NEWS: Delta Challenge pitch competition identifies three entrepreneurs as winners in Lafayette

November 16, 2015

LAFAYETTE, La. – The Delta Challenge pitch competition series has identified three more Delta Entrepreneurship Network fellows at its final pitch competition of the year on Saturday, November 14, Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill announced. The competition-hosted by INNOV8 Acadiana as part of its Technology and Entrepreneurial Summit-saw entrepreneurs from across Louisiana pitch their ideas for a fellowship with the Delta Entrepreneurship Network.

“We are excited to see the Delta Entrepreneurship Network grow so much in one year. The entrepreneurs pitching at these Delta Challenge competitions represent all that is good with our region-creativity, drive, and innovation,” Chairman Masingill said.

The DEN fellowship includes future training workshops and the opportunity to participate in a special segment of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week—produced by The Idea Village—in March 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Network fellows will showcase their ideas to investors, participate in programmatic workshops, and connect with fellow entrepreneurs, industry experts, and mentors.

“I'm proud that through the DEN and our partners like INNOV8 Acadiana, the DRA can connect entrepreneurs to the organizations, mentors, and investors that will help them achieve success. Congratulations to all those who pursuing their dreams and ideas; we look forward to working with these entrepreneurs in the coming months.”

The competition identified three winners to receive the DEN fellowship and one alternate:

  • Arun Lakhotia, Founder and CEO of Cythereal | Lafayette, LA: will bring to market Cy/Malweb, a platform to extract intelligence from malware quarantined by anti-malware systems to help identify targeted cyber attacks. Cythereal detects evolutionary trends in malware that are indicators of a persistent adversary attempting to beat the defenses.
  • Mark Savage, CEO of Viper Drill | Lake Charles, LA: Viper Drill improves the profitability and value of oil and gas wells by increasing the production from those wells with the use of government-sponsored research that predicts hydrocarbon recovery and the dramatic acceleration of that recovery.
  • Mark Moore, Innovator with Prep Tech LLC | Westlake, LA: Prep Tech is a new medical device that allows for pre-surgical skin preparation to be done in the preoperative holding area before the patient enters the operating room, eliminating approximately 5-10 minutes of valuable O.R./anesthesia time. At present the skin prep doesn't take place until after the patient is anesthetized.
  • Alternate-Joey Comeaux, Founder of CoverSix | Church Point, LA: CoverSix educates and trains companies on how to deal with the threat of an active shooter.

Each entrepreneur was given three minutes to pitch their idea to a panel of judges that represent business and community entities in Louisiana and have a background in entrepreneurship. The DEN utilizes existing entrepreneurial organizations in the region to host, promote, and support the competitions and participating entrepreneurs.

The competition in Lafayette concludes this year’s Delta Challenge pitch competition series after six held throughout the DRA’s eight-state footprint. The two top-scoring alternates from the competition series will receive the final two DEN fellowships and join the 20 winners of the competitions.

The Delta Challenge is part of the DRA’s Delta Entrepreneurship Network, which was created to identify, connect, nurture, and grow the entrepreneurial ecosystems that drive the Delta’s local and regional economies. The Network is addressing regional deficiencies in capital, training, and best practices for entrepreneurship through a connected infrastructure of support organizations, investors, and educators.

About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. Through its Small Business and Entrepreneurship Initiative, the DRA has invested $8.7 million in small businesses and entrepreneurs in the Delta, creating and retaining more than 1,250 jobs, training more than 1,400 entrepreneurs, and leveraging $16 million in other public and private investment. To learn more, visit dra.gov/entrepreneur.

Spencer Lucker
(202) 434-4842
slucker@dra.gov