MN Cup semifinalists

Local entrepreneurs advance to next round of MN Cup
The nation’s largest statewide new venture competition announces semifinalists competing for a record $402,000 in total prize money

June 7, 2016

The MN Cup announced today it has advanced 80 teams of Minnesota-based entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators to the second round of the 2016 competition. In its twelfth year, the MN Cup is giving away a record $402,000 in total prize money. Semifinalists will be honored at a June 15 reception at the Carlson School of Management.

The following 80 semifinalists from eight divisions will compete for a share of the $402,000 prize money, as well as the training and support to help make their entrepreneurial ideas a reality:

Energy/Clean Tech/Water
Activated Research Company, 7 County Metro Region,
Arc Suppression Technologies, 7 County Metro Region, Veteran-led
Designed Energy Savings, 7 County Metro Region, Veteran-led,
enVerde LLC, 7 County Metro Region
Freedom Motors LLC, Goodhue County, Woman-led, Veteran-led
LADi Water, LLC, 7 County Metro Region
Lightwave Photonics, Inc, 7 County Metro Region
PureBiomass LLC, 7 County Metro Region
Verterra Energy, Inc., 7 County Metro Region
VivoDynamics, 7 County Metro Region

Food/Ag/Beverage
5 Infused Vodka, 7 County Metro Region
Bolton Bees, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led
Far North Spirits, Kittson County, Woman-led
Farmhouse Market, Le Sueur County, Woman-led
Four Seasons Shrimp Co, Morrison County, Veteran-led
Local Crate, 7 County Metro Region, Minority-led
Nurish, 7 County Metro Region, Minority-led
SelfEco Garden, 7 County Metro Region
Spods, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led
True Dough, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led

General
Awear Technologies LLC, Pine County
Berd Spokes, 7 County Metro Region
Crotega Safety Solutions, 7 County Metro Region, Veteran-led
Elevate Hockey, 7 County Metro Region
Key Log Rolling, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led
Moxy Muscle Oxygen Monitor, McLeod County
SkillFitness, 7 County Metro Region
Stiff Tape Measure, 7 County Metro Region, Minority-led
The THCer, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led, Minority-led
UR TURN, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led

High Tech
Corology, 7 County Metro Region
DragonEye, 7 County Metro Region
Hitsfu, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led, Minority-led
Homi, 7 County Metro Region, Minority-led
Raincard, 7 County Metro Region
Sezzle, 7 County Metro Region, Minority-led
Spark DJ, Inc., 7 County Metro Region, Minority-led
Token of Trust, 7 County Metro Region
Vugo, 7 County Metro Region
Zerda, Olmsted County

Life Science/IT
Geneticure LLC, 7 County Metro Region
Healthe, 7 County Metro Region
Magic Arms, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led
MetaLogics Corporation, 7 County Metro Region
MyMeds, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led, Minority-led
NanoDev Therapeutics, Olmsted County
Photonic Pharma, 7 County Metro Region
Protosthetics, Clay County
StemoniX, 7 County Metro Region, Minority-led
Zift Medical, 7 County Metro Region

Social
Asiya, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led, Minority-led
Bim Bam Boo, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led
Depart Smart, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led
Dignity by Design Enterprise, LLC, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led
FAN School, 7 County Metro Region
Mind Shift, 7 County Metro Region
Queblo, 7 County Metro Region
Right Stuff Drones, 7 County Metro Region, Veteran-led
The Mother Love, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led
THRIVORS, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led

Student
Blue Dog Denim, Rice County, Woman-led
Core Technologies, Martin County
Fishingresortsandcharts.com, Lake of the Woods County
H&H, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led, Minority-led
Minnedust Magnetics, 7 County Metro Region, Minority-led
Mobineo, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led
Nesel Packs, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led
Sound Connections, 7 County Metro Region
Tree Trainer, 7 County Metro Region
Under Recruited Preps, Blue Earth County, Minority-led

Youth
Boat Bobbers, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led
Da Bomb Bath Fizzers, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led
Eddie’s Goat Milk Goods, McLeod County
ExpressionMed, 7 County Metro Region, Woman-led
Finessin Global, Steele County
JATS, Olmsted County, Woman-led
Leozarb, 7 County Metro Region, Minority-led
Medical Assistance via Quick Response code, Kanabec County, Woman-led
mXers Audio, 7 County Metro Region, Minority-led
Rhidian Tech, 7 County Metro Region, Minority-led

The MN Cup enjoyed a standout number of entrants this year, with 616 teams (100 more than last year), and a new record number of competition participants — more than 1500 total. The Youth Division for entrepreneurs age 18 and under, debuting this year, brought in six percent of total entries.

MN Cup semifinalists were chosen after a rigorous application process. Entries had to outline three key components to their entrepreneurial visions: opportunity, plan and progress. The semifinalists represent a wide variety of emerging businesses, entrepreneurs and investors in the following categories: Energy/Clean Tech/Water, Food/Agriculture/Beverage, General, High Tech, Life Science/Health IT, Social Entrepreneur, Student and Youth. Semifinalists will now have the opportunity to craft a detailed business plan with the help of an experienced mentor throughout the summer.

“Every year, our state has reaped the benefits of entrepreneurial innovation thanks to the business visionaries who participate in and support the MN Cup competition,” says MN Cup co-founder Scott Litman. “There are so many firsts this year: a record number of entrant teams, a new Youth division, and the largest prize total to give away ever — so we’re absolutely looking forward to seeing what these semifinalists will accomplish as we move toward the final round.”

In August, finalists from each division will be announced, and each division winner will receive $30,000 in seed capital, the Youth Division winner will receive $10,000. Additionally, one runner up from each division will receive $5,000 in seed capital.

On Sept. 22, the grand prize winner of all divisions will be announced at a ceremony at the University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center, and will receive an additional $50,000 in seed capital. At the final event, a number of special prizes will be given: Capella University will award for the first time a $10,000 prize for the most innovative education technology that promotes learning solutions or builds 21st century skills; AARP will present a $5,000 prize for an innovation that improves the lives of seniors; and two audience favorite winners will receive an additional $1,000. Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation will provide $25,000 in seed funding to the top entry from that region of the state.

Other special awards include $25,000 for the top woman-led business, from the Carlson Family Foundation; $10,000 to the minority entrepreneur with the most innovative business concept from Meda; Securian Financial Group will give $10,000 for an innovation that shapes the future of financial services or life insurance through technology; and MDA will award $10,000 in in-kind prizes to three Food/Ag/Bev Division semi-finalists, including $2,500 for the third and second place finishers, and $5,000 for the category winner.

Lead sponsors of the 2016 MN Cup competition include Bush Foundation, Carlson Family Foundation, General Mills, Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest, Positively Minnesota, Pentair UnitedHealth Group, University of Minnesota and Wells Fargo. Supporting sponsors include 301 INC, AARP, ADM, ANDCOR, AURI, Blandin Foundation, Cairn Ventures, Capella, Clear Channel, Clifton Larson Allen, Come Up Capital, Eide Bailly, Fredrikson & Byron, P. A., Gopher Angels, Grain Millers, Gray Plant Mooty, Haberman, IBM, Initiative Foundation, The Kenyon Consortium, LifeScience Alley, Lurie, Magnet 360, Maslon LLC, Meda, Messerli & Kramer, MHTA, Midwest Pantry, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Commerce, Mojo Minnesota, Mosaic, National Foodworks Services LLC, Proto Labs, The Reserve, Securian Financial Group, Six Speed, Sofia Fund, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Southwest Initiative Foundation, Spoken Impact, Star, Startec, Star Tribune, Stinson Leonard Street, Stoel Rives LLP, TECHdotMN, The Schwan Food Company, Treehouse Health, Twin Cities Business Magazine, Venture Bank and West Central Initiative.

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 and details on how to enter for 2016, please visit http://carlsonschool.umn.edu/mn-cup/.