American Underground

Triangle Startups Chosen to Advance in Challenge Cup Global Competition

Triangle Startups Chosen to Advance in Challenge Cup Global Competition

Triangle Startups Chosen to Advance in Challenge Cup Global Competition 

Challenge Cup Spans Over 50 Cities Around the World to Identify Entrepreneurs Tackling World’s Biggest Challenges, Featuring $1M in Funding Opportunities



November 11, 2015
Washington, D.C. and Durham, NC- The American Underground and global startup incubator and seed fund 1776 today announced the three Challenge Cup Durham winners, representing the most compelling local startups tackling the world’s most difficult and intractable social challenges. The three winners will move on to the regional competition NYC, where they will compete against other leading startups from across the region for the chance to advance to the global finals competition at the 1776 Challenge Festival in Washington, D.C. in June.
“Durham is increasingly home to so many inspiring entrepreneurs who are building high-growth startups to tackle big world challenges,” said Donna Harris, co-founder of 1776. “We’re proud to help give these extraordinary companies an opportunity to present their vision on the global stage and connect to the resources and relationships they need to be successful.”


“The American Underground is thrilled to be a part of this global competition and help put Triangle startups on the world map. There’s a wealth of talented companies here whose stories need to be shared,” says Adam Klein, Chief Strategist for the American Underground.


The event highlights the Triangle’s vibrant startup community and the contributions its innovators are making in tackling some of the world’s most difficult and intractable social challenges. Today’s winners will advance to the regional competition in NYC. From there, five of the most promising startups will be chosen to join 40 regional winners from across the eight other regional competitions and 45 wildcard winners at Challenge Festival 2016 to compete for $1 million in cash prizes and funding, and connect with mentors, corporate partners, policymakers, and potential investors.
For more information about the Challenge Cup, click here.

The winners are as follows:


Tom and Jenny’s: Founded by a dentist and her husband in their home kitchen, Tom & Jenny’s developed a new kind of candy that’s both delicious and great for teeth. We worked side-by-side with a James Beard Award-winning pastry chef to perfect our all-natural, sugar-free candies, which are preferred over sugar caramels by 60% of blind taste-testers!

Seachange Technologies: SeaChange Technologies (SCT) is developing an innovative technology for water purification and desalination. Our systems for will address the key drawbacks of existing desalination technologies, including intensive energy requirements, polluting brine wastewater byproduct, and high maintenance costs. To enter the market, we are focused on developing a solution for oil and gas producers struggling to dispose or recycle “produced water”, a high-salinty regulated waste byproduct which is the single highest cost component of oil/gas production.

Nuero+: Neuro+ makes brain-controlled video games to help kids with ADHD improve their ability to focus and pay attention. Users wear an EEG headset that measures their brain activity and motion, and play a video game that trains them to focus and keep still. Research shows this technology is capable of improving focus and reducing hyperactivity as well as leading stimulant drugs, with no side effects or risk of abuse.


The American Underground is where smart startups get their start. As the Startup Capital of the South, our mission is to foster one of the most dynamic, high-powered, and well-connected communities in the country. We are home to 250+ companies, accelerator programs, university offices, investors, and more across three locations (two in Durham (soon to be three), one in Raleigh). The American Underground is one of nine Google for Entrepreneur Tech Hubs in the country.


ABOUT 1776

1776 is a global incubator and seed fund that finds promising startups focused on solving the world’s most fundamental challenges and helps engineer their success.

Just two years old, 1776 has helped more than 250 startups grow by vetting their viability and connecting them to a “swat team” of support, from investors to mentors, government officials, and institutional market partners that they need to succeed.

1776 focuses on startups in the most broken, entrenched industries and sectors that impact millions of lives every day—specifically education, energy, health and cities.

Because solving big challenges in entrenched industries requires a different approach, 1776 is revolutionizing the startup landscape. From its hub in Washington, D.C., it is sparking a global movement of “problem-solving” startups through its Challenge Cup and Startup Federation, the premiere network of incubators throughout the world.

By creating a global community of startups, mentors, partners, and investors, 1776 is proving that its unique approach to incubation can create a sustained cycle of innovation that connects existing enterprises, corporations, and government entities to the startups that are solving the world’s biggest problems.

1776 was founded in February 2013 by Donna Harris, a serial entrepreneur and the former Managing Director of the Startup America Partnership, and Evan Burfield, founder of netDecide, a provider of enterprise wealth management solutions, and the consulting firm Synteractive.



Ellie Gamache


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