May 17, 2015
Saturday evening saw the culmination of the 1776 Challenge Festival with the global Challenge Cup finals. Throughout the week, startups from around the world (a total of 80 startups in all) competed in four different categories: Education, Health, Energy & Sustainability, and Cities & Transportation. From each category, two finalists were chosen to pitch their startups to a panel of judges at the finals on Saturday. Each finalist gave a four minute pitch and answered questions from the judges.
After the finalists pitched, the judges took time to deliberate while all 80 startups pitched to the audience in 45 second bursts. The audience could then vote for their favorites and the crowd favorite would take home $10,000. Since 45 seconds is obviously not enough time to give a detailed overview of your startup, entertainment seemed to trump information with these pitches.
Winner: Twiga Fruits
Twiga Fruits took home the grand prize of a $150,000 investment from the 1776 Seed Fund. Twiga Fruits is based in Nairobi, Kenya and has come up with a market solution to solve the problem of rising food prices across Africa. They offer farmers a formal guaranteed price on their products, handle the produce with care to eliminate loss and deliver directly to thousands of independent kiosks across Nairobi. The kiosk owners work with Twiga on a credit system, paying only at the end of the day based on what they sold. Twiga Fruits also provides all kiosk owners with smart phones so that they can keep track of inventory, and offer an easy payment option.
Audience Choice Winner
LearnLux, out of Boston, Massachusetts, 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. LearnLux, a finalist in the Education category, was awarded $10,000 for being the audience favorite.
One finalist was also chosen from each category to win $50,000. The winners were Cognotion, Radiator Labs, and ReliefWatch. The grand prize was presented by last year’s winner, Rose Bloome, founder of HandUP.
For a closer look at all of the finalists, you can check out our coverage from the Challenge Festival semi-final competitions in Education, Energy & Sustainability, Healthcare, and Cities & Transportation.
Mount Kenya farmer image credit: Flickr/CIAT
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