LaunchVT Demo Night celebrates entrepreneurs, awards cash and services

Vermont Business Magazine Over 300 business-minded community members gathered at Hula to support LaunchVT’s 2023 cohort at Demo Night, the program’s annual pitch competition and celebration of entrepreneurship. The 2023 cohort presented their businesses to the audience and a panel of investor judges, including Geoff Strawbridge, Janice St. Onge, and Michael Metz. Two businesses walked away with cash awards, and all eight will receive professional services from local businesses worth over $100,000. 

Demo Night marks the end of LaunchVT’s annual twelve-week intensive accelerator program, where entrepreneurs in the cohort work with dedicated business coaches and strategic advisors to address their startup’s most pressing needs, including refining their business models, developing their go-to-market strategies, and preparing for future fundraising and investment.  

This is the eleventh year LaunchVT has run the accelerator program and annual Demo Night. 

“This year’s cohort was a joy to work with, every founder was so dedicated. With the program extended two extra weeks on top of the introduction of new curricula, I was impressed with how everyone really stepped up. This year was particularly demanding, and the resilience and determination of these outstanding entrepreneurs were on full display,” said LaunchVT’s Director, Lauren Bass. “And then to have Demo Night being the largest ever, that was just the icing on top. The degree of exposure and publicity these startups will enjoy makes all the hard work worth it for them.” 

If you missed their pitches on Demo Night, you can replay the live stream by visiting

Taking home the $15,000 Lake Champlain Chamber Award grand prize was Plink!. Founded by Max Luthy and Luke Montgomery-Smith of Richmond. Plink!’s awarding-winning electrolyte tablets make drinking water fun for the whole family without the waste of canned and bottled drinks.  

Winning the $5,000 Audience Choice Award was Sleep Well Recycling. Founded by Joshua Costa of Burlington, Sleep Well Recycling diverts and recycles mattresses by converting them into raw recyclable materials and keeping them out of landfills.

In addition to the cash awards, the 2023 LaunchVT cohort has been matched with LaunchVT’s generous service partners to provide them with expert professional support where they need it most. “The Lake Champlain Chamber’s mission is to create economic opportunity for all Vermonters, and LaunchVT is one of the ways we do that,” said Lake Champlain Chamber President Cathy Davis. “None of this could be possible without the remarkable support of our sponsors and the exceptionally generous time provided by our coaches, learning session guest facilitators, and mentors. They are the engines that fuel our program and provide the tools and guidance shared with each entrepreneur.”

The 2023 cohort included the additional startups who presented at Demo Night:

  • DairyDirt

    • Founders: Brendan O’Brien, Terry Therrien, Ryan Lau, Michael Curtis

    • Starksboro, VT and Chester, VT

  • DandyLion

    • Founder: Ashley Farland

    • Starksboro, VT

  • LOGIC Building Systems

    • Founders: Jason Van Nest, Jim Verzino

    • Brattleboro, VT

  • PurplCouch

    • Founder: Sarah Lyman

    • Vergennes, VT

  • QOR360

    • Founders: Dr. Turner Osler, MD, Lex Osler

    • Burlington, VT

  • Tacitly

    • Founders: Jeffrey DeJarnette, Luke Kosby

    • Rutland, VT 

LaunchVT is made possible thanks to their amazing partners, including Ari Souliotis, Arion Thiboumery, BTVIgnite, Burlington Telecom,, Casey Johnson, Cicada, Codingscape, Consolidated Communications, David Schmidt, Davis & Hodgdon, Dinse P.C., Delta Dental, Dinse, Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC, Doug Merrill, Dudley Fund, Forecast LLC, FreshTracks Capital, Inner Citadel Consulting, Jason Dolatshahi, JHCapital, Gallagher, Flynn & Company, LLP, Green Mountain Power, Hula, HR Happens, Jeff Chu, Jim Frazier, Jim Feinson, Lee Bouyea, Leonardo’s Pizza, Matanya Horowitz, Merrill Family Foundation, Merritt & Merritt, Moulton Law Group, NFP, National Bank of Middlebury, Northfield Savings Bank, Myla Lai-Goldman, National Bank of Middlebury, Neil Bainton, Resonance, Rho Impact, Ruth and Peter Metz Family Foundation, M&T Bank, Northeast Delta Dental, NFP, Rho Impact, Scout Media, Sugarsnap, Tom Messner, The University of Vermont Office of Research, Vermont Department of Economic Development, VSECU, Vermont Economic Development Authority, Vermont Federal Credit Union, and Vermont Startup News. To see a full list of our partners and the foundations supporting our work visit our Partners page.   

LaunchVT provides business acceleration programs and resources that empower Vermonters to solve problems and create economic opportunities in their communities. LaunchVT is a division of the Lake Champlain Chamber, Vermont’s largest business advocacy organization. The Lake Champlain Chamber powers prosperity in the Lake Champlain region through five distinct points: seeking economic opportunity for all; celebrating business ownership and entrepreneurship; promoting a robust, diversified visitor economy; cultivating community leadership; and nurturing emerging talent.

Source: BURLINGTON, VT (June 23, 2023) -  Lake Champlain Chamber