The Wright Brothers Institute – Air Force Research Laboratory Partnership Teams with University of Dayton to Host Start-Up Competition

21.03.18 12:56 AM By Jennie Hempstead


Seven aspiring entrepreneurs will compete for the $25,000 grand prize in the University of Dayton’s 11th annual Flyer Pitch Competition.

The Wright Brothers Institute will be hosting the University of Dayton’s 11th Annual Flyer Pitch competition on Saturday, March 24, 2018 from 9:30am-2:00pm, at 444 E. Second St., Dayton, Oh 45402. The event will consist of keynote speakers and breakout sessions on the topics of entrepreneurial mindset, venture funding, intellectual property, digital marketing, branding, and the plethora of resources available in the city of Dayton.

The winning pitches In the first round of the FLYER PITCH competition, held on Saturday, October 21, 2017.

Photo courtesy of the University of Dayton

This is the first time the competition is moving off campus. The new location, the 444 Building, houses various Dayton-area innovators including Air Force Research Laboratory partners, Wright Brothers Institute and The Entrepreneurs Center (TEC). Jim Masonbrink, Director of Operations at Wright Brothers Institute – 2nd St. says, “Strategically, it makes perfect sense. Some of these start-ups could connect to technology developers, business mentors, and resources that are available within this unique space.” TEC President, Scott Koorndyk agrees. “444 is a place where really important collisions occur.” Along with TEC, Wright Brothers Institute shares the building with software developers such as Galois and Mile Two, as well as ecosystem connectors like the Dayton Tech Guide.

There is also increased connectivity that could benefit the Air Force Research Laboratory. Several participants will pitch products or concepts related to health monitoring or new adhesive materials, both of which connect to AFRL Directorates. “Part of our commercialization mission is to add awareness for AFRL of new technology opportunities by looking in places outside of traditional storefronts.

Another goal is to help AFRL effectively communicate technology-based business opportunities. For both those reasons, we’re excited to participate in these types of programs and to hear what the teams have to present,“ said Jim Heitner, Director of Commercialization at Wright Brothers Institute.

Making sure those start-ups are ready for investment or integration is a key objective of the competition. “The finalists in this year’s competition are all fundable business ideas,” said Vincent Lewis, director of the L. William Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. “Although they are at different stages of development, they have all proven their products are viable and there are potential markets for their ideas. They are sure to build on the track record of success established by past participants in this contest.”

Since Flyer Pitch began, participants have created more than 30 new ventures and raised more than $15 million in capital. Previous finalists include Dayton-area businesses: Commuter Advertising, Functional Formularies, UDecx, Smart Barn, Neat Seat and Hit Grip. A previous finalist also appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank. The contest awards $100,000 in cash prizes and $150,000 of in-kind support during six events.

An agenda of the day is listed below:

9:00am – breakfast, coffee, networking

9:30am – kickoff, opening keynote

10:00am – breakout sessions 1&2 begin, Flyer Pitch presentations begin (open to public)

11:00am – breakout session 3&4 (invite only)

12:00pm – lunch/networking

12:30pm – breakout session 5&6 (invite only)

1:30pm – wrap-up and closing keynote

2:00pm – event ends

For more information about the competition, visit

Free parking is available.

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About Wright Brothers Institute

The Wright Brothers Institute is an Innovation Institute, partnered with the Air Force Research Laboratory, serving the Dayton region. Utilizing unique collaboration environments, resident experts, extended networks and innovative processes, Wright Brothers Institute brings value to a variety of customers looking for insights and solutions to their most challenging problems.