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Semifinalists line up for Cupid's Cup Entrepreneurship Challenge

Two Northwestern teams advance in national competition

Luna Lights product photo
One of two Northwestern semifinalists, Luna Lights helps older adults avoid falls at night.

Twelve student-led startups have been selected from among hundreds to advance to the semifinal round of the 2017 Cupid's Cup Entrepreneurship Competition.

Created by Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank, Cupid's Cup aims to reach the nation’s top entrepreneurial minds. The competition, now in its 12th year, is designed to inspire and foster the community of students and recent graduates who’ve already followed Plank's lead and are running their own companies.

RELATED: Northwestern to host competition launched by Under Armour CEO

The semifinalists will showcase their businesses Feb. 6 at Under Armour’s global headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland, with the startups advancing to the finals March 30 at Northwestern University where they’ll compete for more than $100,000 in total prizes.

Traditionally hosted at the University of Maryland, the competition is now on the move with Northwestern starting a rotation of host venues moving forward.

About the semifinalists

Two businesses from Northwestern are among the group of 12 semifinalists, which represents 13 different schools or universities and a range of industries.

FlyHomes, led by CEO and Kellogg alumnus Stephen Lane, is a smart real estate brokerage built for today’s generation of home buyers that augments the traditional home buying process with AI technology and a rewards program unlike any other in the industry.

At Luna Lights, co-founder and McCormick alumnus Donovan Morrison and team are focused on developing products that provide older adults with tangible benefits and integrate seamlessly into their lives. Luna Lights is currently rolling out an automated lighting system that uses cloud based data analytics to reduce the risk of falling at night.

“Northwestern is immensely proud of FlyHomes and Luna Lights for being selected as Cupid's Cup semifinalists,” said Melissa Kaufman, executive director of The Garage. “These ventures began as student-founded startups that leveraged entrepreneurial resources from across the University. And they’re prime examples of our culture of innovation.”

Other semifinalists include:

  • PiperWai Natural Deodorant (as seen on ABC’s Shark Tank) is a uniquely effective, aluminum-free deodorant made with activated charcoal to neutralize odor and absorb moisture.
  • NaturAll Club is the first company to deliver fresh fruit based hair products using innovative food preservation technologies.
  • Farmer Willie is the world's cleanest, driest highest-rated alcoholic ginger beer, according to the beer rater app Untapped.
  • StoryTime is an app that enables teachers to send books to low-income families.
  • Think Board is a clear dry erase film that allows you to turn any surface into a whiteboard. Just peel and stick and turn your walls, desks, doors or other smooth surfaces into a creative workspace.
  • LearnLux helps millennials learn personal finance through online learning tools and connects them to the resources they need to take action.
  • Pulp Pantry are better-for-you, better-for-the-Earth snacks made to ensure that good food never goes to waste.
  • Doze Beds, Inc., makes premium bedroom furniture that's beautiful, easy to assemble and affordable.
  • Campus Doorman is an Apartment in a Box in 60 seconds.
  • SwineTech, Inc., helps farmers increase profits by providing the technologies necessary to reduce piglet deaths.

Cupid's Cup judges

In addition to Plank, this year’s list of established entrepreneurial judges includes:

  • Jen Meyer, CEO of Betamore, an incubator for technology and entrepreneurship
  • Jeffrey Cherry, CEO of Conscious Venture Lab, an early-stage business accelerator
  • Demian Costa, managing partner of Sagamore Ventures, a Plank Industries subsidiary focused on investing in Baltimore
  • Ben Pruess, president of sports fashion at Under Armour
  • Harry Geller, entrepreneur-in-residence at the University of Maryland
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