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Brave Launch Recap

Last Thursday, I attended Brave Launch’s Pitch Day, hosted by The Turner Center for Entrepreneurship at Bradley University.

What it is

Brave Launch is a business model accelerator program in which startup teams focused on lean methodologies and customer discovery to create and adjust their own business models. After 7 intensive weeks in the program, each team had the opportunity to pitch their fine-tuned business models to the public and potential investors.

In total, there were 9 teams that graduated from the program and presented at Pitch Day: ALM Productions (PopXFit), Eat & Evolve, Golf Score Changer, Natural Fiber Welding, Neuroquantel, Notionovus™, Duke’s Business Consulting (formerly SAE), The Oakford Group, and MassIt (formerly Weightmaster). Out of these, Duke’s Business Consulting, MassIt and The Oakland Group all received monetary awards at the end of the ceremonies.


Duke’s Business Consulting

The team originally starting out as a magazine publishing company called SAE that promoted biblical principles and encouraged readers to discover their purpose. Over the course of the 7 week program, they changed their name and business model almost completely. Duke’s Business Consulting is now an organization that helps businesses to brand themselves and build a market structure, working directly with clients to help them develop and grow. Because of these improvements, Duke’s Business Consulting won the award for Best Pivot.


The team’s presentation started out with the telling of the Myth of Milo, a frail man who became the greatest wrestler in Ancient Greece by slowly growing his strength day by day. MassIt aims to help everyone achieve greatness like Milo through the use of their incremental weights that make it easier for gym-goers to break through their plateaus and increase strength. With charisma and good humor, MassIt was able to get lots of laughs and nods from the crowd, winning them the award for Best Pitch.

The Oakford Group

This team of licensed physical therapists created the Invertabelt, a home exercise product that allows physical therapy clients to overcome plateaus after therapy sessions. The Oakford Group’s ability to lay out a clear, attainable business model and field questions with ease allowed them to win two awards: People’s Choice, which was voted on by the public, and Best Business Model, which was voted on by the panel of judges.


I was thrilled to see groups that have presented at 1 Million Cups before improve their pitch and field questions smoothly. Also, the range of business models was phenomenal, and it was exciting to see fresh ideas and innovation stemming from each team.

The number of businesses focused on fitness and health was exceptional, including six of the nine teams. I was impressed by the innovation of both Natural Fiber Welding, a team manufacturing materials from plant matter that is immediately focused on recreating the textile industry, and Notionovus™, an organization that wants to create a marketplace where customers can shop for their own middleware solutions from multi-vendor offerings. And I was equally inspired by the knowledge and expertise of The Oakford Group and Neuroquantel, a team devoted to improving neurological triage and care.

Overall, I’m excited to see these teams join in on Peoria’s startup community and I hope they continue to grow and develop.

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