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3 Rochester start-ups chalk up wins at MN Cup contest

Three Rochester start-ups took first place in their divisions to become semi-finalists in Minnesota’s most popular business competition, the MN Cup. Canomiks won in the Food/Ag/Bev division, Shrpa took the High-Tech division, and Nanodropper was number one in the Student division.

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Three Med City start-ups recently took first place in their divisions to become semi-finalists in Minnesota’s most popular business competition, the MN Cup.

Canomiks won in the Food/Ag/Bev division, Shrpa took the High-Tech division, and Nanodropper was number one in the Student division. CASP Technologies also placed as a runner-up in the Youth division.

Each division winner is awarded $25,000. And now the nine semi-finalists will each make live “Shark Tank”-style pitches on Sept. 17 to compete for the grand prize of $50,000. The winners will be announced on Sept. 20.

Muve , which was then based in Rochester, was the grand prize winner in 2007.

MN Cup, which started in 2005, is considered the largest statewide business pitch competition in the country. The University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management manages the annual contest.

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  • Canomiks uses genomics, bioinformatics and artificial intelligence to test and certify the safety of ingredients and formulations. It is led by CEO co-founder Leena Pradhan-Nabzdyk. The company is based in both Rochester and Cambridge, Mass.
  • Shrpa is a digital platform that helps people find entertainment and things to do within their communities. Rochester entrepreneurs Chris Lukenbill and Andy Vig created it in 2018.
  • Nanodropper makes and sells a precision eye drop bottle adapter that reduces medicine waste by delivering more precise drops. However, the firm is expanding beyond that to “create value-based solutions to narrow health equity gaps.”

It is led by co-founder Allisa Song, a Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine student. She created the company with Elias Baker, Jennifer Steger and Mackenzie Andrews.

Rochester Economic Development, Inc. has worked with the three semi-finalists through support of the Collider Coworking/Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator collaborative in the Minnesota BioBusiness Center. Nanodropper also is a Rochester Economic Development Fund investment recipient.

“The Rochester start-up ecosystem continues to grow, and we applaud these companies and are proud to support them on their journey,” stated RAEDI President John Wade in the announcement.

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