The Challenge Festival Conference: How Startups Can Revolutionize Regulated Industries

After six months of touring 16 cities around the world and discovering 64 of the most innovative startups in the categories of health, education, smart cities, and energy, 1776’s Challenge Cup competition has finally made its way back to Washington, DC. At tonight’s Challenge Festival Opening Party, competitors, speakers, and attendees will get the opportunity to mingle and chill out for a night before the intensity and excitement of next week’s line-up of educational events, competitions, and conferences.

Among the events scheduled for the Challenge Festival is the lunchtime conference, Grand Challenges – The Rise of Startups. Held on Monday, May 12 at 1776, the Grand Challenges conference will bring entrepreneurs representing early- and late-stage startups that are successfully solving major issues in heavily regulated industries, and will discuss the ways through which startups can take advantage of the market opportunities in taking on these issues. Speakers will include executives from DC darlings Opower and EverFi – startups that effectively revolutionized energy and education respectively, and have managed to grow into two of the most successful companies in the DC region.

The Grand Challenges conference will be led by Chris Frangione, the director for prize development at the XPRIZE Foundation. The involvement of someone from XPRIZE is apropos considering the reputation of the foundation for encouraging technological innovations in Grand Challenges affecting energy and environment, exploration (ocean and deep space), global development, learning, and life sciences. XPRIZE works with public and private entities to establish prize competitions that motivate teams of people to develop these technology solutions. One such prize is the Google Lunar XPRIZE, which is offering $30 million in incentive-based prizes to teams that can accomplish the safe landing of a private craft on the surface of the moon.

Monday’s lunchtime conference will cover how startups can find opportunities in these Grand Challenges to revolutionize regulated “stuck” industries, such as energy and education, and establish for themselves a successful position in the market.

The panelists at Monday’s Grand Challenges – The Rise of Startups conference include:

  • Donna Harris, Cofounder at 1776
  • Tom Davidson, Founder and CEO at Everfi
  • Sasha Olenina, CEO at WeStudyIn
  • Ogi Kavazovic, Vice President of Marketing and Strategy at Opower
  • Tom Mattzie, Founder and CEO at Ethical Electric
  • Sabrina Li, CEO at Coyote Biosciences
  • Rose Broome, Cofounder and CEO at HandUp
  • Evan Burfield, Cofounder at 1776

Grab yourself some lunch and learn a few things at the Grand Challenge conference:

What: Grand Challenges – The Rise of Startups
When: Monday, May 12 @ 11:30am
Where: 1776 (1133 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C.)
How: Get a Challenge Festival badge, or purchase an individual ticket to this event.

The Challenge Cup is produced by 1776 in partnership with Tech Cocktail and iStrategyLabs.

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Written by:
Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.
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