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Young entrepreneurs to make pitches for $50K in prizes during Morgenthaler-Pavey competition

Story Highlights

  • Six startups will compete for $50,000 in prizes Thursday evening at the Larry Sears and Sally Zlotnick Sears think[box] building at 11201 Cedar Ave on the CWRU campus. In this 2013 photo, students work on projects at the innovation center, called ThinkBox, when it first opened. Students try out their ideas for inventions and businesses on state of the art equipment at the facility.(Scott Shaw)

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Six startups will compete for $50,000 in prizes Thursday as part of a program at Case Western Reserve University that honors legendary investor David Morgenthaler.

Each of the contestants competing in the first-ever Morgenthaler-Pavey Startup Competition have at least one current CWRU student or recent alumni on board. The cash prizes, provided primarily by JumpStart, are $25,000 for first place, $15,000 for second and $10,000 for third place.

Contestants are:

  • Apollo Medical Devices: rapid blood-testing technology providing eight measurements within 5 minutes from a single drop
  • Everhire: employee-recruiting pairing artificial intelligence and professional screeners
  • Hedgemon: hedgehog-inspired tech for safer football helmets
  • KitcheNet: grocery boxes to neighborhoods where fresh, diverse food sources are lacking
  • ImaginAg: algorithms to analyze aerial images of agriculture and timber lands
  • Inspirit: wearable devices to monitor dehydration among the elderly and others

The event will take place at the Larry Sears and Sally Zlotnick Sears think

in the Richey Mixon Building at 11201 Cedar Ave. at CWRU. A pre-event reception will be held from 6-7 p.m., and the competition is expected to run from 7-9 p.m. Winners will be announced at the end of the competition.

The event is free, but registration is required. To confirm attendance, go to registration at Eventbrite.

As part of the winnings, startups will be mentored by JumpStart, a nationally recognized Cleveland-based nonprofit that works with entrepreneurs to help them scale to the next level. JumpStart, one of the competition’s lead backers, in partnership with the Ohio Third Frontier, helped finalists hone their pitches for presentations to a panel of professional investors. Law firm Thompson Hine will provide free and discounted legal services to help each company beyond the competition.

“No matter which of these excellent startups ultimately takes the top prize, each are driven by promising young entrepreneurs who will benefit from the invaluable expertise our professional partners are so generously providing,” Bob Pavey said in a written statement. He’s a CWRU trustee who co-founded the contest to honor his late investment partner and venture capital pioneer David Morgenthaler.

Morgenthaler, who died in 2016, was president, chairman or director of more than 30 companies. He was considered among the earliest venture capitalists, backing such emerging tech businesses as Apple and Nextel. His Morgenthaler Ventures has raised more than $3 billion and helped more than 325 startups.

“We’re also hoping to contribute to the betterment of the local economy by helping these startups reach their goals,” said Pavey, managing partner of Pavey Investments in Cleveland and Silicon Valley, Calif., and partner emeritus at Cleveland-based Morgenthaler Ventures.

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