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Three Start-ups Win Big at Idaho Statewide Business Competition

June 3, 2009View for printing

Three start-ups are a little richer and better prepared for seeking financing and investment following a day of competition at TechLaunch 6.0, held in Boise May 27. Adrenity Media Networks of Meridian, Idaho won the Entrepreneurial Idol package including a $10,000 prize sponsored by the Idaho National Lab and an office package at VengaWorks Venture Center in Meridian, Idaho. Ecowell of Pullman, Washington won the Next Gen event and an award package valuing $5,000. Good Earth Bio-Solutions of Idaho Falls, Idaho won the Perkins Coie People’s Choice Award of $5,000.

“Each year, the competition at TechLaunch is more intense,” said Melanie Rubocki, Idaho TechConnect Chairman of the Board and Managing Partner of Perkins Coie. “The talent and ideas in the room are inspiring. The judges really had their work cut out for them this year. Perkins Coie is proud to be a Sponsor.”

Adrenity Media Network CEO Dave Abajian agrees, “Start ups get the rare opportunity to get feedback on their business models and presentations from a highly respected panel of experienced judges and network with investors and other entrepreneurs.”

A total of thirteen companies participated in the sixth year of TechLaunch, Idaho TechConnect’s business competition that puts local start-up companies in the spotlight and provides them the opportunity to pitch their product/service to a panel of judges. Judges represented the financing food chain and included commercial bankers, angel investors, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.

Next Gen judges included Dr. Melinda Hamilton, Director, Idaho National Lab’s Education Programs; Carolyn Harrison, Managing Partner, The Harrison Group; Glenn Michael, Partner, Highway 12 Ventures; Lori Otter, Idaho’s First Lady; Brice Sloan, CFO, Sloan Security Group; Dr. Ken Smith, Dean of the College of Business, Idaho State University; and Barbara Ueckert, VP Customer Services/Operations and Co-Founder Insticomm.

Entrepreneurial Idol judges included Don Dietrich, Director, Idaho Department of Commerce; Mary Givens, Director, Office of Technology Transfer, Boise State University; Jefferson Jewell, Co-Founder/Managing Partner, Blackfin Technology, Chair, Idaho Innovation Council; Len Jordan, Partner, Frazier Technology; Damon Kirchmeier, Partner, InnoVentures Capital Partner; Phil Reed, Partner, Highway 12 Ventures; John Rubocki, CFO, Bully Dog Technologies; and Christian Schiller, Managing Director, Cascadia Capital.

Good Earth Bio-Solutions CEO Mark Christensen walked away with a clearer understanding of his business, mission and how to better serve customers. “We have a community that actively engages and embraces innovation. We found the process to be rewarding and educational as our community helped us prepare.”

In addition to the invaluable opportunity to present before a panel of potential investors, Brian Boler, Founder and Director of Operations of Ecowell, based in Pullman, Washington noted that it was a great networking event. “The unique feature of TechLaunch compared to most other business plan competitions is that it brought student teams together from schools throughout the west coast. It was like the all-star game of business plan competitions.”

Approximately 100 entrepreneurs, would-be-entrepreneurs, investors and others interested in starting a business attended the event and witnessed first hand the creativity, passion and enthusiasm the entrepreneurs have for their ideas.

Added Abajian, “You can’t beat the experience. It’s a terrific event for entrepreneurs.”

TechLaunch 6.0 was sponsored by Idaho TechConnect, Idaho National Laboratory, Perkins Coie, Idaho Economic Development Association, Idaho Department of Commerce, Rocky Mountain Power, Bannock Development Corp., Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization, Eastern Idaho Economic Development Partners, Regional Development Alliance, Grow Idaho Falls, and VengaWorks Venture Center.

About Adrenity Founded in 2008, Adrenity Media Networks, Inc. is creating a national media network dedicated to providing background music and advertising in retail stores. Using IP-based technologies, Adrenity offers retailers two compelling value propositions - cost savings on background music and cost effective access to in-store ads that generate revenue. For more information about Adrenity Media Networks, Inc., contact Dave Abajian at 208-489-0020, ext.70151 or email at

About Good Earth Bio-Solutions, L.L.C. The municipal solid waste industry in the United States is under tremendous pressure from government and society to divert significant amounts of waste from the nation’s landfills. Good Earth Bio-Solutions, founded in 2008, uses its own proprietary microbial process that quickly and efficiently turns organic waste into a valuable, nutrient-rich soil amendment; thus keeping landfill operators in compliance with regulations and mandates, avoiding costly fines and penalties, generating valuable carbon credits, producing a resalable soil amendment and saving significant landfill space for future revenue. For additional information about Good Earth Bio-Solutions, L.L.C, contact Mark Christensen at 208-757-3760 or email at

About Ecowell Ecowell is about Pure Change. Our mission is to fundamentally transform the vending industry from a major source of litter and waste to a change agent where beverage products are available to consumers at half the price of traditional bottled beverages. We will design, deploy, and manage, a network of litter-free vending kiosks located in the best high value, high traffic locations where we can have the greatest impact and consumer reach. The business model will not only eliminate litter waste, but economic waste in the distribution channel. This will create higher margin sales opportunities at lower consumer price points. Traditional vending models with high price points will become non-competitive, ultimately transforming the traditional vending industry. Ecowell was the 2009 Washington State University Undergraduate League Winner. For more information, contact Brian Boler at 509-528-1272 or by email at

About Idaho TechConnect

Idaho TechConnect is the state’s first and only private-public non-profit organization focused solely on technology – its development, transfer and commercialization – all of which impact the state’s economy. Formalized in April 2006 as a statewide entity, TechConnect is a catalyst bridging ideas, research and patents and the enabling people, money and facilities. Seven regional offices assist Idaho entrepreneurs and businesses in turning ideas into products, establishing and growing R&D programs, seeking funding and competing in the global marketplace. TechLaunch is the signature event of TechConnect. To date, 37 companies have participated in TechLaunch, garnering more than $37 million in R&D and investment capital. More information is available at
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