June 11, 2015
The Tech.Co Startup of the Year Competition & Tour rolled into DC on Wednesday night. We were back in our old stomping grounds at the new 1776 campus in Crystal City for one night to showcase the newest and most innovative startups in the region, and to award two startups as DC Startup Of The Year. The winning startups are invited to the finals that will take place in October at our Celebrate Conference.
Just in case there was any doubt, DC’s Startup of the Year winners proved that people love to eat and drink. There were a bunch of awesome startups represented at the event, but the unintentional theme of the evening was food and beverage. There were several innovative food and beverage startups, including the finalists, represented in DC last night.
Reader’s Choice: True Made Foods
True Made Foods was founded by Kevin Powell and Abraham Kamark. Both are veterans with an entrepreneurial drive, and they found an opportunity, oddly enough, in ketchup. It all started when Kevin, who had admittedly gained some weight in recent years, started eating whatever his wife, Abby, put in front of him. To get him to eat more vegetables, she would do what many smart moms of picky toddlers do, and hide vegetables in his food. The “aha!” moment came when Abby concocted a crazy good ketchup made from spinach, carrots, and butternut squash. True Made Ketchup was born from this recipe and other True Made Foods products have followed.
Best Pitch: Javazen
Javazen was started in a dorm room at the University of Maryland by three roommates who had a desire to be caffeinated and healthy at the same time. They started experimenting with different coffees, teas, and other natural ingredients and eventually perfected their brews. They currently have three blends available. Each one contains a mix of coffee, tea, and other ingredients such as goji berries, acai berries, and organic cacao. They are currently in meetings with several natural foods retailers to get their coffee blends out on the market.
Overall it was an energetic night filled with energetic people, great ideas, and let’s not forget, free samples. Aside from 1776, we’d like to thank our other partners for the event, 43North and HyTechPro. 43North is currently accepting applications for what they are calling “the world’s largest business idea competition.” They will be awarding $5 in prize money including a $1 million grand prize. You can apply here. The deadline for applications is June 24th. HyTechPro offers dedicated offshore engineers to help startups build applications at 1/3 of the cost. If you missed HyTechPro last night, try to join us tomorrow night to meet them in San Francisco!
Startups, be sure to check our upcoming event schedule on the Celebrate Startup Tour to find out where to pitch in your region!
Image Credit: Flickr/Nicolas Raymond
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