From the Shreveport Times/Gannett Media – Link to story: Click HERE for Startup Prize Winner story
A Pittsburgh startup making consumer technology accessible to disabled individuals took home the top prize for the Louisiana Startup Prize on Sunday.
“It’s been a great experience … and this is an honor,” said Ray Abel, chief operating officer for Bansen Labs, at a Sunday brunch announcement at the Petroleum Club.
The Pittsburgh-based startup creates technology products that enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities. Its first product, Xogo, is an adapter that empowers people with disabilities to play console video games using the assistive technology that works for them, according to the company website.
Abel said from collaboration with fellow entrepreneurs to the visible excitement experts and investor judges showed over products and services of the six finalists, the Startup Prize was an “amazing” experience.
“To us, it’s about the spirit and the collective,” said Startup Prize founder Gregory Kallenberg. “It’s about the fact that you guys are all here together … and if nothing else to connect with one another and to support one another and help build yourselves into better companies.”
That dedicated effort to foster collaboration makes the competition special, said Mark Newberg, director of impact strategies at Womble Carlyle, one of the nation’s largest business law firms.
He said while startups compete for a grand prize of more than $75,000 worth of cash and services, the collaboration that occurs in the process is unique.
“When you come in and say ‘I want to help you, and you might want to help me. And I don’t particualrly want anything from you before I help you,’ that is special. And that is here,” he said.
Bansen Labs was one of six finalists showcasing products, services and solutions to a host of investor judges during this weekend’s final round.
The other finalists include:
- Cast 21 | Urbana, Illinois
A startup creating a lattice-structure cast that can be applied universally to conform to any amorphous shape, thus creating a form-fitting, breathable cast.
- Feather | Memphis, Tennessee
Offers seniors and their families access to reliable, quality and consistent care that meets their specific needs and schedule through a web and mobile app
- Segue Therapeutics | Shreveport, Louisiana
Biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery and medical use of re-purposed drugs to treat pancreatic cancer.
- Vega Coffee | New York, New York & Leon, Nicaragua
An online coffee company focused on aiding native coffee growers by connecting them directly with their customers.
- Viper Drill | Lake Charles, Louisiana
A radial drilling system that improves oil and gas recoveries from existing wells creating a series of drainage tunnels that radiate out from the wellbore.