Congrats to our Round 2 Innovation Fund Winners!

We’re thrilled to announce that after six weeks of hustling and fundraising, yesterday marked the close of the VFA Innovation Fund: Round 2! The seven teams of Fellows made an impressive showing, having raised almost $40,000 while vying for the chance to get access to an additional $20,000 in funding for our winners.

As always, we’re blown away and incredibly proud of all of our participating teams. This is yet another example of how motivated and ambitious our Fellows are, and we couldn’t be more excited to help them launch projects in their cities and take their ideas to the next level. Thank you to our friends at American Express OPEN Forum and RocketHub for making it possible!

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 5.23.27 PM

First, congratulations to our winner, 2012 Fellow Brian Rudolph, who raised over $17,000 to launch his company, Banza! Greek Pasta. In addition to the money he raised, Brian will get $10,000 from the Innovation Fund to continue to bring his awesome culinary creation to even more people across the country.

Brian, who’s been on the path to becoming an entrepreneur since selling candy out of his locker in middle school, started making Banza! as a gluten-free, high-protein alternative to regular pasta to maintain his healthy lifestyle. (We’ve taste-tested it here at VFA, so you can trust us when we say this stuff is delicious and nutritious!) Thanks to the Innovation Fund and Brian’s hard work getting the word out, he’ll now have over $25,000 to move production out of his own kitchen and get the equipment he needs to grow his business. We have a feeling we’ll be seeing Banza! on supermarket shelves before we know it!

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 5.58.01 PMWant more info about Banza! Greek Pasta? You can check out the website and video, and check back for updates on how to order some chickpea pasta of your own!


Second Place:

Bandaloo by 2013 Fellows Kate Leisy and Zubin Teherani
Bandaloo will receive $6,000, in addition to the $12,000+ they raised, to launch the first 48-hour event for local musicians to meet, form bands, meet industry leaders, and perform– all within the same weekend.

Third Place:

CowSciutto by 2013 Fellows Chris Hikel, Anhton Tran, Oliver Li, Jack Farrell, Chelsea Amsley, and Matt Fulton
CowSciutto will receive $4,000 for a total of over $8,000 to help bring their delicious new meat-snack to market!