Posted: Jun 12, 2012 3:34 PM by KATC
Updated: Jun 12, 2012 3:36 PM
Lafayette, LA - June 12, 2012 - On April 27, 2012 in the old LBA bank vault of the Acadiana Center for the Arts, inventors from around South Louisiana were given the opportunity to present their "big idea" to a panel of investors in hopes of taking their product to the next level.
According to Pete Prados, Chief Idea Officer at Lafayette based InventureWorks, "THE VAULT is a Louisiana version of ABC's Shark Tank, in which a panel of investors judge and potentially invest in individual ideas, inventions and concepts." THE VAULT was also one of the premier events of INNOV8, a city-wide entrepreneurial event held in Acadiana.
Only 20 of the 100+ inventors that came to InventureWorks prior to THE VAULT were chosen to pitch their ideas to the panel of 8 investors during the event with all inventors and investors signing non-disclosure forms to ensure the privacy of the ideas and products. After the pitch, a short question and answer session between the panel and inventors took place.
InventureWorks held pre-pitch sessions prior to the competition with all VAULT participants in order to better prepare them for their pitch presentations to the panel.
Of the 20 contestants chosen to compete, each had the unique opportunity to pitch their product to investors, with 11 ideas making it into the next round of discovery. A few of those 11 have already secured financial commitments to move their inventions to the next phase of due diligence and ultimately production of their idea.
The winner of the 2012 VAULT event and recipient of a new iPad, was Donaldson Juneau of Bunkie, LA. Donaldson was voted by the panel as being the "most innovative" for the pitch of his patented railroad tool that allows railroad workers to handle extremely heavy tracks more safely and efficiently.
Juneau initially came to InventureWorks after hearing about them from one of his family members. "I was immediately blown away by the interest they showed in my invention," said Juneau, a 33 year veteran in the railroad industry and Union Pacific Railroad manager. "I knew right away that this is exactly where I was supposed to be, and I was excited to finally have a chance to make my vision come to life."
Juneau's innovative solution came after seeing a direct need to improve on the tools he was dealing with on an everyday basis. Encouraged by his employer, his patented invention will potentially improve safety for railway workers handling tracks worldwide while also making the entire process more efficient.
During his pitch to the investors, Juneau even learned that one of the panel members permanently crushed a finger while moving pipe similarly to the way railway workers move rails. The investor said that if he had access to a tool like Donaldson's invention at the time of his accident, his injury might have been avoided.
Investors agreed that having a company like InventureWorks and recent events such as THE VAULT and INNOV8 for the public is greatly needed and beneficial to the entrepreneurs of Louisiana.
InventureWorks is a locally owned business that provides resources, consultation and partnership opportunities for entrepreneurs, inventors and individuals who dare to dream big.