It started with 1,661 participants. Then there were 90, then 27, and now nine startups remain in the 2018 MN Cup contest.
The statewide entrepreneurial competition—unmatched in its scale countrywide—announced the selection of its division winners on Friday. Eight of the final nine (excluding the Youth division) are now guaranteed to take home at least $30,000 for earning the divisional crown. But more than that, the startups will each have one last shot to pitch their concept in hopes of becoming Minnesota’s best new entrepreneurial idea. With that title, they will also pocket a $50,000 grand prize.
By division, here are the nine companies that remain:
CD3, General Benefit Corporation—Designs equipment intended to cut down on the spread of invasive diseases.
Nordic Waffles (Woman-led)—A born-and-raised Norwegian’s take on waffles wrapped around with both savory and sweet toppings.
NoSweat—Makes a disposable sweat-absorbing liner that sticks inside athletic headwear, as well as hard hats and other non-sports related gear.
HabitAware (Minority-led, Women-led)—Its wrist-worn wearable called Keen monitors a user’s bad habits to help them kick hair pulling, skin picking, nail biting and other nervous ticks.
Recovree (Veteran-led, Woman-led)—The software company co-founded by former MN Cup executive director Melissa Kjolsing Lynch applications and products servicing individuals with a history of substance use disorder.
Carrot Health Inc.—This software-as-a-service company analyzes consumer and medical data to provide health care businesses with intelligence on their customers.
Plyo—An incentive application that urges students to exercise in exchange for points they can use on deals at restaurants, brands and elsewhere.
Cedar Labs LLC—Provides a universal data translator for schools aimed at increasing educator productivity.
Studioso LLC—Connects music students with their instructors, enabling the two with new ways to pass along sheet music, techniques and monitor progress.
All in all, a record half-million dollars is set to be divided among the stand-out startups this year. Aside from the grand prize and each divisional winners’ take, $5,000 will be awarded to the 18 divisional semifinalists that didn’t make the cut this round. The Youth division, meanwhile, is sharing a $20,00 prize pool with half going to the winner—in this case Studioso—and the other half divided between the division’s second and third place participants.
The remaining startups will be asked to pitch for the final time their concept to the Grand Prize Review Board on October 8. Later that day, the 2018 MN Cup winner will be crowned at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota campus.