Win your first Tranche of investment and a spot in our 12-Week Start Up Accelerator

Seed Funding, Mentors, Subject Matter Experts and Follow On Investor Contacts


2017 New Ventures Challenge

A business idea competition that offers startup teams the opportunity to win seed funding and enter the Flywheel New Ventures Accelerator. Winning teams will be awarded cash prizes and follow-up investments with an average $50,000 investment per team in return for a 7.5% equity stake.


Powered by Flywheel Coworking in Winston-Salem, NC

Flywheel administers the Challenge on behalf of the New Ventures, provides workspace for selected challenge teams during the finalists briefing and final pitch weekend, runs the accelerator, and organizes the resources and mentors for development of teams’ concepts and commercialization plans.


New Ventures Backs the Challenge

The New Ventures Investment Club is a limited pool of local investors, both accredited and non- accredited, organized under the Federal 506 exemption and operates as an investment club structured as an LLC with a member operating agreement governing use of funds and process for investment decisions. All members are active investors.

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Selected from the pool of applicants, up to eight teams will be deemed winner and be accepted into the Flywheel New Ventures Accelerator and awarded the following cash prizes as the first tranche of an average $50,000 investment per team:

$35,000 first prize

$15,000 second prize

$10,000 third prize

$5,000 for up to five runner-ups

Additional investments will be based on milestone achievement as teams progress through the accelerator. For more information, please see Terms and Conditions.

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The New Ventures Challenge 2017 startup competition is accepting applications from formative and early-stage entrepreneurial companies with web and mobile software, hardware or device innovation ideas.
The challenge is broad based and will consider any ideas in the categories of Business or Consumer Software Development and Applications, IT and Informatics, High Technology, and Device Innovation. The New Ventures Challenge 2017 has particular interest in ideas that intersect with the following domains:

  • Digital health
  • Medical devices
  • 3-D printing applications
    and systems
  • Wellness tech
  • Financial and Insurance tech
  • Advanced textiles
    (especially those intersecting
    with biomed and nanotech)

  • Wearable tech
  • IOT microelectronics and software
  • Logistics and supply chain
    management systems and   technologies
  • Aerospace systems and design
  • Arts entrepreneurship
  • Social innovation

Selected teams will benefit from the high concentration of biotech and tech companies in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, and from Flywheel’s significant programmatic investment in developing market skills in software development, data analytics, internet and cloud technology. In addition to pre- and post-revenue startup teams and companies, student teams from accredited higher education institutions are encouraged to apply. Refer to eligibility requirements and terms for more information.

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Applications Open

December 27th, 2016


Deadline for Applications

March 31st 2017, 11:50 PM EDT


Round 1 Judging

April 8 - April14, 2017


Finalists Announced, Round 2 begins

April 14, 2017


Finalists Briefing

April 22, 2017


Final Pitches - Winners Announced

May 6, 2017


Due Diligence

May 8 - June 2, 2017


Accelerator Begins

June 5, 2017


Accelerator Demo Day

September 8, 2017

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Experience rapid development, educational workshops and a disciplined lean startup process taught by experienced entrepreneurs and tech mentors over a 3-month acceleration and 2-month follow-up

Interact with a pool of over 40 experienced mentors with expertise in startups, the full technology stack, finance, legal, customer development, sales and marketing

Get connected to the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, a premier urban research, technology and innovation community with clusters of academic research, startups and technology companies

Present to New Ventures investors and top southeast angel and venture capital investors.

Interact with and present to top corporate and healthcare technology, innovation, and venture development executives.

Get introduced regionally and nationally to second stage seed and Series A investment fund managers.

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Teams that advance to the accelerator can qualify for an average investment of $50,000.*


The Accelerator is an intense three-month regimen through which startups develop ideas into investor-ready functional business models. Teams are taken through a rigorous lean-startup method with weekly workshops and milestones.
The educational program that accompanies the investment and mentorship is one of the most important ways that the Accelerator’s management team can positively influence startup success and also the area where Flywheel can most differentiate its model from other accelerators. Flywheel’s principals and New Venture Investors are involved at every step. Because of the pressures on founder time and founder focus, it’s critical that the education program consist of only the most important topics, covered in a concise way that is easily and immediately applicable.

*Please refer to Terms and Conditions before applying.

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Participants in the Accelerator receive a membership at Flywheel Coworking in Downtown Winston-Salem. Learn more about Flywheel here and view our slick 360-degree virtual tour below.


Focus is placed on both refining the business concept and value innovation (making the competition irrelevant). Emphasis is on the business idea development and understanding core concepts of product and customer portfolios, market position and Blue Ocean strategies.
Key milestones at the conclusion of Week 4 include first development steps toward design of an MVP (or next iteration) and meeting needs of early adopters .


Focus is on building and testing Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in the form of functioning software, infrastructure and/or device prototype. This phase involves structured interactions with early adopter and customers, continuous refinement of MVP, and confirmation of customer and market channels. The key milestone for this stage is defined as an MVP and initial customer acceptance.

Informing Customer Relations: Networking, Pitch Practice, Marketing, Sales and Service, Communications, PR and Branding
Key Concepts: Strategic Alliances, Colllaboration, Industry Clusters, Resource Sharing, Co-Branding, Purchasing Partnerships, Co-Production

Critical path toward Week Six milestones.

WEEKS 9-12

Focus continues on building and testing MVP and preparing for Demo Day. Emphasis on metrics and validation that founders have created an attractive business concept, a strong organizational plan, are developing good client/customer relations, and will achieve profitable operations.

Informing Customer Development: Partnerships, Pitch Practice, Sales Process Chain, Sales Activity Plan, Sales Arguments, Sales Objections
Key Operational Concepts: Financials, Production and Delivery, Funding and Internal Process Systems

Critical path toward Weeks Ten and Twelve milestones.


Follow-up residency allows teams to continue receiving guidance, sales and marketing coaching involvement from mentors as they develop market traction and scale thier customer base. Teams benefit from the financial support in the form of initial equity investment, but also the quality of the Accelerator's domain, legal and infrastructure support, a strong mentorship network, and robust relationships and seed investors.


Please review the terms and conditions, and then click below to begin your application.