Innovate Celebrate is all about supporting the tech community — from early-stage startups building disruptive technologies to established tech giants who have carved their niche across industries. A big part of bridging that gap is the Startup of the Year (SOTY) Competition, which discovers and supports the most promising and innovative startups from around the world. From pathogen identification to portable bike helmets, the semi-finalists and finalists are undoubtedly on track to change the world.
The SOTY competition takes place over a one-year period and supports founders through a global network comprised of investors, influencers, and an international startup ecosystem. Through SOTY, 100 semi-finalists competed for a chance to be named one of the top five finalists and advance to the final round, live pitch competition held at this week’s convening. With participants from around the world, the competition was fierce!
Of clear importance to SOTY is a point that we immensely value at Alice: inclusivity. Of SOTY’s 100 semi-finalists, 46% were led by female founders and co-founders, 50% were led by minority founders and co-founders, and 8% were led by veterans. Additionally, finalists hailed from 25 states and six countries. Team Alice is thrilled to support competitions like SOTY which recognize and exhibit the power of diversity. Next year, we hope to help achieve an even greater mark by ensuring that more founders are made aware of and equipped with the right tools to succeed at this competition and beyond. Thanks to SOTY’s commitment, we’re proud to continuously support and amplify diverse founders including previous winners such as Oska Wellness (2017) and ShearShare (2016), just to name a few.
- Alda Leu Dennis, General Partner, of Initialized Capital
- Arlan Hamilton, Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital
- Carmichael Roberts, Founder and Managing Partner of Material Impact
- Chris Keller, Managing Partner of NextGen Venture Partners
- Erica Duignan, Founding Partner of Reign Ventures and 1000 Angels
- Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of CTA
Top 5 Finalists & Winner
Huge congrats to the winner, Dr. Crystal Icenhour — CEO of Aperiomics! Aperiomics is on a mission is to change how we test for infections. Its one-of-a-kind technology can identify every known pathogen in a single test, helping to address the 75% failure rate of existing identification of infection-causing pathogens.
In second place, securing a free exhibitor booth at CES 2019 (CTA’s premier event showcasing nearly 4,000 companies alongside attendees from 150 countries), was Demetrius Gray, CEO of WeatherCheck. All about actionable weather data, WeatherCheck notifies property managers and owners about damaging weather before it hits, allowing them to take action to mitigate damage before it occurs. We were lucky enough to snag some time with Demetrius for a #RoleBreakers interview. Check out his story below about how he came to start WeatherCheck. And, if you’re interested in joining him, apply to pitch at CES’ Eureka Park!
The other impressive startups named Top 5 Finalists included:
- Park & Diamond, an ultra-portable (and foldable) helmet designed to fit into a custom water bottle-sized case and easily store in a backpack or handbag. Since 92% of bike share riders do not wear a helmet, we were excitd to learn how Park & Diamond has created a solution! Check out their Indiegogo campaign which has raised nearly 18x the original goal.
- Tivic Health’s medical device is designed to eliminate/reduce sinus pain using waves and a tiny electrical pulse. As the first of its kind, Tivic Health’s treatment is designed to relieve pain from chronic sinusitis, allergies, and sinus infections. CEO & Co-Founder, Jennifer Ernst is a two-time entrepreneur who brought her last company to $480M market cap in 5 yrs!
- Ario takes augmented reality to a new level by making complicated jobs, simpler. Ario is an innovative productivity platform that increases safety and efficiency by allowing teams to create and share real-time spatial information, leveraging real-world data in the real world. We’re excited to see this company grow!
Huge Congrats to all the finalists and thanks to our partners at CTA for inviting Team Alice to join!
Feeling a bit of FOMO? Check out some of the action on Twitter: #InnovateCelebrate
Keep an eye out for #RoleBreakers with CTA video coming out soon!
About the co-producers of Innovate Celebrate:
Consumer Technology Association (CTA) is the trade association representing the $377 billion U.S. consumer technology industry, which supports more than 15 million U.S. jobs. More than 2,200 companies — 80 percent are small businesses and startups; others are among the world’s best-known brands — enjoy the benefits of CTA membership including policy advocacy, market research, technical education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CTA also owns and produces CES ® — the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies.
Established is focused on helping organizations with their innovation, startup, and communication strategies. Created by the talent responsible for building the Tech.Co brand (acquired by an international publishing company), we’re leveraging decades of experience to help our collaborators best further (or create) their brand & accomplish their most important goals.