2020 MN Cup Final Award Winners

Thursday, September 24, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS—Sept. 23, 2020— MN Cup, the nation’s largest statewide startup competition, announced BlueCube Bio as its 2020 grand prize winner. The LifeScience/Health IT Division winner, BlueCube Bio, was awarded the $50,000 grand prize at the 16th annual MN Cup awards celebration. The winning venture was revealed during a live-streamed award ceremony on September 22nd from the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center. The runner-up CounterFlow Technologies brought home second place and a $20,000 prize.  These awards are in addition to $30,000 cash prizes for each of the nine divisional winners competing for the grand prize.




In total, 1,042 creators, dreamers, and innovators from around Minnesota participated in this year’s MN Cup. Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, the caliber of companies competing was exceptional this season, and presented one of the most closely-contested Grand Prize selections in the competition’s 16-year history.  


“The ideas were so varied and impressive, it was a struggle for our Grand Prize Review Board to determine just who was deserving of the title. Our final votes came down to the slimmest of margins for our prize winners. While it was challenging for us as judges, it’s a very positive reflection on the caliber of businesses this season. I’m proud and look forward to the massive economic and societal impact they will all go on to achieve.” - MN Cup Co-Founder Scott Litman

Teams competed in one of nine divisions: Energy/CleanTech/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).

Division winners receive $30,000, and runners-up receive $5,000, with the exception of the Youth division, in which the first place winner receives $10,000, and the second and third place winners and semifinalists divide up another $10,000.


This year’s division finalists were:


More than 16,000 Minnesotans have participated since the competition was founded in 2005, and finalists have gone on to raise more than $500 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.


MN Cup is a community-led, public-private partnership that brings together corporations, investors, foundations, government and skilled volunteers to support Minnesota’s entrepreneurs. The core of our programming is a free annual competition that reaches emerging entrepreneurs from across the state and connects them with education, mentorship and resources to launch and accelerate the development of their new ventures. The competition inspires entrepreneurs to begin their startup journey, supports them as they develop a solid business plan, provides exposure for their ideas and offers numerous opportunities to expand their networks. In 2020, MN Cup awarded more than $500,000 in seed capital to prize winners, taking no equity in exchange. MN Cup is a program of the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. To learn more visit mncup.org.