KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Nov. 18, 2015) — After months of competing, Chris Costello, CEO of Leawood-based startup blooom, was named the winner of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s “One in a Million” competition today. Based on his solid business model and powerful presentation, Costello rose to the top of a field of 377 contest entries from across the United States to take home the grand prize of $10,000.
“blooom is appreciative of 1 Million Cups, the Kauffman Foundation and Mayor Sly James for opportunities like One in a Million when it comes to support of entrepreneurs and startups,” Costello said. “All of the finalists were incredibly talented. I was humbled to be considered among the best from across the nation. And we are very proud to have won in our hometown, particularly because this is where the Kauffman Foundation and 1 Million Cups were founded.”
blooom is an online registered investment advisor designed to help underserved investors with their largest single financial asset: their employer-provided retirement accounts. Through easy-to-understand imagery, simple language and flat-rate pricing, blooom professionally and automatically manages its clients’ investments without requiring clients to move their accounts or open new ones.
The second-place prize of $5,000 was awarded to David Naumann, founding partner of San Antonio-based DryBox, a producer of wet phone rescue kiosks. University of Iowa student Matthew Rooda was awarded third place and $1,000 for his New Sharon, Iowa-based company, SwineTech. SwineTech developed technology to increase pork production by preventing piglets from being crushed by their mothers.
The Kauffman Foundation created the One in a Million competition to coach and showcase entrepreneurs who have presented at one of the 1 Million Cups events held each week in 77 communities throughout the country. The final event was held at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Kansas City’s Mayor Sly James presented the awards.
“We created the 1 Million Cups program to help educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs within their own communities,” said Wendy Guillies, Kauffman Foundation president and CEO. “One in a Million was designed to give 1 Million Cups presenters the opportunity to further hone their skills through more practice and education and to bring the top startups together to learn from one another.”
The Roasterie and Kansas City PBS station KCPT sponsored the event. To learn more about the competition, the participants and judges, visit www.kauffman.org/1NAM.