MicroOptx Wins 2017 MN Cup
MicroOptx Inc., the maker of an optical implant to halt the progression of glaucoma, was named the winner of the 2017 MN Cup.
The Maple Grove-based company’s Brown Glaucoma Implant helps to reduce pressure on the optic nerve, which results in a loss of vision, with a minimally invasive procedure that can be completed in less than a minute.
Along with top honors at the statewide entrepreneurial competition, MicroOptx will take home the $50,000 grand prize.
About 1,300 people across 520 teams entered the 2017 competition. That number was whittled down to 80 semifinalists and then eight finalists across eight divisions (MicroOptx was the Life Science/Health IT division finalist)—each of which netted $30,000 (except for the youth division). In all, nearly a half-million dollars was distributed during the MN Cup, including awards from outside groups like the Carlson Family Foundation, AARP, Meda/JP Morgan Chase and others.
“It’s been an extraordinary MN Cup season,” executive director Melissa Kjolsing said in a statement. “As we wrap up our 13th year, we’re marveling at how many thousands of Minnesotan entrepreneurs have passed through our program and discovering new ways to extend the opportunities of entrepreneurship to fresh faces.”
The runner-up in the competition was Autonomous Tractor Corporation (the finalist in the Food/Agriculture/Beverage division). The St. Michael-based company, which calls itself the “Tesla for Tractors,” produces technology to improve the efficiency of farm equipment, including bringing that equipment in to the self-driving era.
The 2016 winner of the MN Cup was StemoniX, a Minneapolis-based startup that create individualized stem cells for research and drug-reaction screening. TCB conducted a Q&A with cofounder Ping Yeh after the announcement and discussed how MN Cup helped boost the company’s profile and where the field of individualized medicine is heading in the future.