Winners of The Big Launch Challenge were announced on May 19th at The Launch Place in Danville, Virginia.  Camras Vision, a FFVC resident company, won first place.  Tom & Jenny’s Candy and Velosal Medical tied for second place.  


Camras Vision, Velosal Medical and Tom & Jenny’s Candy – Winners of The Big Launch Challenge

Danville, Va. (May 20, 2015) – Camras Vision, a medical device company focused on stopping the progression of glaucoma, took home the top prize of $15,000 for first place. There was a tie for second place between Tom & Jenny’s Candy, a naturally-sweetened, cavity-preventing and diabetic-friendly candy company, and Velosal Medical, a medical device company with a video laryngoscope.

The Big Launch Challenge is a joint venture between The Launch Place from Danville, Virginia and First Flight Venture Center from the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina designed to showcase business plans for innovative ideas in a competitive environment. This year 6 finalists were chosen from thirty-seven applicants from nine different state to present to a panel of judges on May 19, 2015, at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, Virginia.

Camras Vision has created the Camras Shunt, a patented device that provides the first-ever personalized pressure control to attain the highest level of efficacy in stopping glaucoma progression. The Camras Shunt provides an unprecedented long-term solution that is bundled in a safe, quick, and simple surgery. No current therapy can achieve a personalized pressure in the eye to prevent vision loss for all patients.

Tom & Jenny’s Candy creates naturally-sweetened, cavity-preventing and diabetic-friendly candies that do not compromise on taste. Founded by a dentist in her home kitchen, Tom & Jenny’s developed an innovative sugar-free caramel preferred over sugar caramels by 60% of blind taste-testers, and which is attracting growing consumer attention. The candies use an innovative blend of natural sweeteners that have been proven to reduce cavity-causing bacteria by up to 70%. Additionally, the candies have a low glycemic index and have fewer calories than standard sugar candy.

Velosal Medical, Inc. develops innovative medical devices for critical care and emergency medicine. Velosal is committed to acquiring, developing and commercializing products that reduce risk and improve patient outcomes. The company plans to introduce its first product during 2016, the VAIDb -First Pass laryngoscope.

“This Challenge allows us to identify potential candidates for possible investment into their new starts-ups through the Seed Fund, or the Pre-Seed Investment Program, if they meet our criteria,” said Eva Doss, President and CEO of The Launch Place. “The Launch Place has the unique capacity to work with serial and emerging entrepreneurs in need of seed funding and other business support services.”

The keynote speaker and moderator for the event is Troy Knauss.  Troy is Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, of the Angel Resource Institute, a non-profit spinout of the Kauffman Foundation focused on education and research initiatives for early-stage investors. Troy is a partner in a number of Angel funds and networks that invest in high-growth and turnaround companies. Troy has over 20 years of experience in family, growth, and start-up businesses. In addition to his fund activities, Troy is an exited entrepreneur with start-up and growth management experience in food processing, brand building, software development, and eCommerce companies. Troy is an active investor in more than forty ventures.

More Information about the finalists:

Contact Information for each Company:

Camras Vision
Ray Krauss
215-262-9977 cell
[email protected]

Tom and Jenny’s Candy
Tommy Thekkekandam
email: [email protected]
mobile: 585-612-1417

Velosal Medical
Duane Tester, RPh, MBA
Chief Operating Officer
[email protected]

Indexus Biomedical
Chiranjit Deka
[email protected]

SeaChange Technologies
Dipak Mahato, PhD | Founder
Mobile: 919-601-9500
[email protected]

GO Leaf
Arsheen Allam
[email protected]

CONTACT: Kelly Fitzgerald
Marketing Manager
(434) 799-5491 ext. 226
[email protected]


About The Launch Place

Awarded a $10 million grant from the Danville Regional Foundation in July 2013, The Launch Place increased its capacity to offer business consulting services and expanded to include entrepreneurship recruitment, development and retention resources and assistance, including seed investments.

Founded in 2005 as a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit organization, The Launch Place strives to energize and diversify Southern Virginia’s regional economy through entrepreneurship development and business consulting services.

About First Flight Venture Center

Founded in 1992, First Flight Venture Center was created to foster innovation and grow sustainable companies. Today, First Flight is one of the nation’s largest and most stable incubators, playing host to more than 37 high-science, high-impact annually. In total, First Flight company startups number 267 and growing. Several of the most notable graduates include United Therapeutics (NASDAQ: UTHR), SciQuest (NASDAQ: SQI) Athenix (acquired by Bayer, NASDAQ: BAYRY), Advanced Liquid Logic (acquired by Illumina, NASDAQ: ILMN), Bloodhound Technologies (acquired by Verisk), Ganymede Software (acquired by NETIQ IPO) and Exam Design (acquired by Person PLC, NASDAQ: PSO).