Five businesses get aid in 2020 Beaverton Startup Challenge
Five diverse businesses emerged from more than 50 applicants to receive $25,000 each, office space for a year and other services in the fifth annual Beaverton Startup Challenge.
The 2020 recipients were announced Monday, Dec. 2, at a reception for them and participating angel investors in the Westside Startup Fund at the Oregon Technology Business Corp. (OTBC), a nonprofit business incubator backed by the city.
Steve Morris, OTBC executive director, said it was the second largest field in the five years of the challenge.
"The nice thing is that we ended up with a diverse mix in terms of industries and two women as chief executives," he said, including the first Challenge companies focused on food and skin care.
Challenge winners are for-profit businesses poised to grow into national and international markets. Each business will receive $25,000, office space for one year at OTBC — at 3800 S.W. Cedar Hills Blvd. — mentoring and other services.
The 2020 challenge also attracted 16 angel investors, who together with the city of Beaverton raised $140,000 for the Westside Startup Fund. Twenty previous Challenge winners, dating back to 2016, have leveraged their original investment to raise more than $20 million.
"Most of them are still here in Beaverton," Doyle said after the reception. "Some of the early recipients started businesses that now employ 40 to 50 people. They pay taxes, they live here — and it is good for everybody."
During its 16 years, OTBC has helped companies create more than 230 high-wage jobs and business startups have raised more than $100 million from grants and investors. OTBC has received federal aid to help it create smaller versions that can aid business startups in the Mid-Willamette Valley, the Rogue Valley and Douglas and Coos counties.
The 2020 Beaverton Startup Challenge awardees:
• First Ascent Biomedical: Its aim is to help patients, clinicians and pharmacists find the right combination therapy for cancer patients, using machine learning-driven techniques. www.firstascentbio.com.
• Kakadu Dream: A nighttime line that aids in the repair of skin after an average exposure to blue light of 10 hours or more per day. Blue light therapy is used to treat some skin disorders. https://kakadudream.com.
• Lucinda's: A line of plant-based veggie burger mixes in five flavors. The mixes consist of non-GMO vegetables and other food ingredients, to which hot water is added. (Formerly Great Life by Lucinda; https://greatlifebylucinda.com.
• Mindcurrent: Described as "Fitbit for your brain." https://www.mindcurrent.io.
• Steamchain: A financial company technology company that aims to improve the bottom line for clients dependent on shipping and logistics. By streaming and simplifying their payment processes, the businesses can reduce the costs of converting currencies and mitigate current fluctuations. https://steamchaincorp.com.
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