Two weeks ago, Minnesota Cup- the largest statewide business plan competition in the nation- entered into the final round. After narrowing down from an initial pool of 1600 applicants, only twenty-seven remain, including two life science startups from Rochester: Mill Creek Life Sciences and Thaddeus Medical Systems.
The goal of Minnesota Cup is to connect Minnesota’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, providing participating startups with business plan feedback, connections, media exposure, and access to over $500,000 in seed funding. Startups compete in one of nine different divisions. The competition has been running full steam since April 27th, when applications for this year’s competition were due. By mid-May, the competitor pool was narrowed down to ninety semifinalists, ten in each division.
Five teams from Olmsted County made it to the semifinal round of the competition this year, including: Busy Baby LLC (General Division), LipiQuester LLC (Life Science/Health IT Division), Mill Creek Life Sciences (Life Science/Health IT Division), Thaddeus Medical Systems (Life Science/Health IT Division), and B.A.S.I.C. BALSA (Youth Division).
By the end of August, competitors were narrowed down again to three finalists from each division, which included Rochester-based Mill Creek Life Sciences and Thaddeus Medical Systems, both in the Life Science/Health IT division.
Divisional winners will be announced on September 24th, receiving $30K in seed funding and the opportunity to compete for the Minnesota Cup Grand Prize, which will be announced at the final awards ceremony on October 8th.
Mill Creek Life Sciences, named after a southern Minnesota trout stream, is a research tools company based on Mayo Clinic licensed technology. Mill Creek produces two cell culture products, PLTMax and PLTGold, which are used to culture stem cells- undifferentiated cells that have the ability to develop into multiple different cell types.
Thaddeus Medical Systems is developing an all-in-one smart packaging solution for transportation of medical products. This company is challenging the standard cardboard box and ice shipping system with their product, iQler, a smart hardware and software shipping solution.