Economic Development Authority

Innovation Challenge

Meet Our 2022 Innovation Challenge Finalists

Loudoun County is a unique place that has grown from a variety of diverse entrepreneurial achievements. In the eastern part of the county, an entire industry was born from internet entrepreneurs that spawned the highest concentration of data centers in the world. This infrastructure is the foundation for Loudoun County’s primary focus on technology and the basis for efforts to grow high tech entrepreneurship in the county.

The goal of the Loudoun Innovation Challenge is to promote entrepreneurship and business growth by identifying and supporting companies that are developing truly innovative products and services in Loudoun County.

The Loudoun County Economic Development Authority (EDA), in partnership with Loudoun Economic Development, has announced the finalists for the 2022 Loudoun Innovation Challenge, the third-annual competition for entrepreneurs seeking to take their business to the next level.

Our 2022 Innovation Challenge Finalists in alphabetical order according to category are:

Agri-Tech Innovation Finalists

Kappa AgTech, LLC

KAPPA AgTech takes a first principles approach to design, challenging the assumptions inherited from conventional agriculture to decouple the growth of the Controlled Environment Agriculture industry from the limitations of conventional agriculture. KAPPA AgTech has developed and patented the integration of canopy ventilation with LED lighting to reduce indoor farm energy consumption by 50%, and has developed a food-grade silicone substrate to eliminate all disposable growth media. The technologies increase the efficiency of CEA, reduce consumption and disposables, and significantly advance the sustainability of indoor agriculture.

Wheatland Spring Farm & Brewery

Wheatland Spring is an estate brewery. This means 100% of our farming operations arededicated to growing ingredients for our beer, focusing on acres of malting barley and other grains bred specifically for brewing. Since beer is an agricultural product, we take great care in growing and sourcing ingredients. Our focus is using the finest ingredients available to offer you the highest quality beer we are capable of making. We use only craft malt in our beer. Beyond what we grow on our farm, nearly all of the grain we use comes from small farms in the Piedmont, our agricultural region. We have the opportunity to create beer unique to Wheatland Spring that reflects the agricultural character of our farm and Piedmont growing region.

Worm Works, LLC

Worm Works LLc is a composting company with a mission to divert biodegradable waste from the landfill while supporting sustainable agriculture and horticulture. Compostable waste sent to the landfill is the third largest emitter of methane gas in the US making it a significant contributor to climate change. Additionally, compostable waste accounts for around half of the municipal waste stream in the US necessitating continuous expansion of landfills to store the waste. Worm Works LLc is continuing to build an alternative waste system in Loudoun County to address this problem.

Information & Communications Technology Innovation Finalists


Capango is a talent acquisition platform that is transforming the way retail and restaurant employers identify and hire great talent. For the 27 million hourly workers at retail and restaurants, Capango is a mobile dating like app where their profile becomes their resume and instantly connects them to work opportunities. With scored profiles, automated resume creation, and “Swipe Right to Work” simplicity, employers get qualified, passionate workers.

CodeLock, Inc

CodeLock is transforming how organization keep track of and protect their software code during the software development process. By using its patent-pending solution, CodeLock can help software companies better secure their code, have better insights into their workforce, meet new federal regulations and ultimately save companies money.


Gigasheet is a Leesburg, VA-based software startup committed to providing big data analytics that are beautiful and useful. Our team has created patented software that currently supports thousands of users from around the world to work with massive datasets, and pinpoint answers in minutes instead of hours. We believe you shouldn’t need a computer science degree or a million-dollar budget to analyze millions or billions of data points. Gigasheet is the only big data solution that does not require any coding language, database, or IT infrastructure.

Clean Energy Innovation Finalists

Black Hydrovac, LLC

Black Hydrovac provides non-destructive vacuum excavation services in Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC. Vacuum excavation is a non-destructive modern digging method that breaks up the soil with high-pressure air or water and vacuum suction to remove the soil. This method is the safest way to dig around any underground infrastructure. Our vacuum truck operators perform services that include utility location, potholing, trenching, and debris cleanup. We work with general contractors, engineering firms, site developers, utility contractors, and more.

Flying Ship Company

Flying Ship Technologies has developed an entirely new type of large, eco-friendly drone that will enhance access to coastlines around the world and improve the maritime logistics industry. Taking proven technology harnessing the aerodynamic principle of ground effect and artificial intelligence, sensing and control solutions, our team has created advanced, autonomous, unmanned cargo vessels that fly on a dynamic cushion of air just over water. Flying Ship “wing-in-ground effect” maritime vessels combine green technologies with 21st century aerodynamics to provide a solution that is ten times faster than boats, costs just one-quarter to maintain and operate compared to airplanes, and is cleaner for the environment.

Fuel and Tire Saver Systems Company, LLC

The Fuel & Tire Saver Systems Company provides patented Fuel & Tire Optimization Services for fleets. Using our proprietary ÅASTRAEA Nitrogen for Tires and the power of data analytics and statistical process control, we increase fleet fuel efficiency by 13-21% by reducing the rolling resistance of tires and changing the tire contact area with the pavement. Our service also increases vehicle safety and extends the life of tires by 30-50%.
We are a green-focused company lowering the carbon footprint by saving thousands of gallons of fuel each month and prolonging the life of tires.

Highly Specialized Manufacturing Innovation Finalists

Birdie Everything, LLC

Birdie Everything llc is a company that focuses on innovation through impactful everyday designs that improve the quality of life for people in meaningful ways. Currently Birdie Everything solves the over reliance on harsh chemicals that are currently used when enjoying the outdoors with our flagship innovation, The InfusenClip™. Birdie Everything uses a flexible, distributed manufacturing solution in order to produce devices that deter bugs through a patented system that combines infusions of natural insect repellents with wearable accessories.

FireBot Suppression

FireBot a residential fire suppression device will detect and extinguish a stovetop fire. Mounted on the back wall below the microwave or range hood, a 10-year battery, temperature activated, detects an out-of-control stovetop fire and sprays nontoxic suppressant on all 4 burners stopping the fire. No damage by fire or water.

Periscope Aviation

Our business designs and creates small and medium lift drones for the many applications across the Department of Defense, Federal Agencies and others. We manufacture the airframe chassis using advanced equipment such as Autoclaves, CNC machines and skilled technicians to create the lightest fastest and farthest flying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in the country. We design the aircraft from the ground up and build them to customer specifications in Leesburg, Virginia. We utilize design software to create the model and build the aircraft on site for customers. Our aircraft must meet stringent quality controls for flight per the customers’ demands and must adhere to the FAA regulations for all builds.


Loudoun EDA has dedicated $150,000 in funding this year, dividing it among six total grants:

Overall Innovation Challenge Winner


Any Category

Agri-Tech Innovation


Agri-Tech – the use of technology in agriculture, horticulture, and aquaculture with the aim of improving yield, efficiency and profitability for farm managers and growers.

Examples: AI predictive analytics for climate adaptation; tackling labor shortage with robotics and automation; setting the pace for innovation in high value fruits and vegetables; regenerative ag, soil health and scaling nature-positive solutions; commercializing crop protection alternatives; sustainable sourcing  supply chain transparency; precision solutions to address nitrogen use efficiency and drought; innovation in animal health  welfare, sustainability,  farm to fork solutions

Information & Communications Technology (ICT) Innovation


Information & Communication Technology – All technologies that allow people and organizations to interact in the digital world.​

Examples: Computer hardware, software, electronics, semiconductors; the internet of things, telecom equipment, e-commerce, 5G technologies; cloud computing, robotic automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning; health tech, life sciences, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology

Clean Energy Innovation


Clean Energy – renewable, less environmentally invasive ways of powering the global community. Some of the most common examples include solar, wind, water, geothermal, bioenergy, natural gas, and nuclear power.​

Examples: Solar powered trains, solar roof tiles; artificial photosynthesis; waste powered planes; tidal energy; carbon nanotube electricity; 3D printed solar energy trees; liquid sunlight; electric tires; lithium-glass batteries

Highly Specialized Manufacturing Innovation


Highly Specialized Manufacturing  – techniques and processes designed to improve manufacturing quality, productivity, and practices, including quality control, shop floor management, inventory management, and worker training, as well as manufacturing equipment and software.​

Examples: New procedures in additive manufacturing/3D printing; connectivity and response solutions for servos or apertures; AI-driven process improvement; streamlined production/assembly solutions

People’s Choice Award


Winner selected from the 12 finalists. Anyone can vote, even people who cannot attend the competition in person. (This is when having friends on social media can pay off. Start promoting day one, and you could win the People’s Choice Award.)

danelle hayer small business entrepreneurship manager loudoun county

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Danelle Hayer

Small Business and Entrepreneurship Manager

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Terms and Conditions

All applicants must agree to the statements below and all requirements as published or provided by the Innovation Challenge and the Loudoun County Economic Development Authority

  • All materials submitted to The Innovation Challenge will be treated as public records and subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) rules and regulations. If you have questions or concerns about this requirement, please contact the Department of Economic Development at 1-800-LOUDOUN before submitting your application.
  • An application for The Innovation Challenge constitutes an unconditional agreement to and acceptance of the Terms and Conditions. The Applicant is responsible for ensuring his or her familiarity with the Terms and Conditions.
  • By submitting an application, the Applicant certifies that it is not under any agreement or restriction that prohibits or restricts its ability to disclose or submit the materials included in the application or otherwise to apply for The Innovation Challenge.
  • Applicant grants Loudoun County and the Loudoun County Economic Development Authority permission to display, publish, distribute, use, modify, print and reprint any images, marks or video content in any manner related to the Innovation Challenge or the work of Loudoun County and the Loudoun County Economic Development Authority including without limitation, publications, advertisements, brochures, web site, videos, digital media, or other electronic displays and transmissions. Applicant further waives any right to inspect or approve the use of the image prior to its use. Applicant forever releases and holds Loudoun County and the Loudoun County Economic Development Authority harmless from any and all liability arising out of the use of the images in any manner or media whatsoever, and waives any and all claims and causes of action relating to use of the images, including without limitation, claims for invasion of privacy rights or publicity.
  • To the fullest extent permitted by law, by submitting an application for the Innovation Challenge, the Applicant voluntarily releases the EDA and Loudoun County from any and all claims, actions, damages, costs or liabilities of any kind relating to or arising from or in connection with the Innovation Challenge, including but not limited to the awarding, advertising, receipt, and/or use or misuse of award funds or participation in any activities related to the Innovation Challenge.