The application submission phase of the 2018 PILOT Pitch Prize, a pitch competition that will award $50K SAFE note investment to each of the three winners at the pitch event held at the 2018 NAB Show New York, ended on April 30.  The first screening of the submitted applications has been done, and the following 14 applications have advanced to the next stage.

Second Round

Machine Box makes production-ready, easy-to-integrate, pre-trained and trainable machine learning models that run on-premises or in the cloud. Their technology includes face recognition, image tagging, nudity detection, text analysis, recommendations and more.
Their boxes can be used to auto-tag content with people, places, and things, without costing a fortune in cloud bills.

Hooke Audio unlocks the ability to record immersive 3D audio to your phone, camera or GoPro. Hooke Audio lets you capture sound the way you originally heard it, with its 3D audio recording wireless headphones, proprietary bluetooth recording codec and 3D audio recording apps. The result is a recording that when listened back on any pair of headphones makes you feel like you’re there, hearing sound all around you in 360 degrees.

Teamium is the the media industry’s first fully featured, mobile production ERP platform. It brings video production workflows to the digital age with cloud based collaboration and financial management tools for planning, budgeting and dynamic scheduling of all production resources.
Teamium is a digital tool to improve the overall planning and operational efficiency of a production team in a distributed environment. Team collaboration and task coordination becomes very rapid and seamless, improving productivity by up to 75%.
nēdl (as in the haystack) is building software for your home, car, and pocket to address a growing $44.1B global ad market by letting radio listeners search live audio as easily as they search the internet. nēdl also allows you to start your own broadcasts to add your live speech to the real-time search results.
nēdl allows radio stations to transcribe all of their live audio in real-time to make every word said on the airwaves searchable. In this way, radio stations can now attract new audiences and advertisers to their previously unknown streams. nēdl provides for greater audience measurement with a never been seen before level of granularity in real-time. enables millions of Americans direct access to the brand new NextGen TV network. designs, builds and sells ATSC 3.0 TV receivers & adapters to provide unfettered access to highly prized television channels 2 thru 51 on portable and mobile devices. makes professional tools for ATSC 3.0 television reception verification and analysis. Their first ATSC 3.0 hardware and software solution is RedZone Receiver™, a portable, affordable USB dongle that supports development and signal verification / analysis.
DIFRactive is Pinterest for video. It allows content creators to provide their viewers a non-intrusive opportunity to explore what’s in a video. Viewers can also save items to their own Pinterest-like board, extending the experience beyond the video player.
DIFRactive is a video agnostic extension, able to work on top of existing platforms like YouTube and Vimeo.
Soundwise is an innovative audio publishing platform that gives podcasters detailed knowledge about their subscribers and the ability to build an engaged community around their podcast. Their web and mobile apps allow listeners to subscribe to podcasts and audio courses, and allow creators to connect with their listeners.
Soundwise also offers an efficient and secure way for creators to deliver paid audio content, without worrying about people copying and redistributing their content.
Alvanix’s VotePro turns broadcast media into social media. With their mobile site, audiences can answer host’s questions, view content and interact with advertisers in real time. By leveraging audience data, broadcasters and advertisers can target content for higher revenues and audience growth.
VotePro employs a SaaS model. VotePro provides a voter interface used by the audience and a manager interface used by the broadcaster. VotePro presents questions, voting results, links to content and ads to audience members on their phone, tablet, or any web enabled device. Audience members vote on yes or no and multiple choice questions pushed out by the broadcaster.
ARwall is an AR technology company. They created the first AR display to require no headset, goggles or smart device. Their spatial imaging technology is four times faster than any equivalent system on the market.
Their first product, ARwall Effects, is a film production tool designed to eliminate the green screen from the production workflow. Their secondary product, AR3D, creates an interactive ‘virtual window’ illusion for businesses and consumers, capable of turning any screen into a AR capable device.

EyeBuy enables video viewers to instantly purchase, engage or connect with any brand item on screen. EyeBuy closes the buying loop by enabling viewers to instantly engage or purchase items featured in their content.

LGI Branding Inc. designs technology solutions. PECX (Private Encrypted Content Exchange) is a Data Security Tool that allows users to share videos, photos, text messages and lock them using Touch ID or facial recognition. It is the first mobile app to use ‘biometrics’ to lock and unlock proprietary digital content.

Our.News is a Software-as-a-Service solution and Social News Platform that makes it easy for anyone to fact-check and rate news. Our mission is to push back against misinformation using the wisdom of the crowd, by equipping our clients and users with all the latest tools and data. Our neutral platform aggregates, crowdsources, and instantly provides all the tools & data people need to quickly check the facts of any news story. Users then rate the news for various factors. Patent-pending algorithms remove bias, stop trolls, and provide public opinion scores.

PolyPort protects valuable digital assets through a secure collaboration and distribution platform. It helps protect sensitive digital assets throughout the entire production pipeline, wherever they travel. This means that studios can leverage global workforces while ensuring their IP is safe. In addition, their platform enables these global workforces to work on sensitive digital assets on their local machines using their own tool sets, saving studios time and money.


DRIVR360 makes car shopping easier and faster with 360 VR dealership showrooms.
With DRIVR360, the showroom goes to the shopper. Today’s car shopper searches for only four to five dealerships before visiting an average of 1.5. They make it easier for consumers to browse & buy their next car from anywhere.

We selected companies that are working in one of the following five areas in the broadcasting industry:

  • Operational Efficiency (e.g., news gathering, crowdsourced content, audio/video production, drones, equipment, workflow);
  • Audience Engagement (e.g., social media, social viewing, brand loyalty, local community);
  • Audience Measurement (e.g., big data, analytics, profiling, targeting, conversion, attribution);
  • Content Distribution (e.g., web presence, monetization through alternate channels, OTT, robust reception, antennas); and
  • Enhanced User Experience (e.g., virtual reality, 3D, immersive audio, time shifted viewing, new gadgets for content consumption)

Moreover, we selected companies with valuation of $6M or less. We did not select startups that were too advanced and were planning to raise money through a Series-A round or beyond. Since our SAFE contract has a $6M valuation cap, it made sense to exclude those higher-valued startups even though some of them demonstrated good fit with the broadcasting and media industry.

We also evaluated the applications based on their quality and comprehensiveness. The applications that advanced to the next round provided all the information we asked for. Most successful applications included pro-forma financial information, pitch deck, and a one-minute video of the pitch.

The applications are now being evaluated by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland. Six Dingman Angels will judge the applications based on their merit. Each application will be reviewed by at least three Dingman Angels.

Dingman Angels

Elana Fine
Executive Director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business

Amit Mehra, Ph.D.
Partner at NOVI LLC

Matthew Fishlinger
Founder and Chief Operating Office of Gramercy Risk Holdings, LLC

Liz Sara
Founder and President of Best Marketing, LLC and member of the Board of Advisors at the University of Maryland’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship

Polly Vail
Independent Consultant and Start-Up Mentor at Bethesda Green and the University of Maryland

Bill Boyle
Angel Investor and member of the Dingman Center Board of Advisors

When the Dingman Angels’ evaluation process is complete, an attorney will contact the top five applicants to ensure that the applicants, if they win, will accept PILOT’s $50K investment in SAFE notes. Only the startups that are willing to accept PILOT’s investment with the already published terms and conditions will be selected as finalists.

Two MBA interns at the Robert H. Smith School of Business will perform the due diligence of the five finalists. If a startup fails to pass this scrutiny, another startup from the waiting list will be selected instead.

The five vetted finalists will be declared in late August. These finalists will be coached by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship for the PILOT Pitch Prize 2018 event at the NAB Show NY. Stay tuned for more updates in late August.