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Louisville’s GearBrake Wins Entrepreneur Pitch Competition Finals in Frankfort

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Commonwealth of Kentucky
Cabinet for Economic Development
Old Capitol Annex
300 West Broadway
Frankfort, KY 40601

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Joe Hall
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Louisville’s GearBrake Wins Entrepreneur Pitch Competition Finals in Frankfort
Winners of regional competitions present to Kentucky Angels

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 13, 2014) – Three Kentucky entrepreneurs have received a significant boost to grow their businesses.

GearBrake, based in Louisville, took home the grand prize in the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s inaugural entrepreneur pitch competition finals Thursday at the Kentucky Angel Investors Summit in Frankfort.

“This is just another example of how Kentucky is helping to grow our small business community,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “We had a great competition, and all corners of the state were represented. I want to congratulate GearBrake on its success, and I look forward to watching this innovative company grow right here in the Commonwealth.”

GearBrake has developed a specialized brake light system to better protect and alert motorcyclists. Motorcycles are able to rapidly slow down without using brakes by downshifting and engine braking, but other drivers cannot detect this because downshifting doesn’t light up a bike’s brake lights. GearBrake’s patent-pending module can sense deceleration and will automatically flash the brake lights.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, one extra second of warning time can prevent up to 90 percent of rear-end collisions. GearBrake provides as many as five seconds of extra warning.

“We are extremely excited,” said Chris Bailey, founder and CEO of GearBrake. “The local and national buzz surrounding the competition has been amazing, and we’re looking forward to taking the next steps toward putting our product on the market.”

Eight entrepreneurs from Ashland, Covington, Lexington, Elizabethtown, Louisville, Murray, Pikeville and Richmond competed in the finals. The participants, who won their regional pitch competitions earlier this year, presented their business ideas to the Kentucky Angel Investors Network (Kentucky Angels).

Each entrepreneur had five minutes to present his or her business idea to the audience. Voting was based on one question, “how viable is the business concept?”

GearBrake received the highest score and a $5,000 prize toward growing the business. The second and third place finishers also took home cash prizes.

2nd Place: Rely-A-Light: Based in Richmond, Rely-A-Light developed a multi-function table lamp that provides instant emergency light during a power outage. The lamp also acts as cellphone and tablet charging station.

3rd Place: Blink Technologies: The Lexington company developed the BlinkScan, a high resolution digital scanning technology so that every pixel sees every color, making each scan a “full color” image.

“This year’s statewide pitch competitions helped put the spotlight on our growing small business community,” said Larry Hayes, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “We need to support our local innovators and provide them the tools to turn their vision into a reality. I can’t wait to see what ideas are developed next year.”

The competitions were sponsored by the Office of Entrepreneurship within the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, along with Kentucky Angels and the Kentucky Innovation Network.

Launched in 2013, Kentucky Angels brings new ventures and accredited investors together via monthly online meetings, providing investors access to form deals and partnerships with entrepreneurs statewide. Membership is open to those accredited investors in and outside the state who are passionate about investing in Kentucky companies. To learn more about Kentucky Angels, visit www.kyangels.net.

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The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency in Kentucky responsible for encouraging new jobs and investment in the state. New capital investment announced in Kentucky in 2013 totaled more than $3.3 billion, spurring more than 14,000 projected new jobs. Information on available industrial properties, workforce development assistance, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other economic development resources is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.

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