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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
    • SALUBATA
Companies: Hx Innovations / Desikant Technologies / Delaware Prosperity Partnership

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