Four start-ups were chosen Tuesday night to represent Washington in the second annual Challenge Cup , a global pitch competition that brings together companies with ideas for improving education, energy, health and cities.
Thirty-seven entrepreneurs took to the stage Oct. 21 at District start-up hub 1776, which organizes the annual contest, to present business ventures that ranged from treadmill desks to recycling data analytics to homework help for parents.
The Challenge Cup pits young companies in 16 cities around the globe — as far away as Santiago, Chile; Amman, Jordan; and Mumbai — in head-to-head regional competitions. The top four start-ups, one from each of the aforementioned categories, then travel to Washington in May for the global finals.
The event is the most significant undertaking for 1776, which was formed last year to foster entrepreneurship in the District. The group distinguishes itself from other business incubators and accelerators by focusing on regulated industries that impact communities.
The start-ups chosen to advance to the finals Tuesday were:
EdBacker , a District-based company that provides schools and their parent associations with an online platform to raise money and rally volunteers. The company was co-founded by Gary Hensley, a former educator who sold his last start-up.
BaseTrace, a North Carolina Research Triangle company that has developed a liquid with DNA that can be added to contaminated water to see where it flows and whether it pollutes other waterways. Chief executive Justine Kmiecik, a graduate of Harvard and Duke universities, co-invented the technology.
1EQ, a District-based company that wants to ship a box containing an Internet-connected scale and blood pressure cuff to pregnant women, allowing doctors to monitor them for signs of prenatal health issues. Founder Juan Pablo Segura is the company’s chief financial officer.
Local Roots Farms. As the name suggests, the California-based company believes the vegetables you buy should be locally sourced — with or without a field. The start-up manufactures shipping crate-like containers that grow lettuce faster and with less water than traditional agriculture. Co-founder Daniel Kuenzi is pursuing an MBA at Georgetown.