America at work
Announcing: The Challenge Festival Grand Champion
Free Enterprise Staff | May 19, 2014

They came.  They pitched.  They conquered.

This weekend marked the exciting finale of the Challenge Cup.  What is the Challenge Cup, you ask?  Well, a team from Washington D.C. incubator, 1776, traveled to 16 cities around the world to find the best startups in the most regulated industries, including education, health care, smart cities and energy. Sixty-four winning startups from those 16 competitions competed last week to win the Challenge Cup championship title and $650,000 in prizes. (Still confused or want more details? Check out this video.)

After seven months of searching, we’re excited to announce the first ever Challenge Cup grand champion (drum roll please) HandUp!

HandUp addresses two major social problems: poverty and homelessness. Through its pilot program in San Francisco, HandUp is allowing local users to donate money to specific men and women in need. HandUp’s model also ensures that 100 percent of the funds go toward basics like food, housing and medical care.

HandUp walked away with a $150,000 investment, as well as the full support of 1776 and partners.

But HandUp wasn’t the only winner of the night.  Be sure to check out the category winners, each of whom are eligible to receive a $100,000 investment:

Education: EduCanon —D.C.’s EduCanon is an online learning environment to build and share interactive video lessons. Teachers begin with any YouTube video content (screencasts, Khan Academy, Minute Physics, TED, NOVA, etc.) and transform what is traditionally passive content into an active experience for students through time-embedded formative assessments. The EduCanon platform incorporates teaching pedagogy and the best practices of online video environments.

Energy: PlugSurfing — PlugSurfing, the energy winner from Challenge Cup Berlin, is the pioneering app empowering electric vehicle drivers to find and pay for charging throughout Europe. PlugSurfing solves the problem EV drivers face of closed networks: now instead of the 100 RFID cards needed to charge everywhere, a driver can use the one thing he is never without: a smartphone.

Health: CancerIQ — Chicago based CancerIQ offers a web-based service that gives oncologists at hospitals everywhere access to a large, curated repository of similar patients, guidelines, and network of providers at top institutions. The core technology, which team members spent seven years developing, also uses algorithms to interpret molecular diagnostic data, identify high risk patients, and lead oncologists toward actionable interventions.

Want to know more?  You can follow all of the Challenge Festival action over at 1776’s blog.