3 with Ties to Carlson School Crowned MN Cup Division Winners

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Three companies with ties to the Carlson School and two others that included graduates of the University of Minnesota were named division winners in the annual MN Cup competition.

MN Cup is the largest statewide new venture competition in the country that allows entrepreneurs and emerging companies to compete for seed capital and meet investors. The free, annual competition seeks to support and accelerate the development of the best breakthrough ideas from across the state.

Teams compete in one of nine divisions, ranging from student ventures to education and training ventures. Division-winning teams with Carlson School founders include:

  • NoSweat — Jon Marshalla, ’10 BSB, and Colin Iacarella, ’10 BSB (General)
  • Recovree — Melissa Kjolsing Lynch, ’16 MBA (Impact Ventures)
  • Plyo — Peter Schultze, ’20 BSB (Student)

Other division winners led by University alumni include:

  • Cedar Labs — Benjamin Silberglitt and Tim Heckel (Education and Training)
  • CD3 — Edgar Rudberg and Mark Apfelbacher (Energy/Clean Tech/Water)

The division winners will each receive $30,000 toward their startup and compete for an additional $50,000 grand prize. The grand prize winner, as well as other special awards, will be announced at the final awards event, held from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. October 8 at the McNamara Alumni Center.

Organized by the Carlson School’s Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship, MN Cup makes a tremendous difference in the people and the startups that compete, allowing them to make connections and win money that could take the company to the next level.

Kjolsing Lynch and her team at Recovree were honored to be named division winners in their category. Recovree aims to help those struggling with substance use disorders by connecting them to peer support specialists. The app offers a workflow management platform that helps these specialists stay in touch with their clients and create more meaningful conversations.

Her experience throughout the MN Cup, as well as her time with the Holmes Center while in the MBA program, has helped get her startup off the ground.

“The Holmes Center has created a community of entrepreneurs and experts that are willing to connect with you and share personal experiences,” she says. “The relationships and social capital that we've acquired from the Holmes Center community are invaluable and have greatly benefited our journey in building Recovree.”

This year, 1,661 Minnesotans participated in the MN Cup, a new record for the competition and a 22 percent increase over last year. This year’s program also was the most diverse. Forty-five percent of teams included women, 27 percent included a minority team member, and 8 percent included veterans.

In total, nearly 15,000 people have participated in the MN Cup since its inception. 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 with the help of MN Cup’s support network of more than 350 volunteers and more than 75 partners and sponsors, who believe in the promise of creating a thriving culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Minnesota.

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This article appeared in the Spring 2019 alumni magazine

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