Left to right: JP Benini, Elemental Path; Jessica Lawrence, New York Tech Meetup; and Stephenie Harris, Maven Cocktails

StartOut, a nonprofit organization that promotes equality in the business world, hosted Demo Day + Networking in February in New York City. The day was a forum for the most innovative startups from the StartOut community to connect with angel investors, venture capitalists and corporate venture capitalists.

The event also included a competition among eight LGBT business owners who spoke before a panel of investors who determined which had the best presentation.

The winner was JP Benini of Elemental Path. This company creates the technology for cognitive smart toys, powered by IBM Watson, to entertain and educate through conversation and games. Runner-up was Stephenie Harris of Maven Cocktails, which has developed a unique ready-to-drink cocktail that tastes like premium Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.

Also competing were Angulus, Happy Mango Inc., Hip Chick Farms, Hotelied, ProofPilot, UrbanBuddy Inc. and Wellinks Inc.

Investors included Barbara Clarke, Astia Angels NYC; Chirag Chotalia, Pritzger Group Venture Capital; Patrick Chung, Xfund; Heidi Lehmann, Venture Out; Natalia Oberti Noguera, Pipeline Fellowship; and Daphne Kis, Golden Seeds.