Meet the 2018 MN Cup Semifinalists!

Wed, 05/30/2018

MINNEAPOLIS—MAY 30, 2018—Statewide entrepreneurial competition MN Cup announced today that the top 90 teams of Minnesota-based entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators are advancing to the semifinal round of the 2018 competition. 

Now in its fourteenth year, the MN Cup is set to give away a record $500,000in total prize money. The semifinalist teams will gather on June 6 at the Carlson School of Management to begin the mentoring phase of the competition. 

The following semifinalists from nine divisions will compete for a share of the $500,000in prize money, as well as the training, connections and support to help advance their entrepreneurial ideas:

 

ENERGY/CLEAN TECH/ WATER

 

FOOD/AG/BEVERAGE

 

GENERAL

 

HIGH TECH

 

IMPACT VENTURES

 

LIFE SCIENCE/HEALTH IT

 

STUDENT

  • BarBud, Hennepin                                                  
  • CapakÑan LLC, Nicollet, minority led
  • DaVinci Industries, Rice, minority led
  • Enduramark, Dakota 
  • MagnaBox
  • Plyo, Ramsey
  • ReGlymph, Hennepin, women- led
  • Runerra, Hennepin, minority led
  • Texima Group
  • Two Daughters, Hennepin, women- led

 

EDUCATION AND TRAINING

 

YOUTH

 

In total, 1,661 creators, dreamers, and innovators from around Minnesota participated in this year’s MN Cup – a record number and 22% increase over last year. This year’s participation broke some exciting records – 45% of teams include women, 27% include minority team members, and 8% include Veterans. “We’re thrilled to see the diversity of our applicants increase as participation grows,” says MN Cup Director Jessica Berg, “There is more to be done, but we are working to create new relationships and strengthen existing partnerships to make MN Cup accessible to diverse applicants across the state.” 

Teams compete in one of nine divisions: Energy/Clean Tech/Water, Food/Agriculture/Beverage, General, High Tech, Life Science/Health IT, Impact Ventures, Student (for enrolled grad school or undergrad students ages 19-30) and Youth (age 18 and younger). New this year is the Education and Training category. In all categories, those who advanced to the semifinalists level will meet with experienced mentors throughout the summer to craft detailed business plans. 

“MN Cup is a contest, but it’s also a mentorship program,” says MN Cup co-founder Scott Litman. “All semifinal teams, even those who don’t take away the top award, are winning something very valuable – the chance to be coached by some of the most successful business leaders and entrepreneurs in the state.” 

Three finalists from each division will be chosen to present their progress and plans in August. Division winners receive $30,000 and a shot at the $50,000 grand prize, and runners-up will receive $5,000. The Youth division will award a total prize of $20,000 — the first place winner will receive $10,000, and the second and third place winners and semifinalists will divide up the remaining funds. Competitors in every division are also eligible to win dedicated prizes funded by The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Carlson Family Foundation, Meda, Sunrise Bank, Securian Financial Group, AARP and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED.) 

At the MN Cup awards celebration in October at the University of Minnesota, one startup will be chosen as 2018’s best breakthrough business idea. Nearly 15,000 Minnesotans have participated since the contest began, and finalists have gone on to raise more than $280 million in capital to support the development of their ideas, create jobs, and broker numerous business partnerships, collaborations and distribution agreements. And they’ve done it all with the help of MN Cup’s support network of 350+ volunteers and 75+ partners and sponsors, who believe in the promise of creating a thriving culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Minnesota.