Minnesota Cup Names 2011 Division Winners
The seventh-annual Minnesota Cup on Tuesday named this year's division winners-each of whom will receive thousands of dollars in seed funding and go on to compete for the grand prize of an additional $25,000.
The Minnesota Cup is a statewide contest that rewards the newest and most innovative business ideas. Each division winner is awarded $25,000 in seed capital, with the exception of the student division winning team, which gets $10,000, and the winner of the social entrepreneur category, which receives $20,000.
The six division winners will make their case before the grand prize review board on September 8, when the overall winner will be named and will receive an additional $25,000, along with the coveted Minnesota Cup.
The competition narrowed the pool of contenders last week, when it announced 16 division finalists, picked from more than 1,000 participants.
Here's a look at the companies that came out on top as this year's division winners:
Clean Technology & Renewable Energy Division
- Energy Max Panel: Developed a product that transforms ordinary construction materials into a seamless insulation system and building envelope without any thermal bridging or air filtration. The company says installation of its products may reduce a customer's heating and cooling costs by up to 70 percent annually.
- AUM Cardiovascular: Developed a point-of-care, non-invasive, hand-held, affordable device that identifies lethal coronary blockages in less than 20 seconds. It aims to change the way in which the health care industry screens for coronary artery disease.
High Tech Division
- Naiku: Developed a software-as-a-service platform that provides teachers real-time insight into the strengths and needs of their students, creates customized learning profiles, and recommends learning activities.
- Anser Innovation: Is commercializing a platform that enhances remote connection and interaction anywhere, anytime; its first product is a patented device designed for the retail pet market.
- Tesgen: Developed a lightweight power generator that can run on any fuel source.
Hourcar was named winner of the social entrepreneur division in June and gets a $20,000 division prize. It will now compete with the other division winners for the grand prize.
The Minnesota Cup also boosted its total prize money to $185,000 this year-allowing it to award runners-up in each category with $5,000 prizes.
The runners-up in each division are: Electric Yacht (cleantech and renewable energy); QuickCheck Health (biosciences); QONQR (high tech); PickPointz (general); The CleanGrip (student); and DesignWise Medical (social entrepreneur).
Since its inception in 2005, more than 6,000 participants from across the state have entered the Minnesota Cup competition. Those who were named finalists in 2009 and 2010 have gone on to collectively secure more than $30 million in capital and broker numerous business partnerships and distribution agreements.