After nearly three months of nominations and voting by members of the startups entrepreneurial communities on StartupVoodoo.com, the three finalists for the first annual Startup Voodoo “Most Promising” early-stage startup were unveiled today.
With a four-pronged criteria of being Midwest-based, fewer than two years in operation, less than $150,000 in capital raised, and operating in digital technology, biosciences, or agricultural technology – more than 100 companies were nominated with five companies advancing to round two. More than 1,000 voters then chose the final three early-stage startups who will who come Startup Voodoo on Sept. 25 in St. Louis to pitch in the finals in front of a crowd of more than 500 and an expert panel of judges.
The final three include:
- Chicago-based Learncore (Learncore.com), an online communication and skill building platform used by industry leading companies like Linkedin, Twitter, Sungard, Zenith Optimedia, and CDW.
- Servabo (Servabosafe.com) based at the Research Park of the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, develops technology that provides discreet, instant notification to connect customers with necessary assistance needed in threatening or emergency situations.
- St. Louis-based Champio (Champio.com), which helps companies get a return on their investment in social media by generating and optimizing content that increases follower engagement.
The founders of Learncore, Servabo and Champio will deliver two-minute pitches to a panel of judges to determine which one is Startup Voodoo’s first “Most Promising” early-stage Midwest startup with winner awarded a package of services and funding valued at $10,000 including $5,000 in cash from Daugherty Business Solutions, as well as 10 hours of free legal services from the Polsinelli law firm, 10 hours of free marketing services from digital marketing and public relations firm Elasticity, and a collection of branded merchandise from CafePress.com.
The final judges panel include:
- Ron Daugherty: Founder and CEO of Daugherty Business Solutions, an IT and business consulting firm that reported 25 percent growth $133 million in revenue in 2013 with marquee clients including Monsanto, Express Scripts, and a number of leading edge startups.
- Bud Albers: The longtime technology executive and former Walt Disney Corp. CTO is a respected mentor and advisor to dozens of startups and in 2014 assumed the chief executive role of Click With Me Now, a co-browsing technology platform that lets web users share any web experience with another user on a different device.
- Ginger Imster: Executive director of Arch Grants, a first-of-its-kind nonprofit organization that invests in for profit start-up companies without taking equity focused on creating an entrepreneurial culture and infrastructure to build successful companies in St. Louis.