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Minnesota Cup Announces 2014 Semifinalists

Now in the 10th year Minnesota Cup - @MinnesotaCup - continues to grow. A record of almost 1300 participants submitted applications with 70 groups moving on in 7 divisions to the semifinalist round.

Up for grabs is $300,000 in prize money and maybe more importantly resources for the entrepreneurs including events and networking with Minnesota Cup supporting partners, investors and other entrepreneurs.

See the press release below for the 70 groups.

Here are a couple of photos from last years reception at the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota:

Minnesota Cup 2013 Minnesota Cup 2013

This is my friend Matt Hardy - @hardy101, co founder of Kidblog and 2013 General Division Winner, giving a pitch prior to the “grand prize” winner announcement:

Matt Hardy of Kidblog at Minnesota Cup 2013

And the Kidblog division award:

 Minnesota Cup 2013 Kidblog Division Winner


Press Release:

Homegrown Business Ideas Progress to Next Round in Tenth Annual Minnesota Cup Competition

MINNEAPOLIS -- June 9, 2014 -- The Minnesota Cup announced today that it has advanced 70 teams of Minnesota-based entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators to the second round of the 2014 competition. A new record total of nearly 1300 participants submitted entries to the tenth annual Minnesota Cup, which is the largest statewide new venture competition in the country.The following semifinalists, in seven divisions, will now compete for a share of $300,000 in prizes, as well as the opportunity to make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality.

Energy/Clean Technology/Water Division

  • 75F - Deepinder Singh, Blue Earth County
  • AquaMedix LLC - Jan Jachimowicz, Hennepin County
  • Friction Reduction - Gary Pozarnsky, Hennepin County
  • IHB Fuel Technology - Hans Iverson, Hennepin County
  • LigSis - Jason Kamau, Ramsey County
  • Magnetic Induction Heating System - Ron Immerfall, Morrison County
  • MyRain - Steele Lorenz, Scott County
  • Pelican Lake Holdings - Robert Anderson, Grant County
  • The Green Habit - Holly Chan, Hennepin County
  • Viroment - Paul Koenig, Washington County

Food/Agriculture/Beverage Division

General Division


High Tech Division


Life Science & Health IT Division


  • Andas Inc - Joseph Jensen, Hennepin County
  • iCareSoft - Joseph Baron, Hennepin County
  • Fortiori Design LLC - Roger Schmitz, McLeod County
  • Learn To Live LLC - Dale Cook, Hennepin County
  • Omnis Pharma - Shruthi Naik, Olmsted County
  • OrthoCure, Inc. - Ken Shain, Hennepin County
  • SpineThera - Jeff Missling, Hennepin County
  • SynapseBLUE - David Sullivan, Hennepin County
  • Reduction of Medical Implant Infections - Cyrus Munshi, Hennepin County
  • VivaQuant, LLC - Brian Brockway, Ramsey County

Social Division

Student Division

  • Tech Bank, LLC - Austin White-Pentony, Hennepin County
  • Echo Spot - Nadya Nguyen, Hennepin County
  • Endle - Kurt Weber, Hennepin County
  • GoYoga - Jessica Tjornehoj, Hennepin County
  • ilos Videos - Sean Higgins, Crow Wing County
  • Jonny Pops - Connor Wray, Rice County
  • Northwoods Hops Farm - Erin Kayser, Hennepin County
  • PLUGZ - John Holt, Hennepin County
  • Penguin Feet, LLC - Andrew Ellingson, Hennepin County
  • U-Swap.org - Nathan Shrader, Hennepin County

Thirty-four percent of the tenth annual Minnesota Cup entries came from women-led teams, while a total of 45 percent included entries with at least one female team member — the largest representation of female participants in the competition’s history, due in part to two new programslaunched earlier this year by the Minnesota Cup and the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship to encourage more women to get involved in entrepreneurship, as well as the competition.
The Minnesota Cup’s semifinalists were chosen from a wide range of small businesses, entrepreneurs and inventors who entered in the following divisions: Food/Agriculture/Beverage,Energy/Clean Tech/Water, General, High Tech, Life Science/Health IT, Social and Student. These semifinalists will now have the chance to put together a detailed business plan with the help of the competition’s mentor network, take advantage of a free one-month PRO membership to Cafe, Inc., meet members of the Cup’s review board, as well as attend events organized by Cup partners.

The 2014 semifinalists will be honored on June 18 at a reception at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management by contest organizers — including Minnesota Cup co-founders Scott Litman and Dan Mallin, review board members, mentors and partners, in addition to past Minnesota Cup finalists and winners.

“Minnesota has long been an incubator for innovation, and the Minnesota Cup harnesses that innovative spirit with the help of our extensive local business network,” says Minnesota Cup co-founder Scott Litman. “Our goal is always to find the great ideas of the future and help transform them into the next successful, Minnesota-based companies. And this year’s strong applicant pool is no exception — we’re so excited to see what will develop through the summer.”

On Aug. 18, finalists for each division will be announced and each division winner will be awarded $30,000 in seed capital (with the exception of the Student and Social divisions, which are awarded $20,000 each). Additionally, one runner-up from each division will receive $5,000.

On Sept. 10, division winners will compete for an additional grand prize of $50,000, while all semi-finalists, finalists and division winners will be celebrated at the Minnesota Cup’s final awards event, which will be held at the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center.

Host sponsors of The 2014 Minnesota Cup competition include Wells Fargo and the University of Minnesota. Other lead sponsors include Carlson, Digital River, General Mills and UnitedHealth Group. Supporting sponsors include Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, Blandin Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cafe Inc., Cleantech Open, CliftonLarsonAllen, The Collaborative, The Digging LLC, ecomagination, Eide Bailly, Fredrikson and Byron, Gopher Angels, Gray Plant Mooty, Grain Millers, Initiative Foundation, LifeScience Alley, Lurie Besikof Lapidus & Company, Magnet 360, Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand, Messerli & Kramer, MN Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources, MN Department of Employment and Economic Development, Minnesota High Tech Association, Minnesota Venture Capital Association, MOJO MN, The Mosaic Company, Proto Labs, Inc., Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Southwest Initiative Foundation, SixSpeed, Split Rock Partners, Spoken Impact, Stinson Leonard Street, Stoel Rives, StarTec Investments, TECHdotMN, Treehouse Health, and West Central Initiative Foundation.

The Minnesota Cup is an annual competition that seeks to support and accelerate the development of the best breakthrough ideas from across Minnesota — and is celebrating its 10th year in 2014. For more information and to enter, please visit www.breakthroughideas.org.

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Jennifer Weismann

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