One of the many highlights of the eMerge conference are competitions. Yesterday students took the stage; today it's startup companies. Those are divided into two groups: early-stage companies, which have yet to raise $500,000, and later stage companies, which have already seen a higher level of investment. A total of 200 companies are entered in the two contests.
Just finished is the competition among the early-stage companies. As a judge, I can promise you that it was a tough call, especially because the only information we had to go on was a five-minute pitch by each of the 15 finalist companies, without any opportunity for questions.
The winning company made a compelling case with a unique business that features multiple revenue streams through salons, individual practioners and product makers. And the winner was...Hair Construction of Miami, which receives a cash and prizes valued at $50,000.
The Miami Innovation Fund also awarded a term sheet to another local company, WeRx, which has created an app to help consumers find the lowest-cost prescriptions and companies to find and negotiate for lower costs on common prescriptions.
Finalists in the competition were: Alma Shopping, Baby Be, Egla Communications, Kuona, Learner Nation, Profoundis/Vibe, Raw Shorts, Razient, Songgo, Twnel, WedWu, WeRx, Wind2Share, XDG Technologies.
video by Karen Rundlett