the pre-authorization phase
  • SnapSwap (Luxembourg City, Luxembourg): Offers white-label end-to-end know-your-customer (KYC) services for financial institutions and businesses
  • Voiceitt (Ramat Gan, Israel): A proprietary speech-recognition technology translates unintelligible speech into clear speech in real time

VentureClash brings together early-stage digital health, insurance technology (insurtech), Internet of Things (IoT) and financial technology (fintech) companies from around the world to compete for the opportunity to receive investment, mentoring, customer introductions, grants and services from CI to help them grow and succeed in Connecticut. A panel of judges will determine the distribution of the top investment award ($1.5 million) and the remaining $3.5 million on the day of the event.

“This year’s VentureClash competition has already been another huge success in identifying young and promising companies and introducing them to all that Connecticut has to offer in support of their growth,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “We congratulate all our finalists and look forward to the final pitch competition next month at Yale.”

This year’s VentureClash attracted more than 300 companies from 20 countries around the world, all of whom completed initial applications this past June. Finalists were selected following two rounds of judging by an outside panel of industry leaders and subject matter experts. For more information on qualifications, requirements, guidelines and application, visit www.ventureclash.com.

About VentureClash
Managed by Connecticut Innovations, VentureClash is Connecticut’s global venture challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge identifies high-potential companies in digital health, fintech, insurtech and the Internet of Things that will receive investments from a $5 million investment award pool. Learn more at www.ventureclash.com.

About Connecticut Innovations Inc.
Connecticut Innovations (CI) is Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm and is the leading source of financing and ongoing support for innovative, growing companies. CI provides venture capital and strategic guidance for early-stage technology companies, and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. For more information, visit www.ctinnovations.com.

Media contact:
Lauren Carmody
Vice President of Marketing and Communications
lauren.carmody@ctinnovations.com
860.258.7829

Travelers Selects RozieAI as Innovation Prize Winner for VentureClash
Winner receives $25,000 in grant funding from Travelers

ROCKY HILL, Conn., August 2, 2018Connecticut Innovations (CI) today announced that Travelers, one of the largest property casualty insurers with major operations in Hartford, has awarded RozieAI the $25,000 VentureClash Innovation Prize.

Managed by Connecticut Innovations, VentureClash is a $5 million global venture challenge for early-stage companies in digital health, financial technology, insurance technology and the Internet of Things.

“We are constantly evaluating new technologies that will benefit our customers, agents and employees,” said Michael Klein, Executive Vice President and President of Personal Insurance at Travelers. “RozieAI’s innovative natural language understanding and machine learning solutions have the potential to help us to continue building long-lasting relationships with customers. We are pleased to award RozieAI with the Innovation Prize, and we look forward to further collaboration to drive meaningful customer engagement.”

RozieAI is a state-of-the-art language comprehension and context management solution that helps brands offer personalized customer care at scale.

“This week, we were able to meet and engage with so many promising companies,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “The Innovation Prize was a way for corporate partners like Travelers to dive deeper into the semifinalist pool and identify those that could help to resolve a potential issue for their organization.”

The Innovation Prize was announced at the VentureClash semifinalist pitch event at Upward Hartford on Thursday, August 2, 2018. If RozieAI establishes a Connecticut presence, the company will be eligible for an additional $25,000 in grant funding from Connecticut Innovations.

The finals event, which will feature 10 companies, will be on Thursday, October 18, at the Yale School of Management in New Haven, Conn. For more information and to register to attend the VentureClash finals, visit www.ventureclash.com.

About VentureClash
Managed by Connecticut Innovations, VentureClash is Connecticut’s global venture challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge identifies high-potential companies in digital health, fintech, insurtech and the Internet of Things that will receive investments from a $5 million investment award pool. Learn more at www.ventureclash.com.

About Connecticut Innovations Inc.
Connecticut Innovations (CI) is Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm and is the leading source of financing and ongoing support for innovative, growing companies. CI provides venture capital and strategic guidance for early-stage technology companies, and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. For more information, please visit www.ctinnovations.com.

Stanley Black & Decker Selects DOZR as Innovation Prize Winner for VentureClash
Winner receives $25,000 in grant funding from Stanley Black & Decker

ROCKY HILL, Conn., August 2, 2018Connecticut Innovations (CI) today announced that Stanley Black & Decker has awarded its $25,000 VentureClash Innovation Prize to DOZR, a company that has created an innovative new marketplace for the rental of heavy equipment.

Managed by Connecticut Innovations, VentureClash is a $5 million global venture challenge for early-stage companies in digital health, financial technology, insurance technology and the Internet of Things. To award its prize, Stanley Black & Decker evaluated VentureClash semifinalists to identify new technologies and business models that could accelerate solutions for those who make the world.

“We are excited to announce DOZR as the winner of the Stanley Black & Decker VentureClash Innovation Prize in recognition of their efforts to improve the lives of those who make the world,” said Mark Maybury, Stanley Black & Decker’s chief technology officer. “Heavy equipment is a large capital expense for contractors who face real challenges with quickly identifying the availability, location and costs of rental equipment. Their solution leverages technology to benefit both contractors as well as heavy equipment owners who often have underutilized machines.”

Founded in 2015, DOZR facilitates the short- and long-term rental of heavy equipment across North America. The DOZR platform enables business owners to earn additional revenue from their idle equipment and allows contractors to rent equipment at lower rates than traditional rental companies.

“Stanley Black & Decker is committed to the development of innovation within the organization,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “We’re thrilled that they joined our VentureClash efforts this year through the Innovation Prize and excited to see that they selected DOZR as the winner.”

The Stanley Black & Decker Innovation Prize was announced at the VentureClash semifinalist pitch event at Upward Hartford on Thursday, August 2, 2018. If DOZR establishes a Connecticut presence, the company will be eligible for an additional $25,000 in grant funding from Connecticut Innovations.

The finals event, which will feature 10 competitors, will be on Thursday, October 18, at the Yale School of Management in New Haven, Connecticut. For more information and to register to attend the finals event, visit www.ventureclash.com.

About VentureClash
Managed by Connecticut Innovations, VentureClash is Connecticut’s global venture challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge identifies high-potential companies in digital health, fintech, insurtech and the Internet of Things that will receive investments from a $5 million investment award pool. Learn more at www.ventureclash.com.

About Connecticut Innovations Inc.
Connecticut Innovations (CI) is Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm and is the leading source of financing and ongoing support for innovative, growing companies. CI provides venture capital and strategic guidance for early-stage technology companies, and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. For more information, please visit www.ctinnovations.com.

About Stanley Black & Decker
Stanley Black & Decker, an S&P 500 company, is a diversified global provider of hand tools, power tools and related accessories; electronic security solutions; healthcare solutions; engineered fastening systems; and more. Learn more at www.stanleyblackanddecker.com.

Travelers and Connecticut Innovations Announce Insurtech Innovation Prize for VentureClash Competitors
Winner of the prize eligible to win up to $50,000 in additional grant funding

ROCKY HILL, Conn., June 15, 2018Connecticut Innovations (CI), Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm and the leading source of financing and ongoing support for innovative, growing companies, today announced that Travelers, the Hartford-based provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business, will offer an Innovation Prize to VentureClash competitors developing solutions and pursuing market opportunities in insurtech. The winner of the prize can potentially take home as much as $50,000.

VentureClash is a $5 million global venture challenge for early-stage companies in digital health, financial technology, insurance technology and the Internet of Things. Companies that apply to VentureClash will automatically be considered for the Innovation Prize.

“There is great momentum and development happening in the insurtech space now, and with companies like Travelers, that are focused on innovation in the space, we expect to see some of the strongest insurtech companies in the world,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “Through this effort and others, Travelers continues to demonstrate its commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation.”

Travelers joins Stanley Black & Decker in establishing a second Innovation Prize for VentureClash competitors. In April, Stanley Black & Decker established a prize to be awarded to early-stage companies working to develop products, services and solutions in security and Industry 4.0.

“At Travelers, we’re focused on innovation and identifying new technologies and solutions that will benefit our agents, customers and employees,” said Michael Klein, Executive Vice President and President of Personal Insurance at Travelers. “We’re proud to be a part of VentureClash and thrilled to award the Insurtech Innovation Prize that will help provide the financial support a startup needs. Efforts like these strengthen Connecticut’s innovation ecosystem, attract world-class talent and inspire the big ideas of tomorrow.”

The extended deadline for first-round applications is Friday, June 22, 2018. The Travelers Insurtech Innovation Prize will be presented at the VentureClash finals event, to be held on October 18, 2018, at the Yale School of Management.

About VentureClash
Managed by Connecticut Innovations, VentureClash is Connecticut’s global venture challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge identifies high-potential companies in digital health, fintech, insurtech and the Internet of Things that will receive investments from a $5 million investment award pool. Learn more at www.ventureclash.com.

About Connecticut Innovations
Connecticut Innovations (CI) is Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm and is the leading source of financing and ongoing support for innovative, growing companies. CI provides venture capital and strategic guidance for early-stage technology companies, and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. For more information, please visit www.ctinnovations.com.

About Travelers
The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Travelers has approximately 30,000 employees and generated revenues of approximately $29 billion in 2017. For more information, visit www.travelers.com.

Contact:
Lauren Carmody
Director of Marketing and Communications
Connecticut Innovations
lauren.carmody@ctinnovations.com
860-258-7829

Connecticut Innovations Selects Paygilant as Early-Decision Awardee for VentureClash 2018
Israel-based fraud protection company wins fast pass to semifinalist round

ROCKY HILL, Conn., June 13, 2018 – Connecticut Innovations (CI), Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm and the leading source of financing and ongoing support for innovative, growing companies, announced that Paygilant, an Israel-based fraud protection company for mobile payments, has been selected as the recipient of the early-decision award for VentureClash 2018. The inaugural award allows Paygilant to move directly to the semifinalist round of the challenge.

To be considered for this award, candidates had to submit their first-round application by the April 15 early-decision deadline. Additionally, applicants had to meet all other criteria for the competition. The early-decision award winners also gain access to the second-round application weeks before all other applicants.

“This year, we launched the early-decision award to highlight a company that we identify early in the process to show real potential,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “After taking a closer look at Paygilant, we’re thrilled to have them in the competition, and we look forward to learning more about them throughout the process.”

“We are honored to be included in the VentureClash 2018 challenge,” said Ziv Cohen, CEO of Paygilant. “Our solution helps organizations control risk, minimize friction and reduce fraud with their mobile channels. With Paygilant, financial institutions, e-commerce organizations and e-wallet providers are better situated to capture revenue opportunities and compete more effectively in the marketplace.”

VentureClash is Connecticut’s $5 million global venture challenge for early-stage companies in digital health, financial technology, insurance technology and the Internet of Things. Applications for the first round of VentureClash 2018 close Friday, June 8.

For more information on qualifications, requirements, guidelines and application, visit https://ventureclash.com.

About VentureClash

Managed by Connecticut Innovations, VentureClash is Connecticut’s global venture challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge identifies high-potential companies in digital health, fintech, insurtech and the Internet of Things that will receive investments from a $5 million investment award pool. Learn more at https://ventureclash.com.

About Connecticut Innovations Inc.

Connecticut Innovations (CI) is Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm and is the leading source of financing and ongoing support for innovative, growing companies. CI provides venture capital and strategic guidance for early-stage technology companies, and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. For more information, visit http://ctinnovations.com.

About Paygilant

Founded in 2014, Paygilant works with all payments ecosystem stakeholders to detect and prevent mobile payments fraud. Utilizing patent-pending technology, Paygilant’s detection models run on-device or in the cloud, making contactless and mobile payments easy and secure, increasing customer loyalty and reducing friction. Paygilant’s advanced algorithms combine deep inspection of the mobile device with analysis of historical data patterns to detect new account fraud, transaction fraud and account takeover schemes.

Paygilant is the recipient of an EU Commission Horizon 2020 grant, and an alumnus of the Citi Innovation Lab, IBM Alpha Zone and MasterCard Challenge. www.paygilant.com

Tom Scott, Co-Founder and CEO of The Nantucket Project and Founder of Nantucket Nectars, to Serve as Keynote Speaker at VentureClash Finals Event
Early-stage companies vying for their share of $5 million in venture capital, pitching at Yale School of Management on October 18

ROCKY HILL, Conn., June 7, 2018Connecticut Innovations (CI), Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm and the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies, today announced that Tom Scott, an award-winning entrepreneur and co-founder and CEO of Nantucket Nectars and The Nantucket Project, will be the keynote speaker at the VentureClash finals event, to be held on Thursday, October 18, at the Yale School of Management. VentureClash is Connecticut’s $5 million global venture challenge for early-stage companies in digital health, financial technology, insurance technology and the Internet of Things.

“We’re honored to have Tom Scott participate in the keynote fireside chat at the VentureClash competition,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “Tom is an established entrepreneur with a tremendous track record of success. I am confident that our early-stage company finalists will benefit tremendously from his wisdom and guidance.”

Tom Scott’s entrepreneurial journey has been as diverse as it has been successful. He is currently the CEO of The Nantucket Project, an annual conference bringing together leading thinkers and decision-makers in an environment designed to spark ideas and conversation that leads to meaningful change.

He began his career by co-founding beverage company Nantucket Nectars, which hit the “Inc. 500” list of fastest-growing U.S. companies five years in a row. After selling to Cadbury Schweppes, Tom turned to filmmaking, directing and producing. His films and television shows have garnered a Film Independent Spirit Award, 16 Emmys, and honors at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals. A resident of Connecticut, Tom is also the chairman of the Nantucket Film Festival.

The VentureClash finals event will feature final presentations from 10 of the world’s most promising early-stage companies, with founders pitching their businesses in front of experts, investors, customers and academics engaged in their industries.

For more information on qualifications, requirements, guidelines and application, visit www.ventureclash.com.

About VentureClash
Managed by Connecticut Innovations, VentureClash is Connecticut’s global venture challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge, launched in 2016, identifies the most promising companies in digital health, fintech, insurtech and the Internet of Things that will compete for investments from a $5 million award pool. For more information, visit www.ventureclash.com.

About Connecticut Innovations
Connecticut Innovations (CI) is Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm and is the leading source of financing and ongoing support for innovative, growing companies. CI provides venture capital and strategic guidance for early-stage technology companies, and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. For more information, please visit www.ctinnovations.com.

VentureClash Announces Winners of Lagos Pitch Event
CompareIn takes home top investment award

ROCKY HILL, Conn., May 31, 2018Connecticut Innovations (CI), the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies, today announced the winners of VentureClash’s pitch event in Lagos. VentureClash, Connecticut’s global venture challenge, has expanded its reach to Africa in its third year. The two-day tech fair invited promising companies from Africa to compete for a semifinalist spot in VentureClash along with a $150,000 grant from Connecticut Innovations.

Eleven companies competed in Lagos on May 23, 2018, for a chance to ultimately win $1.5 million in the VentureClash finals held in Connecticut. Of the 11 invited to pitch, three were given awards based on their merit.

Investment Awards:
One first-place winner received a $150,000 investment award, a fast pass to the semifinalist round of VentureClash and a $5,000 grant to visit Connecticut in August:

  • CompareIn Ltd.—CompareIn’s free and unbiased online technology insurance distribution system shortens the insurance buying process by providing a list of insurance quotes from different companies based on the user’s vehicle specifications.

Two companies each received a fast pass to the semifinalist round of VentureClash and a $5,000 grant to visit Connecticut in August:

  • Social Lender Inc.—Social Lender helps financial institutions offer microcredit based on social reputation. Social Lender uses its own proprietary algorithm to perform an audit of social media and other related platforms to give a Social Reputation Score to each user.
  • Amplified Payment Systems Ltd.—Amplified Payment Systems is building a new platform for distributing and enhancing access to financial services in Africa by leveraging social messaging.

“This year we were very excited to expand the boundaries of VentureClash and visit Nigeria,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “Our trip to Lagos was incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to building relationships with companies in the ecosystem in the future.”

The other competitors included:

  • Advancio Interactive Ltd.—Advancio Interactive’s COVr branchless is an agency banking solution that allows banks to carry out financial services anywhere in the world.
  • BeepTool Communication and Integrated Services Ltd.—BeepTool has a vision to make communication and financial services accessible to anyone, anywhere.
  • FINT Technology Africa—FINT is Nigeria’s first loan marketplace for consumer and business opportunity loans.
  • Peachwater Consulting—Manufactured by Peachwater Consulting, Powerstove is a smokeless cookstove with a self-powered IoT monitoring system using 70 percent less biomass, allowing users to cook food five times faster.
  • Sattrak Services Ltd.—Developed by Sattrak, Mobilityplus is a technology marketplace with e-commerce capabilities for delivering on-demand transport mobility products and services.
  • Software Business Solutions Consulting—This management consulting and technology firm has the simple goal of driving business value and partnership by delivering differently.
  • Solynta—Solynta’s mobile phone platform for primary healthcare services in Nigeria is like having a doctor and hospital in your pocket.
  • Virtual Farm—Virtual Farm offers the first digital farm in Africa, enabling users to buy seed, sow, nurture and harvest online or through SMS codes.

As we look ahead, 10 early-stage companies in digital health, financial technology, insurance technology and the Internet of Things will advance to the October 18 finals event at the Yale School of Management in New Haven, CT.

First-round applications are scheduled to close on Friday, June 8. For more information on qualifications, requirements, guidelines and application, visit www.ventureclash.com.

About VentureClash
VentureClash is Connecticut Innovations’ global investment challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge identifies promising companies in digital health, financial technology, insurance technology and the Internet of Things that will receive investments from a $5 million award pool and the support of resources around Connecticut. To learn more, visit www.ventureclash.com.

About Connecticut Innovations Inc.
Connecticut Innovations is Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm, providing funding and strategic support to early-stage technology companies. In addition to equity investments, CI provides grants that support innovation and collaboration through CTNext, and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. To learn more, visit www.ventureclash.com.

Contact: Lauren Carmody
Director of Marketing Communications
Phone: (860) 258-7829
Email: lauren.carmody@ctinnovations.com

Connecticut Innovations and Stanley Black & Decker Join Forces to Scan the Globe for Early-Stage Security and Industry 4.0 Companies
Qualified companies eligible to win up to $50,000 in grant funding through VentureClash challenge

ROCKY HILL, Conn., April 16, 2018Connecticut Innovations (CI), the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies, announced it has teamed with Stanley Black & Decker, the New Britain–based manufacturer of tools and hardware, to offer an Innovation Prize to VentureClash competitors focused on market opportunities in the areas of security and Industry 4.0, often referred to as “smart factory” technologies. The winner of the inaugural prize can potentially take home as much as $50,000.

VentureClash is a $5 million global venture challenge for early-stage companies in digital health, financial technology, insurance technology and the Internet of Things.

“Security and Industry 4.0 are two technology sectors that continue to undergo innovation and disruption,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “Along with Stanley Black & Decker, we are eager to support companies developing innovative products, solutions and services within these areas. The Innovation Prize will further entice startups competing in VentureClash to pursue opportunities and develop their businesses right here in Connecticut.”

Companies who apply to VentureClash will automatically be considered for the Innovation Prize. Within the security track, eligible entrants will be those working to develop physical and cyber methods for security in the enterprise and retail sectors as well as for the factory, home and school, with a focus on automated detection, response, recovery management and IoT.

Industry 4.0 startups will consist of those developing advances in robotic perception, mobility, reasoning and manipulation that yield a productive and economic advantage within factories.

“We believe that advanced manufacturing and next-generation security technology will be two of the driving forces shaping our changing world over the next decade,” said Mark Maybury, Chief Technology Officer for Stanley Black & Decker, “and we believe that Connecticut provides the right climate in which innovative businesses focused on creating these changes can thrive.  We are excited to partner with Connecticut Innovations, and our commitment to VentureClash is a commitment to fostering a culture of innovation.”

The Innovation Prize will be presented at the VentureClash finals event, to be held on October 18, 2018, at the Yale School of Management.

About VentureClash
Managed by Connecticut Innovations, VentureClash is Connecticut’s global venture challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge identifies high-potential companies in digital health, fintech, insurtech and the Internet of Things that will receive investments from a $5 million investment award pool. Learn more at www.ventureclash.com.

About Connecticut Innovations Inc.
Connecticut Innovations (CI) is the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies. To maximize the growth potential of each business, CI tailors its solutions and often combines its funds with resources from other financial leaders to provide venture capital and strategic support for early-stage technology companies, flexible loans for established companies with new innovations, grants that support innovation and collaboration, and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. For more information on CI, please visit www.ctinnovations.com.

About Stanley Black & Decker
Stanley Black & Decker, an S&P 500 company, is a diversified global provider of hand tools, power tools and related accessories; electronic security solutions; healthcare solutions; engineered fastening systems; and more. Learn more at www.stanleyblackanddecker.com.

Connecticut’s $5 Million Global Venture Challenge Opens Applications to Early-Stage Companies

VentureClash 2018 maintains focus on attracting Internet of Things, digital health, fintech and insurtech companies

ROCKY HILL, Conn., March 1, 2018 – Connecticut Innovations (CI), Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm and one of the leading sources of financing and ongoing support for innovative, growing companies on the east coast, today announced the launch of the application period for VentureClash. VentureClash is Connecticut’s $5 million global investment challenge for early-stage digital health, financial technology, Internet of Things and insurance technology companies.

“This is our third year of VentureClash, and we expect more high-quality companies as well as additional corporate partners in our industry verticals,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “VentureClash and CI are helping incredible companies grow and succeed here in Connecticut. As one example, Dream Payments, the 2016 top winner of VentureClash, has gone on to raise two rounds of funding for more than $10 million. Dream has since launched in the United States, won major banks and insurance companies as customers, and announced partnerships with major credit and payments companies.”

Awards
The entire investment award pool is $5 million, with a top investment award of $1.5 million. The remaining $3.5 million will be determined by the judges’ panel on the day of the event.

Application
The VentureClash challenge launches the first-round application on March 1, 2018. Companies will have until June 8, 2018, to submit the first-round application. After two rounds of judging, approximately 10 companies will be invited to the finals event to compete in person for investment awards. An outside panel of judges will help to determine the winning companies of VentureClash 2018.

Eligibility
To be eligible to apply, a company must:
– Have been in business for at least 12 months
– Have paying customers or customers who are actively testing the applicant’s product
– Have a compelling business reason to create a Connecticut presence, which applies to domestic and international applicants
– Be focused in digital health, financial technology (fintech), insurance technology (insurtech) or Internet of Things (including energy cost reduction technologies)

For more information on qualifications, requirements, guidelines and application, visit www.ventureclash.com.

About VentureClash
Managed by Connecticut Innovations, VentureClash is Connecticut’s global venture challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge, launched in 2016, identifies high-potential companies in digital health, IoT, insurtech and fintech that will compete for investments from a $5 million award pool. For more information, visit ventureclash.com.

About Connecticut Innovations
Connecticut Innovations (CI) is Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm and is the leading source of financing and ongoing support for innovative, growing companies. CI provides venture capital and strategic support for early-stage technology companies, financial support for innovation and collaboration, and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. For more information, please visit ctinnovations.com.

How to Win the VentureClash Competition
Perspectives from the 2017 Winners

If your early-stage technology company is already successful but you see even greater potential though expansion into the United States market, then the CI VentureClash competition could be your way in. Since Connecticut Innovations began its annual global venture challenge in 2016, 12 companies from eight countries have won investment awards ranging from $500,000 to $1.5 million.

2017 VentureClash Winners

First-place: $1.5 million
FRISS, Netherlands—State-of-the-art insurance fraud detection solutions

Second-place: $1 million each
SCADAfence, Israel—Mission-critical cybersecurity threat protection
Vouchr, Canada—Innovative online gifting tool

Third-place: $500,000 each
Davra Networks, Ireland—Complete Internet of Things platform
EAVE, United Kingdom—Next-generation hearing protection and communications technology

Through the competition, CI is seeking to attract from around the world the most promising young companies in the fields of Digital Health, FinTech, InsurTech and IoT. Within those industries, each winner must be able to demonstrate significant home-country market validation and the ability to bring a scalable solution, highly efficient business model, strong go-to-market strategy and expert management team to Connecticut. CI CEO Mike McCooe would tell you, “First and foremost, you have to be ready, willing and able to disrupt in the United States—in a big way.”

The challenge is significant but the rewards are great, as the 2017 winners have said. We asked them to share their thoughts about the competition, why they believe they won, and what advice they would offer to next year’s contestants.

What were the primary factors that, you believe, made your pitch successful?

FRISS: I believe our great product and company were significant factors, as well as the fact that we have a well-established, growing firm that has already enjoyed significant traction in Europe and an expanding international footprint. The leadership of our senior team was also key, as was the predominance of our industry, the insurance industry, in Connecticut.

SCADAfence: I think much of our success was a result of having a finely tuned presentation. You have to have a very sharp message and a storyline that flows. Seven minutes is a long time to fill, so you have to keep listeners engaged with a continuous story that delivers a captivating message about why your company is great and why it will be even better after expanding into Connecticut. In our case, we already had market traction and were generating revenue with a growing customer base. What made our pitch all the more compelling was our ability to present concrete examples through case studies of how we are meeting a demand and solving a problem for current customers.

Vouchr: I think the judges responded favorably to the simplicity of our value proposition. We demonstrated that we have created a unique product that customers value and are willing to pay for. There was no need to be too complex in our presentation—we just talked about the huge opportunity that exists for our company. We really wanted to get them excited about our vision versus the nitty gritty financial details. Of course, we were well prepared to answer any financial questions.

Davra Networks: CI wanted strong companies that will bring value to Connecticut, and we were able to exhibit those characteristics. The fact that we have a solid core business that is advanced and growing rapidly was a decisive factor. Another key to our winning was our genuine belief that Connecticut is an ideal location—a transportation hub with access to dense populations surrounding Philadelphia, Boston, New York and Washington. Transportation, particularly an extensive rail system, is a big part of our business, so the Northeast was the place to be.

EAVE: In our case, we delivered a persuasive, gap-filling business proposition. We are fortunate to be able to offer a solution in next-generation hearing protection that is truly needed by a great many companies. It was a no-brainer in the United Kingdom. Both customers and investors were very interested. In our presentation, we were able to show the strength of our growing existing market in the United Kingdom and the tremendous opportunity for similar success in the United States.

How challenging was it to face the panel of judges? How did you prepare for it?

FRISS: The judges were great. I was well prepared for their questions because I have a very clear vision of my business—where we are now and where I want to go with it. Some asked about our financials and projections, which I was able to discuss without much difficulty. If you’re fully prepared, handling five minutes of questions should not be too challenging.

SCADAfence: The judges were from diverse backgrounds without a great depth of specific knowledge in my industry. So, it was important be sharp and able to answer questions in a less technical way. Quick thinking is key and concise responses are crucial—a response that you’d need five minutes to explain fully, you have to explain in less than a minute. To prepare, I worked with the CI mentors to assimilate what to present to the panel and how to respond to a range of questions that might be asked.

Vouchr: I had no idea what the questions would be. At first, some of the judges seemed somewhat skeptical of our vision and of the vast opportunity we foresee. I think our best approach was to keep returning to the key points from our pitch—steering the focus back to the value proposition we emphasized in our presentation. I wanted to leave the judges knowing that there is a massive market for our product, how we are differentiated from our competition, and why we’re winning and will continue to win.

Davra Networks: Every engagement with CI throughout the VentureClash process, including participating in conference calls, responding to due diligence questions, and practicing our presentation, guided us on the path leading up to the panel. Although we had no specific guidance on the questions that would be asked, we were prepared for a broad array of questions about our business model, structure and growth plan. It was stressful to answer questions in that setting in front of 300 people, but it was also exhilarating.

EAVE: There were no major surprises that we were not prepared for. We have been fine tuning our pitch for a couple of years, facing many teams along the way, so we were ready for a wide range of questions. To sharpen our skills, we tested our presentation on a lot of investors and customers to hear their reactions and address their feedback.

How helpful were the CI mentors throughout the process? In what ways did they help? Did your pitch evolve or change as a result of their input?

FRISS: The mentors were extremely helpful with my pitch. The time they spent with me was very valuable. Richard Guha in particular knows the insurance business very well, especially in the context of gaining entry to the North American and U.S. markets and was able to make introductions to his industry contacts. Kevin Carroll gave me extensive feedback on my pitch in terms of the angle and recommended that I incorporate stories to illustrate key points. My pitch definitely evolved and improved as a result of Richard’s and Kevin’s time and input. It wasn’t so much a matter of changes to the way I presented the company or the value proposition, it was more about how to bring the pitch forward in a better and more American way with bolder statements and with the mindset of the audience in mind.

SCADAfence: The main activity the mentors helped with was refining the pitch to fit the crowd, the atmosphere and the opportunity. After working with the mentors, my message and delivery improved significantly.

Vouchr: I was frankly surprised by how much value the mentors provided. These are very smart, savvy people who really helped us refine our deck and pitch. They also gave us some great general business advice and suggestions for our business model. We hope to keep working with them as we choose a location in Connecticut. And we plan to make good use of the many contacts they shared with us—including banks, investors, networks and others—to bolster our sales effort.

Davra Networks: As we engaged with CI, we saw the tremendous value of the support structure the mentors provide. As a result of working with the mentors, especially Doug Roth and Richard Guha, my pitch evolved 100 percent. The most important advice they gave was to move away from our standard pitch to focus on the value we will bring to Connecticut. I truly believe that even if we blew the judges away with a great pitch, we would have lost without the emphasis on Connecticut and our ability to create hundreds or even thousands of jobs here.  The mentors also provided crucial introductions to their partners and contacts in the fields of law, finance, human resources and real estate.

EAVE: Our pitch did not necessarily evolve from working with the mentors—we had spent 18 months refining our user-centered approach within the European market. Where the mentors were very helpful was in translating that value proposition to the U.S. market. They helped fill our gap in knowledge of the American business mindset to make our presentation more persuasive. Their contacts also really helped us establish connections to prospective customers. In fact, in the time leading up to the finals we had already made some proposals to Connecticut companies.

What advice would you offer an early-stage company considering entering the VentureClash competition next year?

FRISS: For any non-U.S. company considering expansion into the American market, I would recommend enrolling in VentureClash. The program provides a great process for learning about doing business in the United States, and it’s a perfect opportunity to create your proof points supporting your chances for success by expanding your market globally. If you can afford the time and expense, you should go to Connecticut for the weeklong Camp Venture. Without that participation, it’s hard to grasp the whole concept, and you may feel disconnected from the process. Also, take advantage of the opportunities for one-on-one interactions with the CI mentors and be open to their feedback. And be receptive to the many chances to make contacts and network throughout the competition. In short, get everything you can out of the experience. Being part of the finals round presented more opportunities than I expected in terms of meeting interesting people and connecting with advisers and industry leaders. In my case, I was able to meet the Connecticut Insurance Commissioner—a crucial contact for my business in particular. Lastly, I would say that you should just be very prepared and remember that it’s not like an ordinary VC pitch—you’re pitching CI as an investment partner, which is a different mindset.

SCADAfence: If you’re considering entering the competition, you should think from an early starting point about the value of Connecticut for your business. One of the main things you should focus on is why you need to be in Connecticut and also what you need the money for. I can’t overemphasize the importance of making sure you can explain “Why Connecticut?” for your business. If your explanation is weak, it will not be compelling enough to incentivize CI to make an investment in you.

Vouchr: The program is very valuable as a means to enter the U.S. market. But you should take some time to get to know more about CI first. You should make sure your product and business are a good fit for CI and vice versa. Ask yourself if it feels mutually beneficial. If you do participate in the competition, I strongly recommend taking advantage of all the opportunities CI offers throughout the program. And be open to suggestions from the mentors—it can only help improve your business strategy and pitch.

Davra Networks: As you enter the VentureClash program, you should be prepared for a long process—it’s about six months from the time you register to the day of the live competition in New Haven. It’s a huge effort pulling data together and other preparation before each stage of the competition. And when it comes to your pitch, be sure to focus on why your business is a good fit for CI—that is one of the most important points to make. It’s crucial to understand the mindset of whom you are pitching. You should also focus on your big wins, big partners and big market opportunity. Too much financial detail will kill the energy of your presentation. Throughout the competition, it’s also vital to take full advantage of the value offered by the CI mentors. Everyone at CI will provide very useful input in small and large ways. So, be open and listen to the feedback. You’ll be glad you did.

EAVE: I would suggest you make sure you have a strong enough early-stage business to justify expansion into the U.S. market. If your revenue and sales are not thriving and you don’t have a growing client base and a solid value proposition, then it’s probably too soon to look at this type of global expansion. But, if you’re ready, the United States is the most exciting and interesting domestic market to pursue. And CI is a great link to it. It provides a powerful network of connections and a gateway into a market where the opportunity is huge.

Conclusion

The mission of VentureClash is to speed Digital Health, FinTech, InsurTech and IoT innovations to market by awarding capital to the most promising early-stage companies from around the world. But, a cornerstone of the CI approach is the belief that it takes more than just an infusion of money for a rising young business to succeed. Therefore, the VentureClash process incorporates an extensive ecosystem with access to a critical network of customers, investors, mentors and talent. As the 2017 winners have attested, it is that comprehensive support structure that helps pave the path to victory.

VentureClash Announces Winners of $5 Million Global Investment Challenge
The Netherlands’ FRISS takes home top investment award

ROCKY HILL, Conn., October 23, 2017Connecticut Innovations (CI), the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies, today announced the winners of VentureClash, a $5 million global investment challenge for early-stage companies in digital health, financial technology, insurance technology and the Internet of Things.

Of the nine finalists from seven different countries, VentureClash awarded six companies with investments, mentoring, customer introductions, grants and services to help them grow and succeed. The winning companies are required to establish a presence in Connecticut.

Investment Awards:

FRISS received the top investment award of $1.5 million. Based in the Netherlands, Friss uses proprietary analytics software to provide state-of-the-art solutions in the fields of fraud, risk and compliance for the insurance industry.

Two second-place winners will each receive a $1 million investment:

  • SCADAfence– Based in Israel, SCADAfence is a pioneer in securing mission-critical industrial networks from cyber threats, reducing the risk of connecting multiple devices in industries like manufacturing, utilities, oil and gas.
  • Vouchr– Based in Canada, Vouchr is a secure, payment-agnostic tool that allows users to bundle transfers of funds with photos, videos, social networking and gamification.

Three companies will each receive a $500,000 investment award:

  • Buzzmove– Buzzmove is the United Kingdom’s only price-comparison and instant-booking platform for all services related to moving and the right level of insurance needed to cover moving-related services.
  • Davra Networks– Based in Ireland, Davra Networks provides a complete Internet of Things (IoT) platform that allows customers to define, build and bring to market vertical-specific IoT applications while collecting and easily sharing data.
  • EAVE– U.K.-based EAVE is developing the next generation of hearing protection and communication technology, utilizing noise cancellation and speech enhancement to eliminate noise-induced hearing loss.

“The talent in this year’s competition was incredible,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “Judges struggled to make the decision, but in the end, FRISS took home the top award because of its strength in the space and ability to disrupt here in the United States.”

The other finalists included:

Bought By Many – A U.K.-based interactive members-only service, Bought By Many offers targeted insurance opportunities designed to help individuals find the right insurance efficiently and customized to their needs.

PeekMed – Based in Portugal, Peek Health offers powerful three-dimensional preoperative planning software for orthopedic surgery that aims to help the surgeon better treat the patient while reducing costs and surgical times.

Tellspec – Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Tellspec is a data company with the ability to scan food, offering non-destructive real-time food testing for quality control, authentication, safety and nutritional value.

On October 20, 2017, the nine finalists, representing the most promising early-stage companies in digital health, financial technology, insurance technology and the Internet of Things, pitched their ideas in front of a live audience and a panel of judges at the Yale School of Management in New Haven, Conn.

The judges included investors and subject-matter experts from 1843 Capital, Elm Street Ventures, Greycroft Partners, The Hartford and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). In addition to the company pitches, the VentureClash program also included a keynote address from Tim Armstrong, CEO of Oath.

The VentureClash competition started with applications from 285 companies from more than 20 countries. After two rigorous rounds of judging, nine finalists were named, and they then went on to compete at the live pitch event.

For more information on qualifications, requirements, guidelines and application, visit www.ventureclash.com.

About VentureClash
VentureClash is Connecticut Innovations’ global investment challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge identifies promising companies in digital health, financial technology, insurance technology and the Internet of Things that will receive investments from a $5 million award pool and the support of resources around Connecticut. To learn more, visit www.ventureclash.com.

About Connecticut Innovations Inc.
Connecticut Innovations is Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm, providing funding and strategic support to early-stage technology companies. In addition to equity investments, CI provides grants that support innovation and collaboration through CTNext, and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. To learn more, visit www.ctinnovations.com.

Contact: Lauren Carmody
Director of Marketing Communications
Phone: (860) 258-7829
Email: lauren.carmody@ctinnovations.com

VentureClash Announces Finalists for 2017 Global Venture Challenge
Nine companies from around the globe compete for $5 million in investments

ROCKY HILL, Conn., October 5, 2017Connecticut Innovations (CI), the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies, today announced the finalists for VentureClash, its $5 million global investment challenge.

VentureClash attracted top early-stage companies in digital health, financial technology, insurance technology and the Internet of Things from around the world. The challenge will provide one top winner with a $1.5 million investment. Up to two second-place winners will each receive a $1 million investment, and up to three third-place winners will receive awards worth $500,000 each.

The nine finalists from seven countries will present in front of a panel of expert judges at the Yale School of Management on Friday, October 20, 2017. Tim Armstrong, CEO of Oath, will be the keynote speaker at the event.

This year’s VentureClash finalists are:

Bought By Many – A U.K.-based interactive members-only service, Bought By Many offers targeted insurance opportunities designed to help individuals find the right insurance efficiently and customized to their needs.

Buzzmove – Buzzmove is the United Kingdom’s only price-comparison and instant-booking platform for all services related to moving and the right level of insurance needed to cover moving-related services.

Davra Networks – Based in Ireland, Davra Networks provides a complete Internet of Things (IoT) platform that allows customers to define, build and bring to market vertical-specific IoT applications while collecting and easily sharing data.

EAVE – U.K.-based EAVE is developing the next generation of hearing protection and communication technology utilizing noise cancellation and speech enhancement to eliminate noise-induced hearing loss.

FRISS – Based in the Netherlands, Friss uses proprietary analytics software to provide state-of-the-art solutions in the fields of fraud, risk and compliance for the insurance industry.

Peek Health, S.A. – Based in Portugal, Peek Health offers powerful three-dimensional preoperative planning software for orthopedic surgery that aims to help the surgeon better treat the patient while reducing costs and surgical times.

SCADAfence – Based in Israel, SCADAfence is a pioneer in securing mission-critical industrial networks from cyber threats, reducing the risk of connecting multiple devices in industries like manufacturing, utilities, oil and gas.

Tellspec – Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Tellspec is a data company with the ability to scan food, offering non-destructive real-time food testing for quality control, authentication, safety and nutritional value.

Vouchr – Based in Canada, Vouchr is a secure, payment-agnostic tool that allows users to bundle transfers of funds with photos, videos, social networking and gamification.

“VentureClash again attracted an impressive list of innovative, early-stage companies poised for growth,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “The fundamental improvement in this year’s competition is the deep involvement of so many corporate partners. Many of Connecticut’s flagship companies engaged in the process to learn about, meet and help us select the competitors in VentureClash. The Connecticut-based companies are looking to CI to act as a tech scout, and to help identify fantastic talent and innovation from across the globe.”

VentureClash 2017 has partnered with the following organizations for this year’s competition: Aetna; Bank of Ireland’s Startlab; Boehringer Ingelheim; Dream Payments; Fiondella, Milone & LaSaracina LLP; General Dynamics Electric Boat; Health Venture; ISG (Information Services Group); Magellan Health; Medtronic; Microsoft BizSpark Assets; Navigators; Pitney Bowes; RBS/NatWest; Shipman & Goodwin; Sikorsky & Lockheed-Martin; Stanley, Black & Decker; Stanley Ventures; Synchrony Financial; The Hartford; The Jackson Laboratory; Travelers; Updike, Kelly & Spellacy; Webster Bank; Yale University; Yale New Haven Health; and Yale Office of Cooperative Research (OCR).

For more information on qualifications, requirements, guidelines and the finalist event, visit www.ventureclash.com. To register to attend the 2017 VentureClash finals event, visit: www.ventureclash.com/event.

About VentureClash
VentureClash is Connecticut Innovations’ global investment challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge identifies promising companies in digital health, financial technology, insurance technology and the Internet of Things that will receive investments from a $5 million award pool and the support of resources around Connecticut. To learn more, visit www.ventureclash.com.

About Connecticut Innovations Inc.
Connecticut Innovations is Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm, providing funding and strategic support to early-stage technology companies. In addition to equity investments, CI provides grants that support innovation and collaboration through CTNext, and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. To learn more, visit www.ctinnovations.com.

Contact: Lauren Carmody
Director of Public Relations
Phone: (860) 258-7829
Email: lauren.carmody@ctinnovations.com

VentureClash Announces Tim Armstrong as Keynote for Finals Event

CEO of Oath — Verizon’s newly merged AOL-Yahoo organization – to speak at Yale School of Management on October 20

ROCKY HILL, Conn., August 2, 2017Connecticut Innovations (CI), the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies, today announced that Tim Armstrong, CEO of Oath, will be the keynote speaker at the VentureClash finals event this fall. VentureClash is a $5 million global venture challenge for early-stage companies in digital health, financial technology, insurance technology and the Internet of Things.

The challenge will invite 10 companies to pitch their plans at a finalist event at Yale University on October 20, where Armstrong will speak. The event will connect finalists with experts, investors, customers and academics who are engaged in their industries.

Armstrong is an executive, investor and entrepreneur. He currently serves as CEO of Oath, a global digital and mobile company that reaches more than one billion global consumers and partners with the world’s leading global brands. Oath owns close to 50 mobile and internet brands, including Yahoo, AOL, HuffPost, TechCrunch, Tumblr and other leading brands as well as global commerce and advertising platforms that support thousands of partners across the globe.

Oath became part of Verizon in 2015 after Verizon acquired publicly traded AOL Inc., where Armstrong was chairman and CEO. Prior to joining Oath and AOL, Armstrong spent almost a decade at Google, where he served as president of Google’s Americas Operations and senior vice president of Google Inc., as well as serving on the company’s global operating committee. He started his career by cofounding a newspaper in Boston, before moving into the internet industry, where he has worked as a team member, investor or cofounder at numerous companies, including Starwave, Snowball, Associated Content and Patch.

“VentureClash features some of the most promising international early-stage companies,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “Tim’s experience as a successful entrepreneur and startup investor will be invaluable for our finalists.”

In addition to Armstrong, VentureClash 2017 has partnered with the following organizations for this year’s competition: Aetna; Bank of Ireland’s Startlab; Boehringer Ingelheim; Dream Payments; Fiondella, Milone & LaSaracina LLP; General Dynamics Electric Boat; Health Venture; Magellan Health; Medtronic; Navigators; People’s United Bank; Pitney Bowes; Prudential; RBS/NatWest; Shipman & Goodwin; Sikorsky & Lockheed-Martin; Stanley, Black & Decker; Stanley Ventures; Synchrony Financial; The Hartford; The Jackson Laboratory; Travelers; Updike, Kelly & Spellacy; Webster Bank; Yale University; Yale New Haven Hospital; and Yale Office of Cooperative Research (OCR).

About VentureClash
Managed by Connecticut Innovations, VentureClash is Connecticut’s global venture challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge identifies high-potential companies in digital health, fintech, insurtech and the Internet of Things that will receive investments from a $5 million investment award pool. Learn more at www.ventureclash.com.

About Connecticut Innovations Inc.
Connecticut Innovations (CI) is the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies. To maximize the growth potential of each business, CI tailors its solutions and often combines its funds with resources from other financial leaders to provide venture capital and strategic support for early-stage technology companies; flexible loans for established companies with new innovations; grants that support innovation and collaboration; and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. For more information on CI, please visit www.ctinnovations.com.

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Contact: Lauren Carmody
Director of Marketing and Communications
Phone: (860) 258-7829
Email: lauren.carmody@ctinnovations.com

Connecticut’s $5 Million Global Venture Challenge Opens Applications to Early-Stage Companies

VentureClash 2017 focuses on attracting Internet of Things, digital health, fintech and insurtech companies.

ROCKY HILL, Conn., March 1, 2017 – Connecticut Innovations (CI), the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies, today announced the launch of the first-round application period for VentureClash. VentureClash is Connecticut’s $5 million global investment challenge for early-stage digital health, financial technology, Internet of Things and insurance technology companies.

“This year, we added two more industries that are rapidly growing and have the customers, investors and infrastructure in Connecticut to help companies thrive,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “In our second year of operation, VentureClash will offer additional partners that can provide valuable insight and business opportunities for our companies.”

Awards
The top award for the challenge will be a $1.5 million investment. There will be two second-place winners that will receive a $1 million investment, and up to three runners-up will each receive a $500,000 investment.

Application
The VentureClash challenge launches the first-round application on March 1, 2017. Companies will have until June 9, 2017, to submit the first-round application. After two rounds of judging, approximately 10 companies will be invited to Yale University on Friday, October 20, 2017, to compete in person for investment awards. An outside panel of judges will help to determine the winning companies of VentureClash 2017.

Eligibility
To be eligible to apply, a company must:
– Have been in business for at least 12 months
– Have paying customers or customers who are actively testing the applicant’s product
– Be willing to establish a Connecticut presence, which applies to domestic and international applicants
– Be focused in digital health, financial technology (fintech), insurance technology (insurtech) or Internet of Things (IoT)

For more information on qualifications, requirements, guidelines and application, visit www.ventureclash.com.

About VentureClash
Managed by Connecticut Innovations, VentureClash is Connecticut’s global venture challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge, launched in 2016, identifies high-potential companies in digital health, IoT, insurtech and fintech that will compete for investments from a $5 million award pool. For more information, visit www.ventureclash.com.

About Connecticut Innovations
Connecticut Innovations (CI) is the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies. CI provides venture capital and strategic support for early-stage technology companies; financial support for innovation and collaboration; and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. For more information, please visit www.ctinnovations.com.

Connecticut Innovations Invests $1.5 Million in Dream Payments

Top winner of VentureClash competition to use funds to support opening of Connecticut office.

Rocky Hill, Conn. – December 1, 2016 – Connecticut Innovations (CI), the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies, today announced that it invested $1.5 million in Dream Payments, a leading financial technology (fintech) company that provides a cloud-based mobile payment platform for merchants and financial institutions, and the 2016 top investment award winner of VentureClash.

The $1.5 million award will help to further fuel the growth of Dream’s market share and accelerate the company’s entry into the United States.

“CI is excited to close this deal with the top investment award winner of VentureClash,” said Matt McCooe, chief executive officer of Connecticut Innovations. “This company has a strong leadership team and we look forward to supporting the company’s expansion in the U.S. market.”

VentureClash, Connecticut’s $5 million global venture challenge managed by Connecticut Innovations, attracted nearly 200 applicants and culminated with a finals event on Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Yale School of Management in New Haven, Conn. Dream Payments was one of 11 finalists that presented to a broad judging panel of venture capitalists and innovation experts from leading firms – including Canaan Partners, Kepha Partners , OAK HC/FT and Point72 Ventures.

Dream Payments has a solid foothold in Canada in the payments-processing space and looks to expand its operations to the U.S. They plan to create up to 10 employee positions in Connecticut with this investment and will look to add a business development professional to help assist with its U.S. growth plans.

“The U.S. market is experiencing a major shift toward mobile commerce creating dramatic demand for Dream’s platform.” said Brent Ho-Young, CEO of Dream Payments. “We are thrilled to enter the U.S. market with the support of the State of Connecticut, which provides us strategic advantages in terms of proximity to our customers and partners such as CI, and access to a rich pool of specialized talent.”

For more information on qualifications, requirements, guidelines and application, visit  www.ventureclash.com.

About VentureClash
VentureClash is Connecticut Innovations’ global investment challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge, which launched in 2016, identifies high-potential companies that receive investments from a $5 million award pool and the support of resources around Connecticut. To learn more about the process, application, industry focus, partners and previous winners, visit  www.ventureclash.com.

About Connecticut Innovations
Connecticut Innovations (CI) is the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies. To maximize growth potential, CI provides venture capital and strategic support for early-stage technology companies; financial support for innovation and collaboration; and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. For more information, please visit www.ctinnovations.com.

About Dream Payments
Dream Payments is a financial technology company powering payments across mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) in partnership with financial institutions. Dream’s turnkey solutions include mobile point-of-sale (MPOS) applications, mobile payment terminals, remote device management, customer onboarding and secure payment processing. Dream connects financial institutions, merchant acquirers, retailers and value-added apps to deliver services that meet the demands of today’s businesses, and is the only platform that enables EMV payment terminals that accept Interac® Debit, Visa and MasterCard to be sold off-the-shelf with instant activation. Dream is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. For more information, please visit dreampayments.com.

Media Contact:
Lauren Carmody
lauren.carmody@ctinnovations.com 
860.258.7829

VentureClash Announces Winners of $5 Million Global Investment Challenge

Toronto-based financial services technology company, Dream Payments takes first-place $1.5 million investment award.

ROCKY HILL, Conn., October 24, 2016Connecticut Innovations (CI), the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies, today announced the winners of VentureClash, a $5 million global investment challenge for early-stage digital health and financial technology (fintech) companies.

Of the 11 finalists from eight different countries, VentureClash awarded six companies with investments, mentoring, customer introductions, grants and services to help them grow and succeed. As part of each deal, the winners are required to establish a presence in Connecticut.

Awards
Dream Payments, a Canada-based fintech cloud powering payments across mobile devices and the Internet of Things in partnership with financial institutions, received the top investment award of $1.5 million. Brent Ho-Young is the CEO of Dream Payments and presented on behalf of the company on October 20.

The second-place winner, which received a $1 million investment is Hubbub, a United Kingdom–based company providing digital fundraising solutions for the education and nonprofit sectors. Jonathan May is the CEO of Hubbub and accepted the award on behalf of his team.

Four companies received a $500,000 investment award. They included:

  • AMP Credit Technologies, a Hong Kong–based fintech company solving the $3 trillion demand for credit by small businesses around the world.
  • BondIT, an Israel-based company driving sales by empowering advisers with data-driven, personalized, optimal investment recommendations increasing trades and revenues.
  • LindaCare, a Belgium-based digital health company offering software solutions for healthcare providers to facilitate patient remote monitoring.
  • Streamdata.io, a France-based company developing software and infrastructures that help developers turn content into streams that easily integrate into front-end and back-end systems.

“This competition showcased an incredible display of talent from companies around the world,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “We have now completed the first step in the process with the awards. The next and more vital piece of this challenge will be getting the deals completed, and setting up a soft landing for the companies in the challenge who decide to open operations in Connecticut. We look forward to expediting that process and helping these companies gain traction in the U.S. market.”

The winners along with the five other finalists presented their business ideas in front of a live audience and a panel of judges on Thursday, October 20, at the Yale School of Management. The judges included subject matter and investor experts from athenahealth, Canaan Partners, Oak HC/FT, Kepha Partners, Magellan Health, and Point72 Ventures.

The top two investment awards also receive up to $100,000 each in grants for assistance with relocation and other expenses, and each runner-up investment award includes a $50,000 grant. All six winners will also receive $120,000 worth of IBM Cloud Credits, sponsored by IBM.

In addition to the company pitches, the VentureClash program also included two panel discussions, which included experts from companies like Yale New Haven Health System, Aetna, Medtronic and Flare Capital that focused on digital health; and experts from The Hartford, Webster Financial Corporation, AXA Strategic Ventures, Synchrony Financial and the Yale School of Management that spoke on trends in financial technology.

For more information on qualifications, requirements, guidelines and application, visit www.ventureclash.com.

About VentureClash
VentureClash is Connecticut Innovations’ global investment challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge identifies high-potential companies in digital health and fintech that will receive investments from a $5 million award pool and the support of resources around Connecticut.

About Connecticut Innovations Inc.
Connecticut Innovations (CI) is the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies. To maximize the growth potential of each business, CI tailors its solutions and often combines its funds with resources from other financial leaders to provide venture capital and strategic support for early-stage technology companies; flexible loans for established companies with new innovations; grants that support innovation and collaboration; and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. For more information on CI, please visit www.ctinnovations.com.

VentureClash Announces Finalists for Global Investment Challenge

Connecticut Innovations’ program brings together 11 early-stage digital health and fintech companies to compete for $5 million in investments.

ROCKY HILL, Conn., October 03, 2016Connecticut Innovations (CI), the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies, today announced the launch of VentureClash, a $5 million global investment challenge for early-stage digital health and financial technology (fintech) companies.

VentureClash attracted top early-stage digital health and financial technology (fintech) companies from around the world. CI now intends to support them with investments, mentoring, customer introductions, grants and services to help them grow and succeed in Connecticut. The challenge will provide one company with a top investment award of $1.5 million. The second-place winner will receive a $1 million investment, and up to four runners-up will each receive a $500,000 investment.

The 11 finalists from eight countries will present at the Yale School of Management on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, in front of a live panel of judges. Judges will include subject matter and investor experts from athenahealth, Canaan Partners, Oak HC/FT, Kepha Partners, Magellan Health and Point72 Ventures.

The VentureClash finalists include:

  • AMP Credit Technologies, a Hong Kong–based fintech company solving the $3 trillion demand for credit by small businesses around the world.
  • BondIT, an Israel-based company driving sales by empowering advisers with data-driven, personalized, optimal investment recommendations increasing trades and revenues.
  • Care Thread, a Rhode Island–based company connecting care teams in real time, so patient care delivery is accurate and efficient, saving money while reducing medical error.
  • CSIS, an Ireland-based company providing patient-centered clinical decision support software with a focus on optimizing patient prescribing.
  • Digital Contact Limited, a United Kingdom–based company providing real-time, analytical big data products and services for the financial industry, enabling traders and investors to make educated investment decisions faster.
  • Dream Payments, a Canada-based fintech cloud powering payments across mobile, connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) in partnership with financial institutions.
  • Hubbub, a United Kingdom­–based company providing digital fundraising solutions for the education and nonprofit sectors.
  • Liquidaty, a New York City–based company automating complex data tasks, reducing days or weeks to seconds, while seamlessly integrating internal or third-party data products.
  • LindaCare, a Belgium-based digital health company offering software solutions for healthcare providers to facilitate patient remote monitoring.
  • Linqto, a California-based company founded in response to millennials abandoning traditional banking in favor of fintech solutions.
  • Streamdata.io, a France-based company developing software and infrastructures that help developers turn content into streams that easily integrate into front-end and back-end systems.

“VentureClash received applications from nearly 200 strong and innovative companies,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “Over the past few months, we have come to know many of the entrepreneurs, and we’re confident Connecticut would be a great place for their companies to grow.”

The VentureClash application process included two rounds of judging, including a four-week accelerator for semifinalists that was powered by The Refinery. The Refinery, led by Janis Collins and Jennifer Gabler, successfully ported over their in-person program to a virtual program that included coaching, mentoring and vetting semifinalists in the challenge. The last week of VentureCamp gave semifinalists the opportunity to come to Connecticut, explore the area, and meet the VentureClash team.

“From start to finish, we wanted to provide semifinalists and finalists with an experience,” said Glendowlyn Thames, director of CTNext and project leader for VentureClash. “VentureCamp gave semifinalists the opportunity to learn more about doing business in Connecticut and helped them create connections that would make for a soft landing in our state. As we move into the finalist phase of the competition, we are excited about the caliber of the finalists and look forward to a lively competition in October.”

For more information on qualifications, requirements and the event itself, visit  www.ventureclash.com.

About VentureClash
VentureClash is Connecticut Innovations’ global investment challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge identifies high-potential companies in digital health and fintech that will receive investments from a $5 million award pool and the support of resources around Connecticut.

About Connecticut Innovations Inc.
Connecticut Innovations (CI) is the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies. To maximize the growth potential of each business, CI tailors its solutions and often combines its funds with resources from other financial leaders to provide venture capital and strategic support for early-stage technology companies; flexible loans for established companies with new innovations; grants that support innovation and collaboration; and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. For more information on CI, please visit www.ctinnovations.com.

Contact: Lauren Carmody
Director of Public Relations
Phone: (860) 258-7829
Email: lauren.carmody@ctinnovations.com

Connecticut Innovations Launches $5 Million Global Investment Challenge

VentureClash scans the globe for early-stage digital health and fintech companies.

ROCKY HILL, Conn., April 28, 2016Connecticut Innovations (CI), the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies, today announced the launch of VentureClash, a $5 million global investment challenge for early-stage digital health and financial technology (fintech) companies.

“VentureClash looks to attract the best early-stage companies here in Connecticut, around the country and throughout the world,” said Matt McCooe, CEO of Connecticut Innovations. “We will support companies with corporate, university, nonprofit and state resources to help high-growth enterprises succeed in Connecticut.”

Awards
The top award for the challenge will be a $1.5 million investment. The second-place winner will receive a $1 million investment, and four runners-up will each receive a $500,000 investment. Mentoring, grants and other assistance will also be provided to winners.

During the semifinalist round, applicants will also receive the benefit of going through VentureCamp, a four-week development and orientation program run by The Refinery, a leading Connecticut-based accelerator.

Application
The VentureClash challenge launches the first-round application on April 28, 2016. Companies will have until June 30, 2016, to submit the first-round application. After two rounds of judging, approximately 10 companies will be invited to Yale University on October 20, 2016, to compete in person for investment awards. Judges will include subject matter and investor experts from athenahealth, Canaan Partners, Greycroft Partners, Oak HC/FT, Kepha Partners, Magellan Health and Webster Bank.

Partners
To strengthen the initiative, VentureClash has identified several partners that will assist with customer connections, potential customer pilots, judging, mentoring and acceleration services. The 2016 VentureClash strategic partners include: The Hartford, The Jackson Laboratory, Magellan Health, Webster Bank, and Yale. VentureClash is also working closely with The Connecticut Department of Community and Economic Development (DECD) on program development and implementation.

Eligibility
To be eligible to apply, a company must meet the following requirements:

  • Have been in business for at least 12 months
  • Have paying customers or customers who are actively testing the applicant’s product
  • Companies must be willing to establish a Connecticut presence, which applies to domestic and international applicants
  • Companies must be focused in digital health or fintech

“We created VentureClash to help companies working in two very dynamic industries that are well-supported in our state so that we could help accelerate their growth,” said Glendowlyn Thames, director of Small Business Innovation and CTNext. “At the finals event in October, we’ll bring together the strongest applicants for pitches and networking with venture capital firms, partners and others.”

For more information on qualifications, requirements, guidelines and application, visit www.ventureclash.com.

About VentureClash
VentureClash is Connecticut Innovations’ global investment challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge identifies high-potential companies in digital health and fintech that will receive investments from a $5 million award pool and the support of resources around Connecticut.

About Connecticut Innovations Inc.
Connecticut Innovations (CI) is the leading source of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut’s innovative, growing companies. To maximize the growth potential of each business, CI tailors its solutions and often combines its funds with resources from other financial leaders to provide venture capital and strategic support for early-stage technology companies; flexible loans for established companies with new innovations; grants that support innovation and collaboration; and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. For more information on CI, please visit www.ctinnovations.com.

Contact: Lauren Carmody
Director of Public Relations
Phone: (860) 258-7829
Email: lauren.carmody@ctinnovations.com