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Minnesota Cup Announces 2014 Division Finalists

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Minnesota Cup announced 2014 finalists for the competition now in its 10th year.

Most years I know (know of) most of the companies on the list. But this year just one… OMG Transit.

I take that as a good sign along with the numbers below about a record number or participants… we have a lot of entrepreneurial activity going on in our region and there is no way to know who everyone is.

Click Minnesota Cup Reception (free) to register for the September 10th, 2014 event and click Twin Cities Startup Week to see other events going on during a week long celebration of startup life in Minnesota.

Press release…

Minnesota Cup Entries Advance In Tenth Annual Entrepreneurial Showdown


MINNEAPOLIS—August 18, 2014—The Minnesota Cup announced today that it has advanced 21 teams of Minnesota-based entrepreneurs, innovators, and inventors to the third round of the 2014 competition— the tenth annual. Finalists were chosen from 70 semifinalist teams across seven divisions, in a record year of 1300 total participants.

“Representation in this year’s Minnesota Cup competition finalist pool is deep and wide,” said Melissa Kjolsing, executive director, Minnesota Cup. “We’re reaching a broad range of entrepreneurs from across the state — I’m so pleased to point out that in 2014, six of our finalist businesses hail from greater Minnesota, and five finalist teams are led or co-led by women.”

The following finalists will be narrowed down to division winners in late August, as they compete for a share of $300,000 in prizes as well as the grand prize title: an additional $50,000 in seed capital and advice from Minnesota’s leaders in finance, management, legal, and accounting support services.

Energy/Clean Tech/Water:

  • 75F - Deepinder Singh, Blue Earth County
  • Friction Reduction - Gary Pozarnsky, Hennepin County
  • Pelican Lake Holdings - Robert Anderson, Grant County



  • DocentEDU - Matthew Nupen, Washington County
  • JenTra Tools - Travis Kelley, Cass County
  • YOXO - Jeff Freeland Nelson, Ramsey County

High Tech:

Life Science/Health IT:

  • Andas Inc - Joseph Jensen, Hennepin County
  • SpineThera - Jeff Missling, Hennepin County
  • SynapseBLUE - David Sullivan, Hennepin County

Social Entrepreneur:


Finalists were selected after creating a detailed business plan with the assistance of the competition’s mentor network, and will now receive training in public speaking from Spoken Impact, culminating in live presentations on August 26 and 27 to their division review boards, followed by a question and answer session.

Winners from each division will be named on August 27, and each will be awarded $30,000 in seed capital (with the exception of the Student and Social divisions, which will be awarded $20,000 each). Additionally, one runner-up from each division will receive $5,000.

The 2014 finalists will be honored alongside all semi-finalists, finalists and division winners at a September 10 reception presented by Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand, LLP at the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center. At that event, one division winner will be selected for the grand prize, an additional $50,000.

The Minnesota Cup seeks entrepreneurs, small business people and inventors who dream of creating the state’s next breakthrough business success story. And, this year, the Minnesota Cup and the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship partnered to launch two new programs encouraging more women-led entrepreneurship. This resulted in thirty-four percent of this year’s entries coming from women-led teams, and forty-five percent of total entries from teams including at least one female member— the largest female representation in the Minnesota Cup’s ten-year history.

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, Bush Foundation, Cafe Inc., Cleantech Open, CliftonLarsonAllen, The Collaborative, The Digging LLC, Eide Bailly, Fredrikson and Byron, Gopher Angels, Gray Plant Mooty, Grain Millers, Haberman, Initiative Foundation, Leonhardt Ventures, LifeScience Alley, Lurie Besikof Lapidus & Company, Magnet 360, Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand, Messerli & Kramer, Minneapolis Foundation, 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. For more information and to enter, please visit www.breakthroughideas.org.

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Jennifer Weismann


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