Eight Finalists for 'Get In The Ring' Pitch Compeition Announced

Judges, including leaders of prominent incubators, accelerators and entrepreneurship organizations from across the nation, reviewed the applications and video submissions of 40 semifinalists and have narrowed the field to eight finalists.

The eight finalists in The Kauffman Foundation's "Get in the Ring: The American Startup Clash" pitch competition hail from seven states and represent a variety of industries:

  • Drazil Foods, Edina, Minn., is a woman-owned business that manufactures Drazil Tea, a blend of naturally caffeine-free herbal teas infused with fruit juices. The product offers a healthy alternative to many children’s drinks, meeting consumer desires for less sugar without compromising taste.
  • EyeVerify, Kansas City, Kan., is the exclusive provider of EyePrint Verification, a highly accurate biometric software solution for mobile devices. Eyeprint Verification delivers a password-free mobile experience and secure authentication at a glance by using existing cameras on smartphones to image and pattern match the blood vessels in the whites of the eye.
  • MANA Nutrition, Matthews, N.C., makes ready-to-use foods designed to treat severe malnutrition and its devastating effects. MANA has a 30,000-square-foot production facility in Georgia that makes a therapeutic peanut butter for aid groups such as UNICEF, the UN World Food Program, World Vision and USAID.
  • POPVOX, Redwood City, Calif., is an online advocacy and civic engagement platform that meshes real-time legislative data with users’ personal stories and sentiment. POPVOX curates and delivers public input to Congress in a format tailored to actionable policy decisions.
  • REPP, Cincinnati, creates verified profiles that individuals can share with others they meet through commerce, dating or networking sites. REPP provides identity and photo verification along with personally verified background checks.
  • St. Teresa Medical, Inc., Maple Grove, Minn., is a medical device company commercializing a new hemostatic technology platform called FASTCLOT®. The patent-pending FASTCLOT technology accelerates the clotting cascade by adding robust clot-forming proteins to a wound site, stopping hemorrhaging faster.
  • Travefy, Lincoln, Neb., is a free group travel planner that solves the coordination headaches of travel. Through Travefy, a user can invite friends to a trip by syncing Facebook or Gmail accounts or adding emails, poll friends socially about trip preferences, collaborate on trip details via a private, shared planning wall and book travel with deals from partners.
  • weeSpring, New York, is an online community, built off of existing social networks, that allows parents to share advice with their friends about baby essentials.

The final eight will kick off Global Entrepreneurship Week festivities in Kansas City on Nov. 18 by delivering their best and final pitches to an esteemed panel of judges: global fashion mogul Marc Ecko; Dell president Steve Felice; serial entrepreneur, investor and author Lisa Gansky; consumer brand “turnaround” CEO Matthew Rubel; and broadcast and digital media guru Denmark West.

A cash prize of $10,000 will be awarded to the top U.S. finisher, and $5,000 will go to the runner-up. An "audience favorite" will also be awarded. In addition to the cash prize, the startup crowned U.S. champion will leave Kansas City the very next day to travel expense-paid to the Nov. 22 Get in the Ring global finals in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. There, he or she will compete with seven other international finalists, selected from 30 participating nations, for a chance to secure angel investment from a potential pool of €1,000,000, or approximately $1.3 million.

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Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world's largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.

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