Fifteen tech-enabled startups with at least one team member from an underrepresented demographic are sharing $198,000 in non-dilutive grant funding from the third Startup302 competition, coordinated by Delaware Prosperity Partnership and its partners.
The contest attracted 169 applicants from throughout Delaware and across the United States, plus Canada, Brazil, Uruguay, Italy, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.
Delaware Tech-Enabled (sponsored by the Delaware Division of Small Business)
1st: Toivoa (Wilmington) – $22,000 plus one-year World Trade Center Delaware membership
2nd: College Essay App (Bethany Beach) – $13,000 plus one-year World Trade Center Delaware membership
3rd: Rush Roto Studio (Dover) – $6,000 plus one-year World Trade Center Delaware membership
FinTech (sponsored by Delaware Prosperity Partnership, Discover Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co., M&T Bank)
1st: KidVestors (Louisville, Kentucky) – $21,000
2nd: Stakana Analytics (Seattle) – $11,000
3rd: Fleri (Columbus, Ohio) – $6,000
Clean, Green and Blue (sponsored by Delmarva Power, DuPont, FMC Corp., The Innovation Space)
1st: Ecotone Renewables (Pittsburgh) – $25,000
2nd: New Breed Meats (Atlanta) – $14,0000
3rd: Frontline Waste (Delray Beach, Florida) – $6,000
Early Stage (sponsored by Delaware Prosperity Partnership, Delaware State University, JPMorgan Chase & Co.)
1st: SomnOSA (Baltimore) – $10,000
2nd: MiraHeart (Baltimore) – $6,000
3rd: BASEstud.io (Los Angeles)$4,000
Life Sciences (sponsored by Delaware Bioscience Association, Delaware Prosperity Partnership, Highmark Delaware, The Innovation Space)
1st: ReHeva BioSciences (Dublin, Ohio) – $22,000
2nd: MyoGene Bio (San Diego) – $12,000
3rd: GelSana Therapeutics (Boulder, Colorado) – $6,000
Blue Hen Prize (Finalists with founders affiliated with the University of Delaware and sponsored by UD Horn Entrepreneurship)
1st: SomnOSA (Baltimore) – $7,000
2nd: Toivoa (Wilmington) – $5,000
3rd: Stakana Analytics (Seattle) – $2,500
Sylvester Mobley, managing partner of Plain Sight Capital and founder of Coded by Kids, delivered the keynote address at the finals, held April 27 at Theatre N in Wilmington. He advised entrepreneurs to avoid getting caught up in perfectionism and instead take responsibility for outcomes, expect to be wrong and to “mess things up,” to remain coachable, to always default to action and to focus on what’s important.
Another feature of the event was an investor panel discussion with Mark Crawford of NEVA SGR, Holly Flanagan of Gabriel Investments, Lauren Graupman of AE Industrial Partners, Martin Hunt of Swanlaab USA Ventures and James Massaquoi of Osage Venture Partners. Troy C. Farmer of Delaware State University’s The Garage Maker Space served as moderator.
Judges included Cynthia Cai of Viva BioInnovator, Will Cruz of The Innovation Space, Leilani Decena-Shepherd of Goldey-Beacom College, Emiliano Espinosa of Chesapeake Agriculture Innovation Center, Dan Freeman of Horn Entrepreneurship Program, Edgar Monroy Gonzalez of Delmarva Power, Jalaal Hayes of Elyte Energy, Anastasia Jackson of the Delaware Division of Small Business, , Katherine Lakofsky of Delaware BioScience Association and Delaware Biotechnology Institute, Sarah Mailloux of Small Business Development Center of Delaware, Lauren Markell of FMC Corp., Regina Mitchell of the Delaware Division of Small Business, Dwayne Parker of Highmark Delaware, Deb Travers of The Innovation Space, Alexandr Vinokurov of M&T Bank and Raghu Vudathu of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Pitch session moderators included Alysse Bortolotto of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, Dora Cheatham of the Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Association, Joseph Lewis III of Delaware Prosperity Partnership, Linda Walck of Horn Entrepreneurship and Marcie Reilly of The Innovation Space.
Startup302 competitors must be technology-based or -enabled, with at least one founder from an underrepresented group: women; people of color, including African Americans, Latin Americans and Native Americans; and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“Delaware is a very inclusive and diverse community with many resources and opportunities to help empower and lift up startup companies,” said Erica Crell, innovation manager for the partnership. “To have these amazing startups from all backgrounds converge, engage and network with each other here in the city of Wilmington in this beautiful theater, is what Startup302’s mission has been since the start. Startup302, DPP and Delaware recognize the economic potential in and outside the state by supporting and prioritizing our underserved startup communities. I am proud to say that Startup302 is allowing these communities to have a voice and is leading the charge in Delaware on driving the investments to those that are underfunded.”
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