Friday, October 17 | The Commons, Denver – By Ari Chernoff
Friday night was a special night at The Commons on Champa. It was the night of the 1776 Challenge Cup, and Denver joined 75 cities across the globe in bringing together startups founded to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues.
Seven local startup founders and co-founders took the stage one-by-one, facing a panel of judges, supporters and peers. After a three minute pitch, the startup’s founder was given two minutes for Q&A with the judges.
In a competition like this, you expect ideas that are out of the ordinary; that seek to do something vitally important for the betterment of the world. You hope for founders whose passion helps you catch their vision and feel the urgency of their endeavor. Challenge Cup Denver was filled with these startups, and the passion for their ideas were clearly seen as each founder took the stage.
At the end of the day, Boogaloo Beds, the brainchild of Caleb Polley was selected to head to Washington D.C. in January to represent Denver at the Global Finals of the Challenge Festival. Caleb will be joining startups from over 65 cities around the world, as well as investors, government officials, corporate representatives, and innovators in critical industries for in-depth discussions.
Caleb’s idea for Boogaloo Beds came about when he and his team were building products to improve sleep and safety in shared sleeping spaces like travel hostels, homeless shelters and student dorms. The idea for Boogaloo Beds came about when parents, therapists and experts starting building their own versions of Caleb’s teams product for personal use. They told the team that if improved, the product could be revolutionary, and Caleb began to see the potential of their idea.
After winning the Challenge Cup Denver, Caleb said, ”We’re very excited to head to DC for the 1776 Challenge Cup! The previous Denver winner really hyped it up and the speakers and workshops seem very valuable. Appreciate the help from The Commons on getting us involved.”
Other Friday finalists were Dr. Ken Bellian with AI Health, creators of GettingHome™, a post-acute care (PAC) logistics platform that allows PAC agencies to maintain their independence while gaining access to new patient flow, best-of-breed technologies and best practices; and Lawrence Wagner, Founder and CEO of Spark Mindset. Spark Mindset seeks to transform the traditional education system through the implementation of virtual reality learning systems to provide better access and support to students in low-income areas. Other startups participating in the local Challenge Cup were: Grandview Technology focusing on emergency management technology, WalletGyde, creating financial empowerment, Aerosol Devices, revolutionizing manufacturing for clean air, and Wampum, creating peer-to-peer commerce solutions.
Challenge Cup 1776 judges included past Challenge Cup Denver winner Lauren Costantini the founder of Prima-Temp, Inc.; Tom Higley of 10.10.10; Kate Barton of the Downtown Denver Partnership and Denver Startup Week; and Scott Reich of the Colorado Impact Fund.
“These Colorado entrepreneurs are building revolutionary startups that bring solutions to some of our world’s biggest challenges,” said Challenge Cup Denver judge and past winner Lauren Costantini, “It was wonderful to see their vision and feel their passion, and I’m so pleased that we can give these extraordinary companies an opportunity to present their vision on a larger stage. The Challenge Cup program is an extraordinary opportunity to connect startups to the resources and relationships they need to be successful.”
“Denver is increasingly home to so many inspiring entrepreneurs who are building high-growth startups to tackle big world challenges,” said 1776 CEO Evan Burfield. “We’re proud to help give these extraordinary companies an opportunity to present their vision on the global stage and connect to the resources and relationships they need to be successful.”
As we inch closer to January, keep an eye on the 1776 page and be sure to follow the event. Startups from all over the world will be making their pitch, and you may just find an idea that inspires you.
More About 1776 Challenge Cup at The Commons
The Commons on Champa and 1776 kicked off the fourth annual global Challenge Cup competition that seeks to find innovative startups solving the world’s most complex challenges. The Challenge Cup is presented in partnership with investment firm Revolution, an active champion for the emergence of entrepreneurial communities and startups outside of Silicon Valley, and takes place in 75 global cities, including cities drawn from Revolution’s Rise of the Rest program as well as over 20 US state capitals. In each of these cities, 1776 partners with a leading local startup program to host a Challenge Cup experience on 1776’s UNION Network, which is a digital platform that connects startup ecosystems around the world.
About The Commons
The Commons is a public-private partnership founded in 2015 to unlock the potential of Denver’s entrepreneurial spirit. Today we are a nationally-recognized nonprofit resource center that impacts the city’s economic future through programs, partnerships and the place The Commons lives. Our work can be seen, experienced and felt throughout our entrepreneurship community, across all industries and stages of business growth. We connect and help build the network that supports aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators as they make an impact in the world. Join us at thecommons.co and follow our community @commonsonchampa.
1776 is a public benefit corporation that empowers startup ecosystems around the world to solve complex challenges. To accomplish this, we leverage our digital startup network, UNION; physical campuses in Washington, D.C., New York City, San Francisco and Dubai; a global startup pitch competition, Challenge Cup; and deep staff expertise in regulatory issues. We accelerate connections and outcomes among startups, corporations, and public institutions. For more information, please visit www.1776.vc and follow @1776 on Twitter and @1776vc on Instagram.
A Washington, DC-based investment firm founded by Steve Case in 2005, Revolution’s mission is to build disruptive, innovative companies that offer consumers more choice, convenience, and control in their lives. Revolution seeks to create significant value for companies that are attacking large, traditional industries with innovative new products and services. The Revolution team brings proven expertise in scaling up companies and helping to expand niche ideas into mass appeal. For more information, please visit: www.revolution.com or follow us on Twitter @revolution.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row]