Events / Pitches / Startups

Desikant, HX Innovations won big at the inaugural Startup 302 pitch competition

Startups leaders from Delaware and beyond gathered virtually to celebrate and fund underrepresented founders.

Clockwise from top right: Founders of Desikant, Gaskiya and HX Innovations. (Screenshot)

The first-ever Startup 302 is a wrap, and 10 underrepresented founders from Delaware (and beyond) walked away with awards ranging from $5,000 to $75,000.

The biggest prizes were in the Delaware Innovation Award Category, where the Delaware Division of Small Business put up $150,000 to be divided between the three finalists. Desikant, a Wilmington startup founded by Kwaku Temeng that engineers apparel with thermoregulation technology, was awarded the top $75,000 prize. Middletown-based HX Innovations, a neuroergonomic footwear technology startup founded by Von Homer, received $50,000, while Gaskiya a Baltimore-based aquaculture diagnostics startup founded by Dr. Mary Larkin, received $25,000.

HX Innovations also received the $10,000 top prize in the Automation & Insights category, while Gaskiya also took the $10,000 top award in the Innovation in Agriculture.

Other big winners include Newark-based GetPotluck, the specialty grocery delivery service startup founded by Hope Vega and Abu Kamara that will be expanding its model to include boxes of specialty snacks, which won the $10,000 NCC Innovator Award and the $10,000 second-place Blue Hen Prize from the University of Delaware.

TheraV, the therapeutic device startups that specializes in patients with amputations, won the $20,000 first-place Blue Hen Award.

While the majority of the finalists were Delaware region startups, one $20,000 winner, Lazarus 3D, is based in Oregon, and a $10,000 awardee, WeavAir, is Toronto-based. Both won Open Innovation Awards. Kiddie Kredit, which received $15,000 in the FinHealth category, is Miami-based, with a team that is spread across the country, including the Philadelphia area. The $5,000 awardee in FinHealth, Neggster, was founded in Delaware and is now based in Cape Verde.

During the four-hour virtual event, hosted on the Delaware-founded platform Markee, each category had its own “room,” and attendees could move between them and watch 10-minute pitches in different categories. Each pitch was followed by a 10-minute Q&A from a panel of judges. Deliberations were held in private rooms before the winners were announced at the end of the event.

Here’s the full list of finalists and winners (bolded):

  • Automation & Insights (Award sponsor: Labware)
    • Chekmate
    • HX Innovations — $10,000
    • WeavAir
  • Best Science-Based Startup (Award sponsor: Delaware Innovation Space)
    • 2M
    • Elyte Energy — $5,000 and 10 hours advisement
    • Enolytic Labs
  • Blue Hen Prize (UD Horn, JPMorgan Chase)
    • GetPotluck — $10,000
    • GreenPesa
    • TheraV — $20,000
  • DE Innovation Award (Award sponsor: Delaware Division of Small Business)
    • Desikant — $75,000
    • HX Innovations — $50,000
    • Gaskiya — $25,000
  • FinHealth Prize (Award sponsor: Discover Bank)
    • Kiddie Kredit — $15,000
    • Neggster — $5,000
    • VariCard
  • Innovation in Agriculture (Award sponsor: FMC)
    • AF3
    • Edie
    • Gaskiya — $10,000
  • Innovation in Health (Award sponsor: Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield DE)
    • Lazarus 3D — $10,000
    • Lilu
    • SOLUtion Medical
  • NCC Innovator Award (Award sponsor: NCC Innovates)
    • Futures First Gaming
    • GetPotluck — $10,000
    • Versogen
  • Open Innovation Award (Delaware Prosperity Partnership, Delaware State University, JPMC)
    • Lazarus 3D — $20,000
    • WeavAir — $10,000
Companies: Hx Innovations / Desikant Technologies / Delaware Prosperity Partnership

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