Winning the 1776 Challenge Cup

MUrgency Director, Sweta Mangal on her Experiences in Washington DC

I landed in Washington DC on a warm summer morning. The rest of our team flew in from New York and Seattle. With Munira, Renee and Nelofar, we were a power team of 4 women.

(L-R) Renee, Sweta Mangal, Munira and Nelofar

Our first stop was the 1776 office. 1776 is a global incubator and seed fund helping start-ups transform industries that impact millions of lives every day — education, energy & sustainability, health, transportation and cities. 1776 scouts the best entrepreneurial talent all over the world, cultivates it and invests in it.

The Challenge Cup is an annual Startup competition that brings together the best start ups in the world, to compete for one global title, and 50,000 US Dollars.

This year, 1776 received 3000 applications from 54 cities worldwide.

At the 1776 office

Challenge 1776 gives its competitors time to unwind and share in the fun with photo booths, music and local introductions to media, mentors, educators and investors. A fun gala organised on our first evening in DC, gave us the opportunity to meet and interact with fellow entrepreneurs. We met wonderful people who were doing amazing work in each of their fields, and we realised that this challenge was not going to be an easy win at all. Each one of these entrepreneurs were solving a pertinent user problem in an innovative way.

Some of our favourites at the competition were MyPeegu, that tracks child development, Toast, a money transfer and bill payment application which makes it easy to deposit and send funds back to the Philippines from Hong Kong, Singapore, and the UK, and Noappfee, a next-generation online platform that streamlines the rental search process and saves time and money for both renters and property managers.

Day 2 was a full day affair at 1776. We had sessions and meetings with mentors all day. We were introduced to our pitch coach, Kate Nolan. She gave us some great tips that helped us with this competition. Thank you, Kate!

We have to share this slide with you, that came up in one of the presentations. The future is hard problems. The easy ones have been solved. The global, complex, important problems, that’s where innovation is needed today. I believe that this is exactly what MUrgency is trying to do.

Day 3 and 4, were the the semi-final pitches. 6 semi-finalists were selected out of the 54 regional finalists. There were total 6 semi-finalists and 2 wildcard entries were announced on the last day.

I was invited to speak on the panel for Gulf Startup Revolution.

At the panel discussion on Gulf Startup Revolution
Sweta Mangal, Director, MUrgency pitching at 1776 Washington, DC
Sweta Mangal, Director, MUrgency pitching at 1776 Washington, DC

For the 30 second pitch, we got the crowd to sing a special MUrgency version of Heal the World with us.

The room was abuzz during the finals. While it’s true everyone there came to network, it was also evident that this was a community supporting its start-ups. I give Dr Madhu kudos for getting crowd to cheer for us.

Not to forget team 1776 and other competitors, we were astonished by the way they supported us and believed in the solution MUrgency offered. Steven Flynn, CEO and co-founder of SkyTango who is also an Emmy Award winning Filmmaker, was one of our competitors from Ireland. He and his colleague gave us good feedback and encouraged us by saying “We’d happily lose the competition to you.” A commendable spirit!

The winning moment

We won the competition! That evening was magical, we became instant celebrities. Winning the 1776 Challenge Cup has been a validation of our ideas,our efforts and our vision to build One Global Emergency Response Network. Post the 1776 win, we’ve received a barrage of emails from supporters and potential investors. The next few months are going to be exciting for us. Thank you 1776 for this wonderful opportunity.

With our pitch coach, Kate
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