MN Cup Names Division Winners; 1 Will Win Grand Prize in Sept.

The six division winners, who have already secured cash prizes, will make their final business pitches before a grand-prize review board next month—and the grand-prize winner will receive another $40,000.

The Minnesota Cup has named winners in all six industry-specific divisions within the competition—each of whom will receive thousands of dollars in seed funding and go on to compete for an additional $40,000.
 
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. A runner-up in each division will receive $5,000.
 
The six division winners will make their final business pitches before a grand-prize review board next month, and the grand-prize winner will be announced at an awards event on September 6.
 
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 division winners and runners-up, along with brief descriptions of their ideas and/or products:
 
BioScience & Health IT Division: OrthoCor Medical – Developed noninvasive therapeutic devices that help patients alleviate pain and arthritis, minimize swelling, and restore physical function. (Runner-up is Tychon Bioscience, which developed a platform for the targeted delivery of human therapeutics and diagnostics.)

Clean Tech & Renewable Energy Division: Envirolastech – Is developing a thermoplastic compound pellet for the plastic extrusion manufacturing industry. (Runner-up is Algaedyne, which has a patent-pending technology and methodology to grow algae in large volumes for commercial use.)

General Division: Life Floor – Provides wet-area flooring made from a proprietary co-polymer that has been designed to solve slip-and-fall problems. (Runner-up is Perfekt, which provides cash-flow and lien-management tools for the construction industry.)
 
High Tech Division: PreciouStatus – Developed a mobile application that allows care providers, family members, and loved ones to interact in real time throughout the day. (Runner-up is Heroic, which developed a solution that calculates the best home service professional to hire based on referrals—billed as “eHarmony for home services.”)

Student Division: 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. (Runner-up is Kevin by Perk Health, which 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.)
 
The winner of the Mosaic Social Entrepreneur division was announced Tuesday. Tuloko took the top prize. The company developed an application- and Web-based tool to sustain black-owned businesses and decrease the high unemployment rate within the black community. (The division’s runner-up is Brotherhood, Inc., a nonprofit established to create a pathway out of poverty, gangs, and incarceration for black men between the ages of 16 and 24.)

The Minnesota Cup has become a major part of the state’s entrepreneurial DNA. 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.
 
Minnesota Cup finalists from 2009, 2010, and 2011 have collectively raised $52 million in capital.

This year’s Minnesota Cup winners will be featured in the December issue of Twin Cities Business. To read about the 2011 Minnesota Cup winners, click here.