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Watch startups compete for $100,000

Under Armour founder brings Cupid’s Cup business competition to Northwestern on March 30

On March 30, five startups from around the country will meet at Northwestern University to pitch their businesses to Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour, and a panel of esteemed judges, for more than $100,000 in cash prizes.

The Northwestern community is invited to be part of the audience and join the action by voting for their favorite pitch. The event begins at 6 p.m. at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, on the Evanston campus. Register now to get free tickets at Cupid's Cup online.

The five finalists, having emerged from among hundreds of national applicants, will each give a five-minute presentation of their business followed by questions from the judges.

“Succeeding at this level means being at the top of your game,” said Melissa Kaufman, executive director of The Garage, Northwestern’s hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation. “It’s the perfect pitch, a compelling product-market solution and nailing the Q&A.”

Following the pitches, the judges will deliberate and select the 2017 Cupid's Cup winner. During deliberation, the audience will text-to-vote for the Audience Choice Award.

Northwestern a leader in student ventures

After 11 years hosting Cupid’s Cup at his alma mater, the University of Maryland, Plank has taken the competition on the road for the first time. Competition officials called Northwestern the perfect launch point for a new era of growth.

“Northwestern’s interdisciplinary ecosystem and emphasis on collaboration positions us to be a leader in student-founded ventures,” Kaufman said. “From inventive research to big ideas founded in class and brought to life at The Garage, Northwestern celebrates entrepreneurship and innovation.”

Plank aims to identify and foster the community of young entrepreneurs taking the risk to launch a new venture as he did. The Cupid’s Cup name refers to one of Plank's first businesses, Cupid's Valentine Rose Delivery, which he started as a student at Maryland. His profits became seed money for Under Armour, one of the world’s largest makers of athletic performance gear.

2017 Cupid’s Cup finalists

LearnLux
Helping millennials learn personal finance through online learning tools and connecting them to the resources they need to take action. (Clark University)

Luna Lights
An automated lighting system using cloud-based data analytics to reduce the risk of falling for older adults. (Northwestern University)

Related: Luna Lights designed to help limit senior falls in the home

NaturAll Club
The first company to deliver fresh, fruit-based hair products using innovative food preservation technologies. (University of Pennsylvania)

PiperWai
As seen on ABC’s Shark Tank, a uniquely effective, aluminum-free deodorant made with activated charcoal to neutralize odor and absorb moisture. (University of Pittsburgh and Columbia University)

SwineTech
Helping farmers increase profits by providing the technologies necessary to reduce piglet deaths. (University of Iowa)

2017 Cupid’s Cup judges

  • Kevin Plank: Founder and CEO, Under Armour
  • Clay Dean: Chief Innovation Officer, Under Armour
  • Jerri DeVard: Principal, DeVard Marketing Group
  • Jim Phillips: Vice President for Athletics and Recreation, Northwestern University

RSVP for Cupid’s Cup

Tickets are free and available to the public at Cupid’s Cup online.

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