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Spark Bowl at DelVal recognizes business innovation in Bucks


LucasPye BIO took the top prize at the Spark Bowl, a new event hosted by Delaware Valley University.

The “Shark Tank”-style competition took place Dec. 11, at the school’s Life Sciences Building auditorium as a public community event created as a coordinated effort between the university’s School of Business and Humanities and the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce.

With teams of students serving as advisors and a panel of judges that comprised a Who’s Who in marketing success in Bucks County, five finalists presented their ideas and fielded incisive questions from the judges.

Intended as an inaugural annual event, the Spark Bowl is an opportunity for entrepreneurs, innovators and nonprofit organizations to be recognized and challenged by established business leaders while at the same time working with students in DelVal’s experiential learning program. The teams addressed different challenges in Bucks County, including social, consumer and business-oriented issues.

The judges included Sterling Drive Ventures President and CEO Michael Araten, Fulton Bank Regional President Susan Lonergan, Business and Corporate Litigation Attorney Henry E. Van Blunk, and MATCOR founder and former chairman William Schutt.

LucasPye BIO was created by Tia Lyles-Williams, who presented her company as a contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) that creates greater speed and efficiency with the manufacture and regulatory approval of biologic drugs as well as sales. The organization provides managed laboratory facility environments to further enhance research and development efforts of its customers.

“Our mission is to make bio-therapy drugs a lot cheaper, reduce their time to market, and provide high-quality drugs to those in underserved communities,” Lyles-Williams said.

A referral and loyalty program created by Jeremiah Rizzo called Pollen won the second-place finish. Founded in January 2018, Pollen is designed to drive the business of its clients through increasing referrals utilizing both word-of-mouth and social media. Customers can also help foster customer loyalty with perks and other rewards. The loyalty and referral programs are separate entities created through an app.

The third place went to Stacks Co., a meeting place in downtown Doylestown designed to inspire productivity and enhance face-to-face connections among its subscribing customers, including entrepreneurs, startups, professionals working remotely and “digital nomads.” Curator Jonathan Mercer founded the business in early 2018 based upon organizing meetups of coworkers at local restaurants and coffee houses.

Other presenters included Polorcor 3D, represented by Nikolay Panitcharov (a/k/a Nick Pan). An artist and sculptor, Pan focused his efforts on translating CAD technology to 3D printing technology, and has been formulating plans to design a faster, more efficient 3D metal printer utilizing powder bed fusion technology that melts fine granular metal into solid structure.

Robert’s Daughter Cosmetics was also a runner-up. Inspired to make “beautiful things” after her father died from an opioid addiction, Kennie Matsinger created RDC with a view towards conscientious products along every phase of development.

The talc-free cosmetics are manufactured in zero-emissions processes, are not animal-tested, are comprised of vegan and organic ingredients, and are packaged with only biodegradable material. The commitment to ethics does not stop with the physical product, however; 5% of net profits would be earmarked for donation to the Opioid Crisis Action Network (OCAN).

The first prize winner received $13,500. Second prize received $6,750 and third prize $2,250. Schutt presented the awards, and the student teams that worked with the contestants were also acknowledged.