The winners of this year’s Startup Challenge Monterey Bay were selected on May 12, 2018 at this year’s Finale celebration at CSUMB @ Salinas City Center.
The Venture Division winner Cruz Foam transforms shrimp shell waste into the eco-friendly equivalent of Styrofoam. CruzFoam won the $20,000 Venture Division with a fabulous presentation in the Startup Challenge Otter Tank, with AudibleRx and Radicle Snacks landing the runners-up prizes of $5,000 each.
That Garlic Stuff, a homemade garlic sauce made with locally sourced garlic won the Main Street Division, earning a $10,000 cash prize. Runners-up companies Arti-Culture and Splendid Blended each earned $2,500 prizes.
BOHO Marketplace won the Student Division to earn the $1,500 prize. BOHO, founded by two students from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, is an innovative and values-based insurance marketplace that provides customers an easy way to compare and purchase insurance policies while also providing insurance to someone in need in an emerging market.
This year, 82 entrepreneurs from the Monterey Bay region entered the Startup Challenge. The Challenge includes three divisions: Venture, for businesses intended to grow into large enterprises; Main Street, for small businesses; and Student, for high school through graduate school students.
These applicants presented their ideas to a panel of judges in the Qualifying Round on April 7th. From that group, 25 finalists were selected to expand their business idea and prepare a 10-minute presentation to a panel of judges in the morning on May 12th. From these, the top three Venture finalists and the top three Main Street finalists competed in the Otter Tank pitch competition.