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Unleashing Triumphs: Who Crushed It At CodeLaunch DFW 2023

By CodeLaunch Staff November 17, 2023

Fueled by a shared passion for startups and innovation, CodeLaunch DFW 2023 ignited entrepreneurial excitement within the North Texas tech community providing guests the opportunity to witness the Greatest Startup Show on Earth and vote for the next CodeLaunch champion.

Lighthouse founder Mackenzie Langley (right) celebrating her victory with FYC Labs founder Justin Fortier (left).

Congratulations to Lighthouse and founder Mackenzie Langley from Denver, Colorado for winning both the Judges’ Choice award and being named the overall Startup Champion through an audience vote!

Winning CodeLaunch is incredible, but being a part of the CodeLaunch community is even better. This is a powerful community that encourages founders to succeed and because of that I have the confidence to keep moving forward.

Mackenzie Langley, Founder of Lighthouse

CodeLaunch, produced by Improving and presented by Cyrannus, offers all finalists the opportunity to have their product built at no cost, bridging the gap between their vision and the resources needed to bring it to life. Lighthouse, a social network transforming the way participants, volunteers & donors connect with nonprofits, charities & foundations, worked with hackathon partner FYC Labs during a two-day hackathon to expand upon Mackenzie’s vision.

We are stoked for Mackenzie! We had an awesome client, she had good ideas and collaborated really well. She’s an incredible founder and our team did an amazing job during the hackathon.

Justin Fortier, Founder, CEO/CTO of FYC Labs

Cyrannus Surprises E360 and Gabu as Winners of $150K Investment Challenge 

Gabu founder Fernando Corral and E360 founder Matthew Bonasera proudly hold their trophies alongside Cyrannus CEO Michael Camp (center), CodeLaunch founder Jason W. Taylor (left) and emcee Raheel Malik (right).

The night started off strong with presenting sponsor Cyrannus announcing the winners of their $150K Investment Challenge. CEO Michael Camp was proud to announce a $50K capital deployment offer to Gabu, CodeLaunch Mexico 2023 finalist, and a $100K capital deployment offer to E360, CodeLaunch Houston 2023 Champion, based on their Cyrannus platform score. All CodeLaunch semifinalists from our Columbus 2022 event through DFW 2023 were invited to “alpha test” the new Cyrannus platform and receive Cyrannus scores in October.

Michael Camp went on to explain Cyrannus’s decision:

The Cyrannus Investment Award for Commercialization recognizes startups that have made significant progress (traction) since their first appearance in CodeLaunch. Many elements comprise a “traction” score, such as customer acquisition, revenue generation, product development, regulatory approval, fundraising, etc. However, Cyrannus does not weigh any one factor higher than another but rather considers a more comprehensive assessment across multiple factors, particularly factors that are most relevant to the product market. For example, a software venture might create great traction in getting its beta launched and piloted with marque customers, while a MedTech venture might focus on getting its new device approved for clinical trial.  Both could potentially score high on traction.

Michael Camp, Cyrannus CEO

Sanalife E360

According to Camp, Sanalife E360 was selected this year for the Cyrannus Investment Award for Commercialization due to several outstanding traction factors, namely, product development, customer acquisition, team experience, and investment readiness. The founders have experience launching and successfully exiting many startups and they continue to add other experienced members in key areas of sales, marketing, and business development. They have paid pilots with dozens of customers simultaneously in multiple huge markets and are on track to meet significant sales goals for 2023. They have raised in excess of $3M from quality smart money investors. Sanalife E360  is truly “investment ready”.

The Cyrannus Investment Award for Impact considers all the traction factors noted above but is also scored relative to the potential impact the startup can have in an important area of need.  For some ventures, the mission focus might be on protecting the environment. Others might be focused on human factors such as the availability and affordability of health care or the protection of vulnerable people in crises. To that end, Cyrannus’ Impact Award may even be more challenging to win, as the startup already has to be showing promising traction and investment readiness.

CodeLaunch has been amazing. In Houston we won both the Judges’ Choice and Startup Champion award, which was really incredible! Now we’ve won the Cyrannus Challenge, which I had no idea we would win. I am super excited that people believe in us.

Matthew Bonasera, Sanalife E360 Founder


Camp continued by saying Gabu was selected for the Cyrannus Investment Award for Impact due to the significant traction they have gained in a short time building an award-winning gaming platform to keep children safe from bullying experiences and predators. Children are turning to online gaming more today than ever, but the risks are quite high for them and data support the team’s concerns. The team is highly qualified and experienced to build the platform and move to market successfully. They have pilot tests underway and recently launched a successful new AI-driven product in the US. They have raised more than $500K, including professional institutional investors, and were recently selected for the coveted TechStars Miami cohort. This company is early, but they are impact-focused and investment-ready.

Well, I was surprised to be honest! When I started and entered CodeLaunch [Mexico], I didn’t know what to expect. So, from the Guadalajara event to Dallas was really awesome to continue meeting new people, doing new things, and this award was a cherry on top.

Fernando Corral, Gabu Founder

Cyrannus Founder, Lee Mosbacker, tells us he created this challenge to reward CodeLaunch participants with the opportunity to get real cash into their business. 

We extend our gratitude to Cyrannus for their generous contributions to these CodeLaunch competitors, as well as their steadfast sponsorship of our competitions over the past two years. CodeLaunch DFW 2023 represents their remarkable sixth consecutive event as our presenting sponsor, and we sincerely appreciate their ongoing support.

About CodeLaunch DFW 2023 

We have a saying for CodeLaunch finalists… “You’re all winners.” Although Lighthouse came away with both Startup Champion and Judges’ Choice awards during the competition, each CodeLaunch DFW 2023 finalist goes home with valuable professional software development. The CodeLaunch Professional Coder League (PCL) implements a two-day hackathon inviting each startup to participate in a Sunday and Monday filled with coding and product development before the competition.

Watch the CodeLaunch professional software developers in action during DFW 2023 PCL Hackathon.

During the hackathon, our sponsors provide close to $100,000 worth of product development and IT consulting into the finalists’ products. They worked tirelessly to ensure their technical products were accelerated – preparing each finalist with a minimal viable product (MVP) that is capable of closing a seed round of funding.

Thank you to our CodeLaunch DFW 2023 Professional Hackathon Sponsors & Finalists: 

Guitarist James Malone poses as “Slash” on the CodeLaunch stage.

CodeLaunch attendees had the opportunity to engage with a diverse range of exhibitors both before and after the competition, fostering extensive networking opportunities at Gilley’s South Side Ballroom. In keeping with the distinctive CodeLaunch style, the event featured a special appearance by “Slash” during the show, providing entertaining moments for all CodeLaunch guests.

Prior to the commencement of the CodeLaunch competition, CharaChorder, one of our highly successful alumni startups from 2019, organized ChorderCon. The event featured a notable announcement by CEO Riley Keen, revealing the announcement of subsidiary brand Forge to the audience. 

CharaChorder creates state-of-the-art chorded keyboards that allow users to input the letters of a word both individually and simultaneously while the internal processor automatically arranges the letters on the screen in real time. They are now a thriving business with multiple product lines and a global user base. 

Gain more insight into the dynamic highlights of our event by exploring this news article by Dallas Morning News. It offers a first-hand look at CodeLaunch’s memorable moments that unfolded throughout the night.

Check out our event photo gallery here.

What is CodeLaunch? 

Jason W. Taylor (left) made his own splash during CodeLaunch by proposing to girlfriend Amber Robinson (right), Corporate Counsel of Improving. She said yes!

CodeLaunch is a combination of a seed accelerator competition, a tech tradeshow, a startup conference, and a raucous networking event that connects early-stage startups with invaluable seed services critical to stimulating their business. Founded in Frisco by Jason W. Taylor in 2013, the international touring competition and its sponsors have given more than $1.6M in services to over 86 finalists and overall winners.

CodeLaunch has helped launch noteworthy startups like CharaChorder, ProsRent, StyleRow, KidStrong, Autix, Evva Health, and more since its inception. Unlike many startup accelerators, CodeLaunch is completely free to apply, and no equity is surrendered. 

The professional hackathon is one way that CodeLaunch is unique. Each finalist is paired with a professional development team that accelerates product development and builds out as much of their MVP as possible in a 2-day time frame. During the pitch competition, the product is demoed live and for the first time in front of a live audience, who then votes for the overall winner. 

CodeLaunch DFW 2023 went above and beyond our expectations! We are thankful for everyone who came out to support the event and the North Texas startup community. Now, onto next year…

Gear up for CodeLaunch Houston and the 2024 World Tour! 

CodeLaunch is returning to Houston in 2024 for a third consecutive year and our application portal is OPEN. Deadline to apply is December 10. Join us at the Bayou Music Center in Houston, TX on February 28, 2024, as we celebrate the accomplishments of startups once again.

And that’s not all! For the first time in CodeLaunch history, all application portals to our 2024 events are OPEN. Check out CodeLaunch.com to apply and learn more!

Houston: February 28, 2024

Minneapolis: May 9, 2024

Toronto, Canada: July 31, 2024

Guadalajara, Mexico: October 23, 2024

Stay tuned for more big announcements in 2024 about CodeLaunch! All of our 2024 competition applications are open and ready for your entries. So if you want to take part in our Houston, Minneapolis, Toronto, or Guadalajara competitions, get your applications in as soon as possible. We are also looking for a new presenting sponsor, as well as new sponsorships and exhibitors for next year’s events. Elevate your brand by partnering with Codelaunch and contact us here.  

Global Community Partners