Startups Win Big as 1776’s Challenge Cup Competition Comes to an End

May 19, 2014

1:00 pm

Back in October, 1776’s Challenge Cup held its first regional competition in Washington, DC. After 16 total competitions in cities around the world, from NYC to São Paulo to Beijing, the Challenge Cup finally came to a close this past Saturday, when the judges selected San Francisco’s HandUp as the overall winner at the Challenge Cup Global Finals.


During the week, 64 startups from around the world competed in semifinal competitions in the categories of education, energy, health, and smart cities. The 8 finalists that competed at Saturday’s Global Finals were comprised of the domestic and international winner in each of these categories. The grand prize at stake was a $150,000 investment, as well as full support from 1776 and its partners.

Grand Prize Winner: HandUp

HandUp, which won the domestic slot at the Challenge Cup’s Smart Cities Semifinals, provides a direct donation platform for the homeless and other people in need. The company has partnered with various nonprofit organizations in the community to allow homeless people or neighbors in need to sign up for participation in the program. Users create member profiles on the HandUp platform, where they can list the essentials they need, such as food, clothing, and medical care. People who choose to donate can give to specific users, with 100 percent of each donation going directly to supporting those specific human needs.

Overall Category Winners: eduCanon, Plugsurfing, CancerIQ, HandUp

Although HandUp won the grand prize, it was joined by three other startups as an overall category winner. Each of the category winners is eligible to receive a $100,000 investment.

Education: eduCanon
The domestic finalist in educationeduCanon is a platform that allows teachers to use online video content to supplement their lesson plans. The platform easily allows users to grab video content from sites like YouTube, Vimeo, or TeacherTube, and create assignments directly on top of that content.

Energy: Plugsurfing
The international finalist in the energy categoryPlugsurfing, is attempting to solve one of the major issues associated with owning electric vehicles: charging those vehicles. It allows EV owners to simply use their smartphone to pay for charging. The company has managed to do this through its massive database of charging points for EVs that they’ve mapped throughout Europe.

Health: CancerIQ
CancerIQ won the domestic slot at the Health Semifinals. It helps health providers manage patient care and personal treatment plans using advanced data analytics and cancer genomics. The platform provides a suite of applications to help accelerate and streamline the increasingly complex decisions in oncology to help provide the best results for cancer patients.

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CancerIQ shares surprising news about landing its first contract at the Challenge Festival.

Crowd Favorite: myPower

During the first hour of Global Finals, all 64 startups got the opportunity to present a one-minute pitch to the audience. It was an opportunity for these startups to win the crowd favorite prize of $2,500 cash. After 64 pitches – ranging from the typical presentation to performance art – Chicago’s myPower won for its running companion that clips to your hip and captures your kinetic energy as you run. myPower stores this energy so you can use it to charge your smartphone or other mobile device later in the day. In essence, myPower is a rechargeable battery that you never have to worry about recharging–as long as you keep running.

Challenge Cup PeaceTech Prize: Khaya Power

In partnership with the US Institute of Peace’s PeaceTech Initiative, one startup at Global Finals was awarded with the Challenge Cup PeaceTech Prize. The prize recognizes technology that has the greatest potential for peace-building in conflict-affected countries. On Saturday, the prize was awarded to Khaya Power. One of the honorable mentions from the Energy Semifinals, Khaya Power is attempting to solve the problem of lack of regular electric supply in Africa by providing a portable battery for those living off the paraffin grid, which can be swapped out at charging stations that utilize grid or solar power to recharge.

Hottest Elite 8 Startup (Readers’ Choice):

On Friday, we asked you, our readers, who you believe is the hottest finalist in the Challenge won our poll for its digital language learning platform that utilizes content on the web to provide users with a more natural language processing method. Available as a Chrome extension and as an app for Android or iOS, the platform tests your level of proficiency through initial quizzes, and then recommends articles from around the web for you to read based on that level in your chosen foreign language.

Directly after Global Finals, attendees found themselves at the Challenge Festival Closing Party at IdeaSpace, where HandUp co-founder Rose Broome was spotted toting THE Challenge Cup.

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1776 cofounder, Donna Harris, and HandUp cofounder, Rose Bloome, posing with THE Challenge Cup.

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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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