This year’s Challenge Cup kicked off this week in D.C., with dozens of bright entrepreneurs descending on the 1776 campus to take part in the mentoring, coaching, and networking sessions that led up to last night’s pitch competition. Challenge Cup participants are working in healthcare, education, energy, and government—all highly-regulated, challenging industries that are ripe for innovation.
Given just 60 seconds to convince the judges that they should be chosen to continue in the competition, many dry-mouthed entrepreneurs struggled to state their case before the dreaded gong was sounded. There were apps to help parents understand their children’s homework; bracelets that monitor the wearer’s sun exposure; signs to help people make informed decisions about efficient transportation methods; and a way to charge mobile devices using the kinetic energy creating by simply walking.
Although innovative and certainly interesting, none of those companies were selected for the final round. The four companies that did advance and were named the winners from each category will go on to compete in the global competition, alongside entrepreneurs from 16 cities around the world. Next week the competition moves to Chicago—stay tuned for more great stories on the next big things.