Chicago to host global Challenge Cup startup competition next month

by Carlin Sack
September 29, 2014


Continuing to prove itself as a top startup city, Chicago will be one of 16 cities to host a global startup competition next month. The competition, called the Challenge Cup, spans 11 countries and offers $650,000 in prizes to health, education, energy and civic tech startups.

By hosting the Challenge Cup, which is headed up by DC-based incubator 1776, Chicago will produce regional winners who will go on to compete in a weeklong event in DC in May. Other host cities also sending regional winners to the final round include New York City, Tel Aviv, Santiago, Mumbai, Austin, Toronto, Boston, Berlin and San Francisco.

Though Chicago wasn’t a Challenge Cup host city last year, a Chicago startup actually took home the winning title in the health category. Chicago-based cancer care startup CancerIQ, an 1871 company, garnered the attention of investors and customers because of its win. CancerIQ CEO Feyi Olopade said the Cup was a great “opportunity to cross-pollinate ideas and growth-hacking strategies” and that it was “the first time we got to share our traction story with the world and with investors."

CancerIQ’s win last year not only propelled the company forward on the client side, but also drew even more international attention to the Chicago startup scene.

“Chicago is building companies and startups that are tackling major challenges and trying to solve real problems,” 1871 CEO Howard Tullman said in a statement. “Last year, the Challenge Cup was an extremely valuable opportunity for dozens of Chicago startups to exchange ideas, connect with mentors and impress investors. This year, it’s going to be even bigger and better.”

The Challenge Cup’s Chicago regional competition will be hosted at 1871 on October 29. (Tickets are free.) The four regional winners in four categories will compete in The Challenge Festival in DC in May.

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