Pitches / Startups

KnoNap wins big at the eMerge Americas Global Startup Competition

Founder Danya Sherman beat out more than 100 startups to take home the grand prize of $100,000 in Google Cloud credit and expenses for a trip to meet with tech accelerator Y Combinator.

Danya Sherman of KnoNap (third from left) at the eMerge Americas Global Startup Competition. (Photo from GW website, used under a Creative Commons license)
Danya Sherman of KnoNap reeled in another big pitch competition win.

The George Washington University student entrepreneur pitched at the eMerge Americas annual conference in Miami Beach April 29-30. Sherman competed against more than 100 startup founders from around the world to win the grand prize of $100,000 in Google Cloud credit, expenses for a trip to San Francisco to meet with tech accelerator Y Combinator’s CEO Michael Seibel and a booth at next year’s eMerge America’s conference.

“I was extremely humbled to have won the eMerge Americas 2019 startup showcase, especially because I wasn’t just representing my company KnoNap, but also the George Washington University,” Sherman told “To have been the only female finalist was an extra humbling experience to get to represent not only myself but also my other female tech entrepreneurs.”

Sherman, who graduates from GW this year with a degree in international affairs with a concentration in security policy,  developed a one-of-a-kind discreet napkin that tests for the presence of date rape drugs in beverages. KnoNap first got on’s radar after Sherman competed at the 2018 final Vinetta Project showcase, winning $5,000 and the “young social innovators award” presented by Booz Allen Hamilton. We included KnoNap on our DC’s realLIST 2019 companies, as a startup to watch this year and Sherman keeps proving our prediction right. She recently won first place at HERImpact DC‘s first Social Enterprise Pitch Competition earlier this year, taking home a $25,000 cash prize.

In order to compete at the eMerge final pitch competition, Sherman competed in a preliminary pitch event hosted by eMerge and GW back in February, to be fast-tracked to the final event and ultimately winning.

Sherman told that she was able to scale her company after taking a semester off during her junior year to participate in Halcyon’s incubator program. She’s currently looking at MBA programs and working on KnoNap full-time as she prepares to graduate from GW.


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