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DreamHaven Pitch Competition Overview

The 2012 DreamHaven Pitch Competition (DPC) was conducted on January 21, 2012.  It was hosted by DreamHaven and sponsored by First Merchants Bank, MainSource Bank, The City of Portland, Jay County Economic Development and The Chamber of Commerce.  Teams competed for $5,000 in prizes and had the opportunity to meet three early stage investors and successful entrepreneurs serving as competition judges:

  • John Wechsler – One of the directors of DeveloperTown in Indianapolis, John has successfully started numerous software companies including FormSpring, a tier one technology company and is currently the CEO of Musical DNA.  His expertise in the tech-based startup category is unparalleled.
  • David Bolling – A Redkey native, David is currently serving as CEO of, also based in Indianapolis.  He has written and executed a number of business plans and brings a practical viewpoint to judging their likelihood of success.
  • Ted Baker – Ted has become a familiar and encouraging face to many of us in the Jay County Startup community.  He is based in Muncie and runs the “Innovation Connector.”  Known as a serial entrepreneur, Ted brings a wealth of knowledge to those of us getting started.     

Congratulations to our three winners:

  • AeroCat – Dave and Tim Poole laid out an ambitious plan for blending their love of cycling with aerospace engineering.  AeroCat has already earned the respect of its peers in the cycling industry and will build an even greater technical edge in the months and years to come. 
  • Cargo Furnishings – Dave Burson is the creator of Cargo Furnishings, a new modular furniture system.  Using innovative designs and materials, consumers will be able to create shelving and entertainment systems based upon their requirements, taste and budget. 
  • Victus De’ Aqua – Glynn Barber is leveraging the science of Aquaponics to create a fully self-sustaining food production system.  In addition to being a genuinely green company by converting contaminated real estate into food production space, the firm will employ those with special needs. 
Please check back here in November, 2012 regarding the 2013 DPC.   


Each team must meet the following requirements in order to compete in the 2012 DPC:

  • Previous Experience: No previous professional education or experiences are required to participate in the DPC.  Competing teams and individuals will be judged by the merit of their ideas and thoroughness of their research.  High School students are warmly welcome.  
  • Nature of Ventures: The DPC is for new, independent ventures in the seed, start-up, or early growth stages, spin-outs of existing companies and joint ventures between existing companies.  Real estate syndications and tax shelters are generally excluded.  
  • Residency: The competition is open to teams who reside outside of Jay County, but each business concept will be judged by its viability as a going interest within Jay County. 
  • Attendance: Selected teams must participate in the Oral Presentations on Saturday, January 21st from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM at the John Jay Center in Portland, IN.  
  • Required Forms: Each team member will be required to submit an individual Form W-9 or W-8 ECI at registration.  If the venture has been incorporated and has received an EIN, one form may be filled out.  No prizes will be awarded without a completed W-8 ECI or W-9 on file with DPC.


To submit a DPC application, simply email your Business Pitch PowerPoint presentation of 10-20 slides to no later than 11:59 PM, January 11th, 2012.  Teams who submit early may make changes to their application until the deadline. 


Entry Fees: The DPC does not have an entry fee.

Changes to Competition Rules: While not anticipated, these rules and prizes are subject to change at the discretion of DreamHaven at any time. DreamHaven has the right to interpret these rules according to its own judgment.

Decisions regarding the Competition and the Winners:
All decisions regarding the competition rules, procedures, and processes are at the sole discretion of DreamHaven. Changes and/or interpretations of these rules may be made by DreamHaven at any time, even though they may be (or may appear to be) in conflict with previously published information. The selection of the teams to compete and the decision of the winners are at the sole discretion of the judges and DreamHaven. Best efforts will be made to make decisions in accordance with this Official Rules document.


The 2012 DPC is organized into two categories: Social Benefit and Economic Benefit.  Each team must select ONE category in which to compete.  Both categories have two prizes.  The first prize in each category is $1,500 and the second prize is $1,000 for a grand total of $5,000 in prize money.

Social Benefit: Plans entered into the Social Benefit category will be judged by the value they bring to the Jay County community through informal gathering places, more sustainable energy sources, educational experiences and unique entertainment opportunities.      

Economic Benefit: Plans entered into the Economic Benefit category will be judged by their ability to generate a sustainable profit, maximize return on investment and create high-quality jobs in Jay County. 


Oral presentations will take place at the John Jay Center in Portland, IN on Saturday, January 21st, 2012 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  Each team will present the Business Pitch presentation before our judging panel and a local audience.  The submission deadline is January 11th (see “How to Enter” above).

  • First Round: In the First Round, each team will have 15 minutes to present its business plan. The presentation will be followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer session with the judges. THIS TIME LIMIT WILL BE STRICTLY ENFORCED.
  • Feedback Session: In the Feedback Session, each team will have 15 minutes of additional feedback from the judges evaluating their presentation.
  • Final Round: Four teams will be selected to present a second time.  Each will have 15 minutes to present, followed by a 10 minute question-and-answer session. There will only be 5 minutes between each presentation for teams to set-up in the Final Round. For the Final Round, each team should be in position at least 15 minutes prior to their designated presentation times.  Teams will be expected to start early if the team before them finishes ahead of schedule.

Note: A team, once it has finished its presentation, may observe both the presentation and Q&A session of the teams that follow it. (Teams may not observe other presentations until AFTER they have made their presentation.)

Your Oral Presentation should include the following information: 

    » Company summary 
    » Customer/market analysis (market size and potential market share) 
    » Product or service description 
    » Intellectual property status (e.g., patents, licenses, etc.) 
    » Competitive differentiation 
    » Management team and/or advisors, including relevant experience 
    » Financial highlights 
    » Status and offering of the company (how much investment you are seeking, if any)

In your Oral Presentation, we expect you to convey: 

    » The problem or need your company solves 
    » The size of the accessible market & evidence that customers will buy your product/service 
    » Your differentiation vs. competition and how you will sustain that 
    » The experience of your management team and/or advisory boards 
    » The current state of development (e.g., beta, customer trials, etc.) 
    » Time frames to achieve significant revenue and/or cash flow positive 
    » The amount of funding you are seeking

Equipment: The DPC will supply all requisite audio visual hardware.  Teams should plan to bring a copy of their presentation on a zip drive. The presentation room is equipped with a large-screen projector and a room PC to run your presentation. You may also connect your laptop directly to the projector to present.

Let us know if you have any questions or have any special equipment needs. Please note that if your presentation contains video, graphics, and/or sound, you should let us know in advance, and we will help ensure that your presentation works properly at the Competition. However, based on past experience, we cannot guarantee that video, graphics, and sound will work 100% of the time.


Chris Fennig



Dean Jetter



Thaddeus Rex