Atlanta-based pharmaceutical device company Hera Health Solutions won the $10,000 top prize at the GetStarted Louisiana Pitch competition on Thursday evening, at which five companies made their pitches to a live audience and panel of judges.
Aiming to fill the market gap for and safety concerns surrounding long-acting reversible contraception, Hera Health Solutions developed a biodegradable contraceptive arm implant that provides effective birth control. The contraceptive, called Eucontra, is effective for 12 to 16 months.
“This is needed especially in emerging markets, like India, where I’m from,” said founder and CEO Idicula Mathew at the event, which was the closing event for the eighth annual Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week. “There is not a product out there that fits this niche. Our biggest competitors are current implants, which aren’t biodegradable.”
Mathew said the product, which has been in the works for two years, is planning a 2021 market launch. The startup automatically earned a spot in the competition after winning the Get Started Medical pitch contest held in Lafayette in August.
Contestants delivered their pitches in two-and-a-half minutes, followed by a five-minute Q&A session with judges. They were scored based on five categories: target market, problem or need, competition vs. competitive advantages, revenue model or strategy, and overall presentation.
The other four finalists were, selected from a pool of 60 applicants, included:
- Alpha Computing, which developed a technology that allows psychologists to better understand people with mental illnesses.
- GHL LLC, a Baton Rouge-based food distribution company that uses an app to feed metro area residents with limited access to food and sell conserved but edible food at discounted prices.
- Revibe, which combines existing music libraries into an all-in-one music platform built for streaming.
- Stop and Block, an automated sunscreen dispenser placed in high-traffic locations where people can get single-serve sunscreen on the go.