Eight Entrepreneurs Advance to Final Round of ‘Get in the Ring: The North American Startup Clash’ Hosted by the Kauffman Foundation

Livestream viewers can vote tonight for "Audience Choice" at 8 p.m. EST at www.Kauffman.org/GITR

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Nov. 7, 2014) — From an initial field of hundreds of applicants, eight entrepreneurs from North America are still standing and ready to do battle in the final round of "Get in the Ring: The North American Startup Clash."

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, host of the competition, announced the names of the finalists who will vie for the title of North America's most promising entrepreneur tonight.

The eight finalists were selected from among 15 semifinalists from Canada, Mexico and the United States who pitched to a panel of judges yesterday at the Kauffman Foundation.

Tonight in Kansas City, the finalists will literally step in a boxing ring to deliver their best and final pitches to win the continent's championship title, $15,000 in prizes and a trip to compete at the global finals in the Netherlands on Nov. 21 during Global Entrepreneurship Week. The North American finals will be livestreamed at www.Kauffman.org/GITR beginning at 8 p.m. EST tonight. Livestream viewers and the in-person audience are invited to vote for the "Audience Choice," who will be awarded $1,000.

The finalists are:

  • Advolve Media, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada) — a digital network of interactive, technologically advanced advertising mediums. Its motion-activated, digital messages currently appear in the restrooms of popular venues.
  • FitBark, Kansas City, Mo. (United States) — the world's smallest wireless activity monitor for dogs. By combining wearable technology and sophisticated design, it helps pet owners understand their dog's health and behavior so they can take better care of their canine companions.
  • Hydrobee, Seattle (United States) — a renewable energy platform to provide backup power for USB devices. Its portable USB turbine generates personal power from nature, through things such as water, wind, sun, fire or human exertion.
  • Identified Technologies, Pittsburgh (United States) — uses unmanned aerial systems for data gathering and sensing in hazardous environments. It delivers fast, safe and more frequent data to energy and construction companies using an unmanned aerial vehicle and docking system, all without any human intervention.
  • Maieutic, Oakville, Ontario (Canada) — helps manufacturers eliminate costly downtime while also ensuring quality products. Its unique die- and surface-casting technology allows users to compensate for variations that arise in the manufacturing process.
  • PPLCONNECT, Montreal (Canada) — a free mobile app that provides all of an individual's digital conversations in one place, cross-device. It gives users the flexibility to send and receive SMS messages on a computer, tablet or a second phone.
  • The Rumie Initiative, Toronto (Canada) — a non-profit organization bringing free digital educational content to the world's underprivileged children. It provides high-quality educational materials, ranging from books and lectures to exercises and games, through low-cost technology.
  • Spot On Sciences, Austin, Texas (United States) — develops and markets innovative devices that revolutionize the collection and storage of biological fluids for medical research and diagnostic testing. Its dried-blood-spot technology offers simplified remote blood collection, allowing anyone to take a blood sample at anytime, anywhere.

The finalists will make presentations about their team composition, achievements, business model and market, and revenue model to an esteemed panel of international business leaders:

Devon Brooks (Canada), cofounder of Blo, North America's original blow dry bar; Hernán Fernández (Mexico), director and cofounder of Angel Ventures Mexico, the first professionally managed angel investor network in the country; Mark Hasebroock (United States), serial entrepreneur and founder of Dundee Venture Capital; Leslie Jump (United States), founder and CEO of Startup Angels and a board member of UP Global; and Paul Kedrosky (United States), cofounder and managing partner of SK Ventures and Garibaldi Capital Advisors, entrepreneur, and writer.

The North American winner will then travel expense-paid to Rotterdam, Netherlands, to compete against the best startups in the world. Winners from eight global regions (North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Southern Europe and the Middle East) will compete for a chance at prizes, exposure and the opportunity for angel funding. The global Get in the Ring finals will be held on Nov. 21 and is one of the signature events of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Event sponsors for Get in the Ring: The North American Startup Clash are Sprint and Combat Brands; media partners are Inc., Marketplace from American Public Media and Kansas City PBS station KCPT.