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D.C. Challenge Cup competitors announced

The Challenge Cup, the international startup competition run by 1776 in D.C., has announced the local companies that will go head-to-head in the regional competition on October 21. Additionally, Donna Harris, cofounder of 1776 and the Challenge Cup, shared with Elevation DC some changes to the competition for its second iteration.

The competitors are:
  1. Alchemy Learning
  2. Edbacker
  3. EdFundr
  4. Homework Unlocked
  5. KickUp
  6. MajorClarity
  7. MPOWER Financing
  8. NineQ
  9. SkillSmart
  10. StudentInfoHub
  1. Aerodynamic Applications LLC
  2. Agricity
  3. Aquicore
  4. BaseTrace
  5. BitGrid Inc.
  6. EEme, LLC
  7. Sense Data LLC
  8. SolePower LLC
  9. Tumalow
  10. SparkFund
  1. 1EQ
  2. Advancing Synergy
  3. Avhana Health
  4. Inspire Living Inc
  5. Linked Senior, Inc
  6. OpenHealth
  7. Origent Data Sciences, Inc.
  8. Ostendio, Inc
  9. Rebel Desk
  10. SunFriend Corporation
  11. Vheda Health
  1. Local Roots Farms 
  2. TransitScreen
  3. Grey Matter
  4. ZeroCycle
  5. Create
  6. ZeroCycle
  7. SWAT
  8. Flight Match
  9. RemitRight

More than 100 companies applied for consideration in the pitch competition, which is a head-to-head NCAA-style elimination tournament spanning four different categories—education, smart cities, health and energy.

This year, 1776 will again hold regional competitions in 16 cities, but not necessarily in the same 16 cities. "We tried to change it up," Harris says. "There are so many vibrant ecosystems to highlight." 1776 will not be visiting Denver, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Capetown or Sao Paolo this year.

Instead, Harris and cofounder Evan Burfield will help judge pitch competitions in Toronto, Sydney, Amman, Nairobi, Santiago, and Dublin. (The ten cities that remain from last year include D.C., New York, Chicago, Tel Aviv, Shanghai/Beijing, Mumbai, Austin, Boston, Berlin and San Francisco.) 

1776 is also launching ChallengeX, a feeder-style competition for the Challenge Cup for incubators around the world in cities other than those officially selected for participation. Cities have to apply to be ChallengeX cities; currently Detroit, New Orleans and Buenos Aires have made the cut. "The winners of the ChallengeX [regionals] are automatically seeded a final spot in one of the 16 regional city competitions," Harris explains.

Last year, 64 representatives from around the globe flew came to D.C. to pitch during the Challenge Festival in May. This year, Harris says 80 companies will visit. "We are adding 16 wild-card slots," she explains. "Last year, when we went to cities, [sometimes] we saw more than four companies that [we thought] could win the competition."

More than 5,000 companies participated in the Challenge Cup last year, Harris expects that number to be between 8,000 and 12,000 this year. "We're doing a lot more to showcase the competitors this year," she says. "It's literally about putting companies [making an impact] up on stage."

D.C.'s regional Challenge Cup competition will take place Tuesday, October 21 at 5:30 at 1776. More details and RSVP here

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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