Berks LaunchBox Idea TestLab announces 2023 ‘final pitch’ winners

Written by Lisa R. Baldi, Director of Strategic Communications at Penn State Berks.

The Berks LaunchBox powered by Penn State recently announced the winners of its Idea TestLab accelerator pitch competition. Mike Aman earned first place, Stacey Murrell of Master the Pieces took second place. Co-founders Vera Hempel and Kuba Kerner of Kiss UX took third place in the competition.

The competition started with 10 selected startups that received coaching to test their business ideas through customer discovery. The entrepreneurs met with potential customers, identified their target audience and value proposition, and created pitches. The program concluded with the pitch competition where teams competed for seed funding to continue their business development.

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Mike Aman, a 2003 Penn State graduate, secured $1,000 for his startup which focuses on easing the lives of aging parents.

Master the Pieces, a coaching, workshop and seminar facilitation company that empowers GenY and GenZ persons to dismantle negative belief systems, founded by Stacey Murrell, earned $600.

Kiss UX, a cloud-based tool to streamline communication of application concepts to designers and developers, co-founded by Vera Hempel and Kuba Kerner, won $400 and finished in third place.

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Competition judges included Jobany Bedoya, senior resource development director for United Way of Lancaster County and the owner of Diversity Mixers and Red Tie Affairs LLC; Chris Bradley, part-owner of i-core networks; Nicol Cancelmo, co-founder of OCOA; and Mark Trabbold, senior vice president of the strategic initiatives group at Ben Franklin Technology Partners.

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