• Start Peninsula!

    November 3-5, 2017
    Stryker Center in Williamsburg

    Purchase Tickets

Start Peninsula 2016 winner

Max Depiro on HR Business Weekly

Congratulations 2016 Winners!

1st Place

Unmanned Aerial Propulsion Systems

Max Depiro was at a music festival and a drone flying overhead was taking video of the crowd and band.  It was noisy, dangerous looking, and generally distracting.  Shortly after that it occurred to Max that there had to be a better way to fly these drones than with multiple open propellers.  And so, his ducted fan design started taking shape.  He is now developing a prototype by refining the design to improve weight, structural stiffness, and thrust and is planning to hire additional staff soon as he begins to grow his business.

2nd Place

Harber Bear

Harber Bear was invented after Yingjia Liu talked with a bunch of parents and learned they felt guilty when they were busy because they often pushed their children to a TV or iPad. TVs and iPads are one-way communication devices and limit children’s creativity. So, his team designed an artificial intelligent toy to capture a child’s imagination. They developed a technology which is a collaborative story-builder, engaging in conversation with children ages 4-7 and capturing their imaginations through stories built by kids and toy together. The conversations are powered by a story engine integrated with IBM’s Watson technology. Harber Bear is working on a prototype and hopefully will have a product in May.

3rd Place


The co-founder of Answers Now, Jeff Beck, came up with the idea for the company through his experience with a tele-health provider who offered direct clinical support to clients via text. They had a traditional ‘therapist-to-client’ business model that catered to people seeking help for relationship issues, work issues, mild mental health concerns and a variety of personal challenges. Jeff thought it would be a model that could help fill a huge gap in services being provided to parents (and individuals) of persons diagnosed with autism. Jeff and Adam Dreyfuss, an autism expert, decided to give it a try, pitched the idea and are on their way to creating a new business.

Key Info

Do you have a business idea or invention and need funding or guidance to get it off the ground? Then clear your calendar November 3rd-5th, 2017 for Start Peninsula! This building extravaganza for entrepreneurs in Hampton Roads will bring together dozens of passionate entrepreneurs and business leaders under one roof with one purpose: To identify the best ideas and create new businesses within one weekend.

At Start Peninsula you can access the tools, resources and talent you need to get your idea off the drawing board and into the marketplace. From a pool of more than 30 business ideas pitched on Friday night, 10 semi-finalists are selected to pitch again on Sunday for a chance to win up to $10,000 cash and other important resources for growing businesses.

Who is it for?

Inventors, Students, Designers, Programmers, Engineers, Sales People, Marketing People, Business People, Investors or anyone else who has a passion or curiosity for technology, creativity and business.

Past Ideas

We have a wide range of topics, not all business ideas need to be technical in nature. All ideas are welcomed and encouraged. Here are few ideas from previous Start Peninsula events.

  • Collecting ambient and wasted heat energy for re-use
  • Portable walking desks for treadmills
  • Licensed pool noodles for resorts and vacation homes
  • Social bookmarking app
  • Local apple cidery
  • Oral cancer screening device
  • Portable electricity generating device for camping, natural disasters and other off the grid events
  • Anti-microbial mouth guards
  • Civic communication system delivering legislation to the populace so it can be voted up or down in real time
  • A mobile app with live video that connects home repair experts with do-it-yourselfers for house fixes
  • Wardrobe consultants

Join us in Williamsburg for a fun-filled weekend starting up new businesses!