• Profile picture of Lighthouse Labs

    Lighthouse Labs is a non-profit, mentor-driven startup acceleration program connecting promising founders with proven mentors, investors, support services, working space and lean startup education to move from idea to viable high growth venture in three months.

    VIRAL Level(s): 1, 2, 3, 4

  • Profile picture of RAMP

    The Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program

    VIRAL Level(s): 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

  • Profile picture of FireBot

    A device to detect and stop stovetop fires.

    FireBot is a small, battery powered, device that will automatically activate in case of a fire to properly extinguish a stovetop fire to prevent damage and injury. 


    FireBot inconspicuously attaches to the underside of your range hood, out of sight. It waits until it reads an abnormally high temperature that signals an out-of-control stovetop fire.

    Upon activation, it sprays environmentally friendly, non-toxic, water-based fire suppressant to extinguish a fire -- even a grease fire on all four burners. At the same time, it activates an audible warning alarm, sends a z-wave signal to turn the electric or gas to the stove off and notify the owner or monitoring station of activation or even low battery.

    FireBot costs $45 to manufacture; FireBot will retail for $165. There are over 100 million kitchens in the United States. If we can place a FireBot in just 1% of those kitchens, that's one-million units sold, which equals $165 million in gross sales, and that's just the U.S.!  We hope we can provide the solution to put an end to this yearly problem.

    Sector(s): Housing

    VIRAL Level(s): 9

  • Profile picture of 757 Accelerate
  • Profile picture of TXT LLC

    TXT LLC is a technology company founded in march 2016 and officially launched october 2016 in Virginia. TXT LLC offers several services to the entire world. These services include a social network and messenger, txt and txt messenger, at Another service offered is a video-streaming platform, vidyostreams, at www.vidyostreams. TXT LLC also offers a video-sharing platform, vidyoclips, at TXT LLC is working on a shopping platform, SHOPtxt, as well.

    Sector(s): Other

    VIRAL Level(s): 5

  • Profile picture of Bleexy, LLC

    Bleexy is a decentralized ecosystem that will disrupt the e-commerce industry, dominated by Amazon and Walmart, with a Blockchain solution that will allow retailers to compete with centralized marketplaces. Bleexy will enable brick-and-mortar stores to track and make their inventories available to all customers to purchase online for same day pick up or delivery. Online retailers will be able to efficiently integrate and manage their operations across multiple marketplaces.

    Sector(s): Information and Communication Technologies, Retail, Supply Chain Services

    VIRAL Level(s): 4

  • Profile picture of Ario

    We help business visualize, connect and share data in the real world. Our applications increase productivity, connect data with equipment, decrease training time and capture knowledge. We developed a secure platform called Ario to scale augmented reality to waypoint, manage and associate data with spatial context. We have spent the last year piloting our applications with great success to defense contractors, our military and energy sectors. In 2018 we are expanding our platform to benefit the retail, construction and IoT markets. With billions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices coming online this year and tens of billions more coming online within the next three years, our platform will allow an easy and intuitive interface for your data.

    Sector(s): Energy, Information and Communication Technologies, Infrastructure/facilities development, Retail, Supply Chain Services, Technical Assistance/Consulting

    VIRAL Level(s): 5

  • Profile picture of NRV

    NRV is an early stage growth fund focused on Series A-ready companies scaling in the healthcare/healthy lifestyles space, as well as technology solutions that democratize entrenched industries.

    Sector(s): Education, Financial Services, Health, Information and Communication Technologies, Other

    VIRAL Level(s): 7

  • Profile picture of keeram technologies

    VIRAL Level(s): 4

  • Profile picture of Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council

    VIRAL Level(s): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

  • Profile picture of Dreyer Academy LLC

    Millions pf Chinese-speaking students & their parents struggle to find classes that teach students to speak American English confidently. Our team of professional, experienced teachers help Chinese speakers gain the skills and confidence to speak REAL ENGLISH so they can communicate effectively with English speakers! We provide both small-group and 1 on 1 online classes, delivered right to our students' homes or offices.

    Sector(s): Culture, Education, Housing

    VIRAL Level(s): 3

  • Profile picture of 757 Angels

    757 Angels is a select network of over 100 business and community leaders in the Hampton Roads region, who provide investment capital, strategic advice and mentoring to selected startup and early stage companies to help them achieve market leadership.

    VIRAL Level(s): 3, 4, 5

  • Profile picture of Aperiomics

    VIRAL Level(s): 4

  • Profile picture of Peace & Patience HomeCare Assistance LLC

    Peace & Patience HomeCare Assistance will introduce and teach technology while providing personal and companion care to the senior community.

    Sector(s): Health

    VIRAL Level(s): 5

You invest at all of the following VIRAL levels:

You begin investing at VIRAL Level:

2: You back big ideas

You invest in strong founding teams with a strong idea and a working prototype of their product/service that they’ve already put in front of customers.

Where you can add the most value to entrepreneurs at this stage:

  • Customer, customer, customer:

    Make sure your team is spending all of their time with customers at the beginning. Encourage them to get out of the lab and get a minimum prototype in the hands of customers as quickly as possible to test whether they are even on the right track.

  • Freedom to operate:Push them on ensuring that they have freedom to operate – that there are no regulatory, legal or IP hurdles in executing on their solution.

Common questions you should consider asking in due diligence:

  • We like your vision; how do we know that your team has the technical experience to solve the problem? 

    Dig into the team’s experience and skillset. If it’s a tech platform–who will write code? If it’s a business-to-business sales platform, who knows the industry enough to make progress with buyers? Ask questions to understand whether the team doesn’t just have great ideas, but the chops to execute.

  • What is the specific problem you’re solving–for your customer?  As Thomas Edison once said, “vision without execution is hallucination.” We have seen a graveyard of “solutions looking for problems to solve.” Get the team to be tactical about how they can solve the customer’s problem. You might want to try this simple “Mad Lib”: “We sell A to B. B has a problem, and it is C. We solve C through D.” Let’s take, for example, Google. “We sell consumer data to advertisers. Advertisers have a problem, and it is that they don’t know how to reach the right audience online. We solve this problem through the world’s best search engine, which gives advertisers highly customized information.”
  • Legal/regulatory concerns:Do you need patents? Regulatory approval? Licenses? If you don’t have it yet, have you what you’ll need in the future and how you’ll go about getting it?

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Profile picture of CIT GAP Funds


active 2 years ago