A crop of local startups got a taste of the shark tank as they pitched to one of the region’s corporate giants last week.
Lighthouse Labs’ 2017 class of six startups gathered at Capital One on Nov. 16, in a bid for $15,000 in grants at the financial company’s West Creek campus.
The event marked the end of Lighthouse Labs’ fifth annual accelerator program. The group provides local startups with office space, local mentors, business classes and $20,000 in no-strings-attached funding.
Last week’s pitches were the startups’ shot at extra cash, with Capital One awarding $5,000 to the top company, $4,000 and $3,000 to second and third place, and $1,000 each to the remaining three.
Founders from each company presented to an audience of roughly 200, who then voted digitally for the winners.
RoundTrip, a healthcare software startup which coordinates patients and healthcare providers for non-emergency medical transportation, took home the $5,000 top prize.
RoundTrip’s chief technology officer Ankit Mathur said the company likely will put the extra funds into technology and marketing. The startup is operational in seven states throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and plans to go live in Richmond by yearend.
Rounding out the top three at the Capital One event were AnswersNow, an online service connecting parents of children with autism with therapists, and Pay Your Tuition, an online platform that helps students pay for college through a hybrid of bank loans and crowdfunding.
The 2017 class operated for the last few months out of Evatran’s office in the HandCraft building in Scott’s Addition.
One of Lighthouse’s class members, Blueswipe, already has ventured beyond the accelerator program to bring in new funding. The payment processing startup closed on a $450,000 capital raise in August.
With the 2017 accelerator program in the books, Lighthouse continues to provide its startups with office space for an additional three months at The Annex in Shockoe Bottom, which recently was sold as a part of a $1.5 million multi-building deal.