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DC #ChallengeCup winners announced after tough pitchfest

The finals for the D.C. regional Challenge Cup, a multi-city event to solve global challenges through innovation, were held last night at 1776. Thirty-five startups spread across the focus areas of education, energy, health and smart cities pitched to a panel of eight judges and hundreds of onlookers and well-wishers. After winnowing the field to two finalists in each category, the judges announced D.C.'s regional winners: eduCanon, Ethical Electric, Dorsata Inc. and RideScout.
"In the past two weeks, 210 startups have applied to be a part of the D.C. Challenge Cup, including 66 from the D.C. region," said Evan Burfield, cofounder of 1776, one of the Global Challenge Cup organizers and one of the evening's judges. The regional event drew startups from as far as Florida and Massachusetts.  The four regional winners will return to 1776 in May 2014 to compete against winners in regional competitions from 15 other cities across the world. 
After narrowing the field, the two final startups in each sphere had five minutes to share more about how their companies would improve the status quo. In education, finalist edbacker makes school fundraising more efficient by ensuring that 90 percent of the money that is raised goes to the school, rather than elsewhere. They were edged out by eduCanon, a startup that gives educators simple ways to embed questions in YouTube videos and other media to allow for the "flipping" of classrooms while keeping best teaching practices firmly at the forefront.
The energy sphere featured a showdown between Ethical Electric, which aims to make "getting clean energy as easy as signing up for Twitter," said Richard Graves, VP of business development for the company, and Sunnovations, a tech platform for solar water heaters, including a proprietary tank sensor to monitor energy inflow and outflow.
In the health sector, Dorsata and ChronoKair duked it out over the high-stakes world of patient care. Physician and ChronoKair founder Kelly Swords has developed a digital dashboard to make patient handoffs among providers seamless and as error-free as possible. Ultimately, Dorsata, which has built a platform for doctors to create and share algorithms (i.e., if patient X has symptoms Y and Z, I should try treatment A), prevailed.
TransitLabs, a startup that simplifies the process of collecting, recording and reporting data to the Federal Transit Administration, was pitching against the enthusiasm of Joseph Kopser, cofounder of RideScout. RideScout prevailed.
Judges for the evening included: Burfield, Brian Jacobs, Children's National Medical Hospital; Ilana Preuss, Smart Growth America; Becky Lavish, Pearson; John Goucher, Pearson; Al Fonts-Martinez, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Emeka Moneme, Federal City Council; and Dan Kasun, Microsoft.
The next regional Challenge Cup takes place November 4 in Chicago.

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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