DC incubator and seed fund, 1776, kicked off its second annual Challenge Festival over the weekend. The event runs through the week and features conferences, speakers, and galas, all centered around The Challenge Cup, a global startup pitch competition. Over 70 entrepreneurs will compete in the areas of education, energy & sustainability, health, transportation, and cities. In the end, over $650,000 in prize money will be given away to the winners.
Monday afternoon was the first semi-finals competition, in the field of education. Twenty one startups pitched, and three finalists were chosen to go on to the final round on Saturday. Here's a look at the winners:
- Cognotion — From New York, NY, Cognotion identifies talent, delivers functional utilization of knowledge, and decreases employee churn rate using gaming and video tools designed for entry-level millennials. They use emotion and context to teach hard and soft skills to entry level employees. New York, New York
- LearnLux — From Boston, LearnLux creates online learning tools to teach people personal finance when they need it most. The company allows companies to empower their employees to become financially autonomous by giving them the skills and knowledge they need to make the best financial decisions. Boston, Massachusetts
- Handsfree Learning — From San Francisco, Handsfree helps students, teachers & institutions in learn-by-doing disciplines by supporting instruction, practice, assessment & feedback. By applying a range of hardware and software solutions to the process of technical skills acquisition, the Handsfree platform expands possibilities in subjects like dentistry, medicine, culinary arts, fine arts, cosmetology, and lab sciences.
It's pure coincidence that the three winning startups just happen to come from cities in the United States with huge startup communities. Other Challenge Cup competitors in this category were startups from Dublin, Ireland (Empower The User), Winnipeg, Canada (Permission Click), and Amman, Jordan (SheFighter), among others.
You can read about last year's Challenge Cup education finalists here.
Image Credit: Flickr/Bindaas Madhavi