1776 Announces Roster of Global Partners For Challenge Cup 2015

‘Global incubator and seed fund forges strategic partnerships to give startups connections and expertise of some of the world’s most important investment firms, corporate partners and regulatory agencies.’

1776, the global incubator and seed fund, today announced a diverse lineup of global partners for Challenge Cup 2015, harnessing the expertise of some of the world’s most important investment firms, corporations and associations who are in a position to advise and accelerate startups in highly-regulated industries. Challenge Cup is a global competition spanning 16 cities in 11 countries to identify the most compelling and innovative startups to solve the world’s most intractable challenges.

Through collaboration with leading global stakeholders from across the public and private sectors, Challenge Cup 2015 will provide emerging startups with an invaluable opportunity to present their companies to these global partners – who are potential clients or investors. Global partners also serve as high-level mentors who can help the Challenge Cup competing startups to navigate a complicated landscape.

“The Challenge Cup is all about addressing the impediments and red tape that prevent startups from growing and scaling, and relationship-building is among the most critical areas of need,” said 1776 cofounder Donna Harris. “We believe that enabling these startups to foster the right relationships can make a significant difference in helping them reach the next level, none of which would be possible without the investment and support of all these incredible partners.”

As part of its commitment to making the Challenge Cup a platform for connecting startups with the resources and relationships they need to scale, 1776 announced a roster of Global, Presenting and Platinum partners from the corporate, government, and civic communities.

Global level partners include the District of Columbia and the US Chamber of Commerce‘s FreeEnterprise.com 

 In the education category globally, Pearson will serve as the presenting partner and Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) will serve as the platinum partner.

In the health category globally, MedStar Health will serve as the presenting partner.

For the global partners, the value of participating in the Challenge Cup is in helping to pave the way for the next generation of disruptors who will drive new opportunities for growth while tackling entrenched problems.

“We see extraordinary promise in helping to develop startups that are opening new avenues of growth and addressing the big challenges with big solutions that will help to guide a progressive trajectory for our city for decades to come,” said District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray.

“The business community understands the role startups play in transforming entire industries and growing our economies, and recognizes the importance of building pathways to partnership and collaboration,” said Tom Collamore, Senior Vice President, Communications and Strategy and Counselor to the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“When it comes to finding the D.C. startups who have the potential to seriously disrupt and innovate the world’s most entrenched industries, the Challenge Cup is truly the gold standard,” said Mark Smith of MedStar Health. “As we continue to foster innovation here in DC and throughout the world, it’s increasingly important for established partners to encourage disruptive technologies that can solve real problems and improve the work all of us are doing.”

“The Challenge Cup has already helped to identify a number of innovative startups in the area of education,” said Diana Stepner, the Vice President for Innovation Partnerships and Developer Relations at Pearson. “We believe we’ve only seen the beginning of the impact these startups will have on education globally.”

In addition to the Global, Presenting and Platinum partners, the Challenge Cup will include two key Venture partners, New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Revolution Ventures, who will hear pitches from top startups and offer expert insight that will help them navigate the world of startup funding.

 Challenge Cup 2015 will also feature association partners, who will provide finalists with an expenses paid trip to their key industry-wide annual conferences to present their companies to potential clients and investors. Association partners include theNational Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the American Council on Education, the American College of Cardiology, and the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.

Candidates for the Challenge Cup competition are compelling, world changing, and highly scalable startups that aim to make tangible differences in peoples’ lives, not just build the hottest new app. During the Challenge Cup, entrepreneurs compete for $650,000 in prizes, pitch their fresh ideas to investors and venture partners and build relationships with mentors who have the experience and networks to help them succeed.

Challenge Cup 2015 will take place at 16 regional sites, including Washington D.C., Chicago, Sydney, New York City, Tel Aviv, Amman, Santiago, Nairobi, Mumbai, Austin, Toronto, Boston, Berlin, Dublin, San Francisco, and China. Each city will produce four regional winners in four categories—education, energy, health, and cities. The 64 regional winners will further compete at 1776’s Challenge Festival in May, a weeklong event in Washington, D.C. that gives these startups an opportunity to forge deeper connections with the partners that can help them navigate regulation and quickly scale their businesses.

Winners from last year’s Challenge Cup are already enjoying remarkable success disrupting and innovating the world’s most entrenched industries, including:

  • PlugSurfing, a Berlin-based mobile app that allows drivers of electric vehicles to quickly locate charging stations and process payments on their mobile devices—with the dual benefit of making energy-efficient vehicles more practical for German drivers while reducing fossil fuel consumption.
  • RideScout, a mobile app that pulls together a host of transportation sources and allows users to quickly plan trips. RideScout was recently acquired by Daimler after 1776 fueled its early growth into a startup capable of innovating ride-share technology within Germany’s highly-regulated transportation sector.
  • eduCanon, an online learning environment that creates and shares interactive video lessons to help teachers, especially those who are new to the profession, increase student engagement and improve their ability to plan the next day’s lesson. By helping teachers succeed early on, eduCanon is enabling a better experience for students and teachers.

ABOUT 1776

1776 is a global incubator and seed fund that finds promising startups focused on solving the world’s most fundamental challenges and helps engineer their success.

Just shy of two years old, 1776 has helped more than 250 startups grow by vetting their viability and connecting them to a “swat team” of support, from investors to mentors, government officials, and institutional market partners that they need to succeed.

1776 focuses on startups in the most broken, entrenched industries and sectors that impact millions of lives every day – specifically education, energy, health and cities.

Because solving big challenges in entrenched industries requires a different approach, 1776 is revolutionizing the startup landscape. From its hub in Washington, D.C., it is sparking a global movement of “problem-solving’ startups through its Challenge Cup and Startup Federation, the premiere network of incubators throughout the world.

By creating a global community of startups, mentors, partners, and investors, 1776 is proving that its unique approach to incubation can create a sustained cycle of innovation that connects existing enterprises, corporations, and government entities to the startups that are solving the world’s biggest problems.

1776 was founded in February 2013 by Donna Harris, a serial entrepreneur and former Managing Director of the Startup America Partnership, and Evan Burfield, founder of netDecide, a provider of enterprise wealth management solutions, and the consulting firm Synteractive. For media inquiries, please contact [email protected]

For Media Contact: 

Ann Nickels
Assistant Vice President
PR & Communications
410-772-6661
[email protected]