Competitions / Health tech / Startups

NoVa’s KnoNap is a finalist in a major national competition

The company, which developed a device to prevent drink spiking, was selected from 15,000 applicants as a top 10 finalist in Barclays' Small Business Big Wins contest.

KnoNap's Knope device, held by founder Danya Sherman. (Courtesy photo)

KnoNap, the Northern Virginia startup that developed a device to prevent drink spiking, could win a five-figure award thanks to its placing in the top 10 of the Small Business Big Wins contest.

The company was one of 15,000 from across the country to enter the competition, which Barclays US Consumer Bank established during the pandemic to help small businesses with proven resiliency.

If selected as the first-place winner, KnoNap would take home a $60,000 prize; second place receives $40,000, while third gets $20,000 and the remaining finalists each win $5,000. Voting closes at midnight EST on Monday, and winners will be announced in early May.

Founded by Danya Sherman, KnoNap’s Knope device is a portable tool that can detect 12 drugs often placed in alcoholic drinks. Currently available for beer and alcoholic seltzers, users place three drops of their drink in a designated loading area (the device looks similar to an at-home COVID test) and wait three to five minutes before Knope says whether or not it’s safe.

“Our goal is to provide portable, discreet, gender-inclusive offerings to consumers so that people can empower themselves against drink spiking in any social setting, anywhere — and to have the empowerment tools so that that they should be able to be more confident and comfortable in social settings,” Sherman told

Sherman wants Knope to be the first tool launched specifically on and around college campuses. The company is planning a rollout at local, regional and national schools later this year. Winning the $60,000, she said, would be key to facilitating this launch.

“To hear the magnitude of this competition and to hear that we were selected on the merits — and on the basis of the work that we do — was incredibly humbling and validating to even make the top 10, especially with a company as incredible and world-known as Barclays,” Sherman said.

Vote for KnoNap here until midnight EST

Since its founding in 2017, KnoNap has scored victories at HERImpact DC, the eMerge Americas Global Startup Competition and Georgetown’s Bark Tank contest. It was also a finalist at DC Startup Week 2022. recognized KnoNap’s momentum by naming it a RealLIST Startup.

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