Skip to Main Content

LaunchVT Demo Night Celebrates Entrepreneurs, Awards Cash and Services

LaunchVT hosts its 2021 Demo Night

Over 200 business minded community members gathered to support the 2021 cohort at Demo Night, LaunchVT’s annual celebration of entrepreneurship. The event was the first to be held in person at the Reef, a beautiful new venue at Hula. The 2021 cohort pitched their businesses to the audience and a panel of investor judges, including David Bradbury, Lisa Groeneveld and Casey Johnson. Two businesses walked away with cash awards and all seven will receive professional services from local businesses worth over $100,000.


Demo Night comes at the end of a 10 week intensive accelerator program where entrepreneurs in the LaunchVT cohort work with a dedicated coach, strategic advisors, and each other to refine their business model, develop their go-to market strategy, and prepare for the future. This is the ninth year LaunchVT has run the accelerator program and annual Demo Night. The 2021 cohort is an exceptional group of founders with great products and services. If you missed their pitches on Demo Night you can replay the live stream by going to

Zion Growers takes home VCET Investors' Award

Taking home the $15,000 VCET Investors’ Award, was Zion Growers. Founded by Travis Samuels and Brandon Mcfarlane of St. Johnsbury, Zion Growers is an industrial hemp processing startup that will be buying hemp from local farmers, processing it locally and selling directly to manufacturers of hemp products.

VCET Award Winner

We are greatly privileged to have taken part in the LaunchVT program alongside some of Vermont’s rising star entrepreneurs. The program gave us an opportunity to see where our gaps were and we appreciate its commitment to developing startups that benefit Vermont. We want to thank all the coaches, funders and supporters for the time, effort and energy they committed and wish our cohort great success. We are excited to work with the people of St. Johnsbury to be our flagship processing location and look forward to growing the future of the Hemp Industry.”

Zion Growers

Lost Lantern takes home Audience Choice Award

Winning the $5,000 Audience Choice Award was Lost Lantern. Founded by Nora Ganley-Roper and Adam Polanski of Weybridge, Lost Lantern sources unique and exciting whiskies from distilleries all across the United States and releases them as distinctive blends and collectible single casks that help connoisseurs discover the very best of American whiskey.

We're so honored to have received the audience choice award with such a great cohort this year! The LaunchVT program has really turbocharged our plans and it has been incredible to learn from the Vermont entrepreneurial community.”

Lost Lantern

In addition to the cash awards, the 2021 LaunchVT cohort has been matched with LaunchVT’s generous service partners to provide them with expert professional support where they need it most. Our 2021 in-kind service partners are Reconciled, Paul, Frank & Collins, Forecast LLC, VCET,  Hark, Merritt & Merritt, Gallagher Flynn & Co, CWE-Vermont, Downs, Rachlin, Martin, Dunkiel Saunders, McSoley & McCoy, Burlington Code Academy, and Moulton Law Group.

LaunchVT is a division of the Lake Champlain Chamber with community support from our amazing partners, including: the Vermont Community Foundation, VCET, Vermont Department of Economic Development, Type2Fun Capital, Generator, AT&T, JHCapital, People’s United Bank, NEFCU, Hula, FreshTracks Capital, DRM, Northfield Savings Bank, Gallagher Flynn & Company, McSoley and McCoy, Dunkiel Saunders, Rival Brands, BTVignite, Burlington Telecom, Paul Frank & Collins, Leonardo’s, Merritt & Merritt, Waitsfield & Champlain Valley Telecom, University of Vermont – OVPR, Scout Digital, and Delta Dental. To see a full list of our partners and the foundations supporting our work visit our partners page.