Image from 2018 MN Cup Launch party

MN Cup's 2018 Division Winners

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

After a full week of pitch presentation and deliberation by their respective review boards, Minnesota Cup is excited to announce the winners of each of the competition's nine divisions. These teams have advanced through three rounds of judging to achieve first place within their Division -- rising to the top of an initial applicant pool of over 1,600 entrepreneurs. Their next step is to compete against each other for the Grand Prize of $50,000 on top of their existing winnings, which will be decided by MN Cup's grand prize review board on October 8th. 

Most division winners will each receive $30,000 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 Foundation and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED.)

You can see live pitches from each of these winning teams, and network with other division finalists at MN Cup's Final Award Ceremony the evening on Monday, October 8th. Click here for more information, and to register. 

The Division Winning Teams Are: 






  • Recovree, Hennepin, Veteran-led, Woman-led





  • Studioso LLC, Hennepin


In total, 1,661 creators, dreamers, and innovators from around Minnesota participated in this year’s MN Cup – a record number and 22 percent increase over last year. This year’s participation broke some exciting records – 45 percent of entering teams included women, 27 percent included minority team members, and 8 percent included Veterans.

Teams competed 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.

At the MN Cup Final Award Ceremony, 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.

Lead sponsors of the 2018 MN Cup competition include The Cleveland Family Endowment, Bush Foundation, ECMC Foundation, ECMC Group, Carlson Family Foundation, Wells Fargo, University of Minnesota, General Mills, 3M, Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest, Inc., UnitedHealthGroup, Land O'Lakes, Inc., Pentair, and Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development.

The MN Cup is a free, annual competition that seeks to support and accelerate the development of the best breakthrough ideas from across the state. For more information, please visit .