Startups

Meet the winners of PenFed’s Black History Month pitch competition

Founder Reamonn Soto of Sensatek Propulsion Technologies took home the first-place prize of $25,000 for his startup.

Reamonn Soto, founder of Sensatek Propulsion Technologies.

(Courtesy photo)

The results are in: the PenFed Foundation, the Tysons, Virginia nonprofit arm of the PenFed Credit Union, just dropped the winner of its annual Black History Month Ignition Challenge.

Founder Reamonn Soto of Sensatek Propulsion Technologies took home the first-place prize of $25,000 to put toward the company. Florida-based Sensatek develops gas turbine sensors that are wireless and withstand high temperatures. These sensors measure heat transfer data for customers in industries like energy, space and aviation.

The challenge, which is in its second year, awards Black veterans and other military-affiliated entrepreneurs with funding and mentorship from the credit union. In order to qualify, startups had to be at least 50% military and Black founder-owned. The top 15 finalists were selected by the foundation’s Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program (VEIP), and voting on the VEIP website narrowed it down to the final three: Resolve Solutions, Sensatek Propulsion Technologies and TJL Collection. The three finalists competed Friday in the pitch competition.

Here are the other two finalists:

  • TJL Collection, founded by Tiffany Lewis, is a Texas-based fashion brand that specializes in clothes for tall women. Lewis won $15,000 as the second-place winner.
  • Resolve Solutions, based in New Alexandria, Virginia, offers early college support and education for underserved students. Founder E. Sean Lanier took home $10,000 for his company.

“PenFed is proud to celebrate Black History Month and we congratulate Reamonn, Tiffany and Sean on their success,” said PenFed President and CEO James Schenck in a statement. “We look forward to following and supporting the trajectory of these three outstanding veteran-owned businesses.”

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