Launch your idea into reality

Business Startup Competition

Congratulations to the 2019 Winners!

Congratulations to our PitchDIA 2019 winner, CritterBox!

Elite Lineman Training took second place and third place went to Musikbuk. All of the pitches were fantastic, and the crowd turnout was amazing. Thank you to everyone who participated and to everyone who attended!

CritterBox

CritterBox

Judges

DIA is pleased to announce the judges for this year’s Pitch DIA competition: Dr. Marilyn Helms of the Wright School of Business, Piet Dossche of US Floors, Jamie Hamilton of Atlanta Seed Co, and Santosh Sankar of Dynamo Ventures. 

The selection committee for the Dalton Innovation Accelerator is pleased to announce the 2019 PitchDIA competition judges.  The panel is composed of community leaders and organizers who will choose a pitch winner based on the uniqueness of the idea, financial viability, economic benefit to the larger regional area, and opportunity for success.

Piet Dossche

President of USFloors & EVP, Hard Surface at Shaw Industries, started his career in the Flooring Industry in 1981 with the Beaulieu Group in Belgium and moved one year later to the UK where he became Managing Director of their UK manufacturing plant. In 1990, Dossche and his family moved to the United States where he would preside over several companies owned by Beaulieu of America, based in Dalton, GA. In 2001, Piet left Beaulieu of America and started USFloors Inc. During the past 14 years, USFloors has grown to become the floor covering industry leader in cork, bamboo, oiled finished hardwood floors, and engineered LVT floors.

Jamie Hamilton

Managing Director of Atlanta Seed Co, is responsible for the formulation and implementation of the investment strategy. He has an extensive background in alternative investments, with a focus on early-stage technology. Hamilton began his career with Capital Investments, Inc. (Member FINRA / SIPC) where he focused exclusively on private placements of equity for high net worth individuals. He has been a prolific early-stage investor in Atlanta and while at Hamilton Ventures he invested in companies such as BrightWhistle, Pindrop Security, and PlayON! Sports.

Santosh Sankar

Founding Partner of Dynamo Ventures, a Chattanooga-based early-stage fund that invests in extraordinary founding teams building startups in supply chain and mobility. Prior to Dynamo, Santosh worked in investment banking and built two bootstrapped businesses prior to turning 21. Santosh is a proud graduate of Penn State University. He now lives in Chattanooga, TN with his wife, son, and two golden retrievers. He was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 List in 2017.

Dr. Marilyn Helms

Dean of the Wright School of Business, Holds a Doctorate of Business Administration Degree (as well as an M.B.A. and B.B.A.) from the University of Memphis (TN). She is a Certified Fellow in Production and Inventory Management (CFPIM), a Certified Integrated Resources Manager (CIRM), Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution (CLTD), and a Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) of the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS). She also holds the Certified Quality Management/Organizational Excellence from the American Society for Quality (ASQ).

  • Grand Prize
  • 2nd Place
  • 3rd Place

Grand Prize winners will receive:

  • A cash award of $5,000
  • Office space in Downtown Dalton – rent free for the first six months (provided by Barrett Properties)
  • A quick start website package, including one year of free web hosting and up to 5 email accounts (provided by InventureIT)
  • Up to 20 hours in technology consulting services (provided by InventureIT)
  • Legal services, including LLC formation, operating agreement, lease agreement, and up to 10 hours of attorney services (provided by The Minor Firm)
  • Accounting services (provided by the Morehouse Group)
  • Free membership with the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce
  • Checking Account and Business checks, as well as Financial and SBA Loan guidance (provided by BB&T)
  • Logo design (provided by Luna Design)
  • Marketing, Social Media, Accounting, and Strategic Planning guidance (provided by Dalton State College Wright School of Business)
  • Guidance from and exposure to some of the community’s top entrepreneurs and professionals 
  • Free payroll services for up to 20 employees for 1 year (provided by Direct Paychecks, Inc)
  • 2 years of free licensing for QuickBooks Online plus help with setup (provided by Marcelli Bookkeeping Services)

Second Place winners will receive:

  • A cash award of $500
  • Office space in Downtown Dalton – rent free for the first six months (provided by Barrett Properties)
  • A quick start website package, including one year of free web hosting (provided by InventureIT)
  • Up to 8 hours in technology consulting services (provided by InventureIT)
  • Legal services, including LLC formation, operating agreement, and lease agreement (provided by The Minor Firm)
  • Guidance from and exposure to some of the community’s top entrepreneurs and professionals
  • Free payroll services for up to 20 employees for 6 months (provided by Direct Paychecks, Inc)

Third Place winners will receive:

 

  • A cash award of $500
  • A quick start website package, including one year of free web hosting (provided by InventureIT)
  • Legal services, including LLC formation, operating agreement, and lease agreement (provided by The Minor Firm)
  • Guidance from and exposure to some of the community’s top entrepreneurs and professionals
  • Free payroll services for up to 20 employees for 3 months (provided by Direct Paychecks, Inc)

Investor RSVP

A message from our 2018 Pitch Winner

About Le-Glue

12-year-old Tripp Phillips won first place in the Innagural PitchDIA contest on May 15, 2018 by presenting Le-Glue—a non-permanent glue that binds LEGOs and other building blocks together without damaging them. Tripp proceeded to compete on the TV show Shark Tank, winning a deal with Kevin O’Leary for $80,000 in exchange for 25% of Le-Glue’s shares.  Following the Shark Tank deal, Le-Glue was invited to exhibit at the 2019 New York Toy Fair. To learn more about Tripp’s great idea, please visit Le-Glue’s website

PitchDIA is a competition for startup entrepreneurs in the Dalton area. The 2019 competition was held on October 8, 2019!

DIA is an association of seasoned entrepreneurs, professionals, and community volunteers, aimed at furthering entrepreneurial growth in the Dalton-Whitfield County area. The Accelerator was formed in 2017 with an initial goal of establishing an annual startup competition called PitchDIA.  Learn more about the Accelerator by clicking here!    

The primary goal of the PitchDIA competition is to further entrepreneurial growth in the north Georgia area. Not only will the winners of the competition enjoy significant startup funding, free office space, and other prizes, participants will also benefit from significant exposure to seasoned businesspersons and professionals with deep connections in our community. Whether you’re an individual pitching an idea written on a back of a napkin, an experienced business with an R&D offshoot looking to launch, or a company already in the second round of fundraising … we believe your ideas have a place in this competition. Any startup in need of guidance, funding, or an “in” would definitely benefit from participating in PitchDIA, but many investors are planning to be in attendance regardless of your need for prizes.  

The application deadline for the 2019 competition has passed.  Keep working on your idea and check back for instructions on applying for the 2020-2021 competition!

   The advisory panel will take several factors into consideration including the market opportunity for the idea, the overall business model of the idea, the capabilities of the management team, and the strength of product/service offering.  

Yes!  Members of the DIA team will be available to meet with Semifinalists to discuss your pitch and presentation before the 2019 PitchDIA event.

Winners of PitchDIA 2019 will receive prizes valued at over $30,000 and prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place teams.  Details on each prize package are listed above in the Awarded Prizes section.

 Investors will be in attendance, some investors are involved in the establishment of the competition itself and others investors (and their firms) will be in attendance for the competition itself. If you are an accredited investor and would like to attend, please RSVP using the form below. Accredited investors who RSVP will have additional materials made available to them on the portfolio of pitches during and after the event.

   We do encourage people from the community to attend. Selected applicants and their stakeholders, members of the Dalton Innovation Accelerator advisory board, judges, invited guests, invited investors, and guests who RSVP may be given priority over the general public if space becomes a concern. But, we don’t expect that to become an issue.    

    The best way to get involved in the pitch competition, whether as a mentor or investor, is through the Dalton Innovation Accelerator. There will be more information about DIA in the near future and that information will be published here as it becomes available.  

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