Minnesota Cup Competition Names 2012 Finalists
Nineteen finalists were named Monday in this year’s Minnesota Cup competition, a statewide contest that seeks out the most innovative business ideas.
All of the finalist business ventures, many of which comprise several individuals, are competing within one of six divisions: High Tech, BioScience & Health IT, Clean Tech & Renewable Energy, General, Student, and Mosaic Social Entrepreneur.
The Minnesota Cup is now in its eighth year. This year’s competition will award $200,000—more than any previous year of the contest.
Finalists were chosen based on in-depth business proposals and presentations that they spent their summer preparing. Next up, they will deliver eight-minute oral presentations to a panel of judges, and the winner from each division will be announced August 29. Division winners will receive $25,000 in seed capital, with the exception of the student category, which will award $10,000; division runners-up will receive $5,000. The grand-prize winner will be announced September 6 and will receive an additional $40,000 and the Minnesota Cup.
Roughly 1,000 participants competed in this year’s competition. While some of the finalists have yet to launch their business ideas, others are already up and running. Here’s a look at the just-named finalists, along with brief descriptions of their ideas and/or products:
High Tech Division
• Docalytics – Developed a platform that addresses challenges in creating, testing, publishing, and measuring the effectiveness of PDF-based content-marketing documents.
• PreciouStatus – Developed a mobile application that allows care providers, family members, and loved ones to interact in real time throughout the day.
• Heroic – Developed a solution that calculates the best home service professional to hire based on referrals—billed as “eHarmony for home services.”
BioScience & Health IT Division
• Quantitative Insights – Developed a computer-aided design (CAD) software platform that addresses unmet needs in the diagnosis of breast cancer.
• OrthoCor Medical – Developed noninvasive therapeutic devices that help patients alleviate pain and arthritis, minimize swelling, and restore physical function.
• Tychon Bioscience – Developed a platform for the targeted delivery of human therapeutics and diagnostics.
Clean Tech & Renewable Energy Division
• Algaedyne – Has a patent-pending technology and methodology to grow algae in large volumes for commercial use.
• EnergyPrint – Provides energy management solutions that help building professionals manage and reduce their energy and water use.
• Envirolastech – Is developing a thermoplastic compound pellet for the plastic extrusion manufacturing industry.
• Perfekt – Provides cash-flow and lien-management tools for the construction industry.
• Life Floor – Provides wet-area flooring made from a proprietary co-polymer that has been designed to solve slip-and-fall problems.
• Early Learning Labs – Provides assessment products and services for evaluating and monitoring early childhood development.
• Kevin by Perk Health – Is inventing a virtual personal trainer to help self-insured firms that employ between 100 and 1,500 to save money on their health care costs.
• Firewave – Developed a “dynamic and visually stimulating blend of art and science,” created to deliver warmth and vibrant energy to any social or private space.
• Cognific – Creates homework in video-game format for mental health patients; the results power a software-as-a-service analytics and reporting platform for health care providers that helps them improve mental health outcomes.
Mosaic Social Entrepreneur Division
• Brotherhood, Inc. – A nonprofit organization established to create a pathway out of poverty, gangs, and incarceration for black men between the ages of 16 and 24.
• Nice Ride Minnesota – A nonprofit organization that provides public bike sharing within the Twin Cities.
• Twin Cities Rise! – A program that trains chronically unemployed adults living in deep, generational poverty and helps them to obtain and keep full-time, living-wage jobs.
• Tuloko – Developed an application- and Web-based tool to sustain black-owned businesses and decrease the high unemployment rate within the black community.
The Minnesota Cup has become a major part of the state’s entrepreneurial landscape. It’s put on with the help of a long list of sponsors, including well-known companies Wells Fargo, Carlson, General Mills, UnitedHealth Group, Digital River, The Mosaic Company, and Xcel Energy.
“Our track record shows the level of intelligent and inspiring entrepreneurs in the state of Minnesota is truly remarkable,” Minnesota Cup cofounder Scott Litman said in a statement. “The Minnesota Cup is a valuable tool to boost innovative ideas into successful companies.”
Minnesota Cup finalists from 2009, 2010, and 2011 have collectively raised $52 million in capital.