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Startup of the Year Podcast

Nov 24, 2020

On this episode of the Startup of the Year podcast, we included a recap of highlights from the 2020 Startup of the Year Summit.
During the episode, we also hear commentary from some of our Established Team members. Rich Maloy from Established Ventures pitches in with the “VC Minute.” Our Director of Partnerships, Jacqui Dietrich, also provides an update about our partner programs and specifically discusses the following items: 
Feel free to nominate a Startup Ambassador or Investment Partner by emailing [email protected]. We also invite all of our listeners to get involved with our program by visiting: 
For those of you who did not attend the Summit, we again congratulate our big Startup of the Year winner SoloFunds! Travis Holoway and his team are really building a fantastic company on a mission to provide affordable access to loans for those in need by connecting borrowers to lenders through our convenient mobile Marketplace. As part of being named the Startup of the Year winner, they are also candidates for an investment from Established Ventures.
During the Summit, we had to narrow down thousands of applicant down to the Top 100 companies -- an amazing group of judges helped us narrow it down to the Top 15 companies which included:
  • Freeman Capital
  • YellowCard
  • Andonix
  • Mi Terro
  • Cherry Blossom Intimates
  • Inclusology
  • Grifin
  • MITO Material Solutions
  • SweetBio
  • Otolith Labs
  • Finmark
  • Jeenie
  • Hoy Health
  • SoLo Funds
The judges then narrowed the group down to the Top 5 Finalists which included:
  • Finmark - Who eliminates the need for complex spreadsheets with a simple to use platform, so founders can easily create, update, and share their financial plans.
  • GLASS - A software ecosystem powering high-performance governments to aid the procurement process
  • Jeenie - On-Demand Interpreters for Better Communication
  • Hoy Health - Whose vision is to provide access to bilingual English and Spanish speaking healthcare professionals that include Doctors, Nurses, Psychologist and a variety of other health care related professionals.
  • And of course our winner - SoLo Funds.
At this year’s Summit we also highlighted the special .US Veteran Startup of the Year category thanks to our partnership with the .US domain, and I am proud to announce that Jeenie, who won a $10k non-dilutive cash prize, which was given to a startup founded by a US Veteran - Spouse - or Dependent. 
We also had the Startup of the Year World Impact Award winners:
  • Leda Health
  • Leaf Global
  • Vonzella
  • 70 Million Jobs
  • CRPWrap
  • Perimeter
  • Youth Enrichments
There were also the Startup of the Year Honorable Mentions, which included:
  • Spira
  • CloudCampaign
  • Otrafy
  • At Ease Rentals Corporation
  • Calendar
  • Refactr
  • TiLT
  • TipTags
  • Rosy
  • TruGenomix, Inc.
  • Beagle Learning
  • Lineus Medical
  • Target Arm
  • Fulcrum
  • Gardenio
We also had our People’s Choice Award, for which we were tallying votes up until the end of the Summit and we are happy to announce the winner of People’s Choice award is Grifin! 

Grifin is a really interesting app/product that allows you to invest in all of the companies that you buy things from, making it easier to invest in the places you purchase things from. 
We also want to congratulate the winners of a few other People’s Choice categories: 
  • Fintech & Security Category Winner - Just Protect
  • Health, Wellness, MedTech & Biotech Category Winner  - Clear Child Psychology
  • Platform Technology, AR/VR, AI Robotics Category Winner - Airgility
  • Social Impact, Lifestyle & Culture, EdTech, Smart Cities Category Winner - Neolth.
Also, at the Summit, in addition to the pitch competition we had a lot of other activities including some amazing “Ask Me Anything Sessions, Alumni Spotlight sessions (where we caught up with some startups that previously participated in our events). To see a full list of all of the experts, judges, AMA panelists, please go to:
We also had Curated Office hours (where we paired startup founders with mentors), and networking hallways where attendees could get to know one another and discuss synergies between their companies.
We also featured a number of exciting speakers including:
  • Tim Draper, venture capitalist and founder of Draper Associates and entrepreneur. 
  • Author Kara Goldin will discuss her journey in starting Hint Water and her new book Undaunted.
  • Entrepreneur Mike Evans will share his candid story behind starting and taking GrubHub to IPO plus his new startup, and forthcoming book Hangry.
  • Author and entrepreneur Rohit Bhargava will share learnings from his latest book Non Obvious Mega Trends.
  • Author Meredith Fineman will teach us tips from her new book Brag Better.
  • Author Whitney Johnson will teach you how to Disrupt Yourself.
  • Zvi BandCo-Founder & CEO, Contactually and GM, Compass, and Author, Success is in Your Sphere.
  • Lo Toney, Founding Managing Partner, Plexo Capital.
  • Dr. Ximena Hartsock, the Co-Founder, Phone2Action
  • Suneel Gupta, who is a Professor, Harvard University and Author of the upcoming book, Backable. 
We had a lot of sponsors that we would love to thank. You can check them out at:
We also had incredible judges throughout the competition and we share some words from our finals judges who included: 
  • Anna Mason is a Partner on Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. 
  • Karen Kerr is the founder and Managing Director of Exposition Ventures. 
  • Lo Toney is the Founding Managing Partner of Plexo Capital, which he incubated and spun out from GV.
  • Mary Grove is a Managing Partner of Bread and Butter Ventures. 
  • Dan Mindus is the Founder and Managing Partner of NextGen Venture Partners, a seed-stage venture fund that works with more than 1400 Venture Partners. 
Thank you for listening, and as always, please check out the Established website and subscribe to the newsletter at
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Startup of the Year helps diverse, emerging startups, founding teams, and entrepreneurs push their company to the next level. We are a competition, a global community, and a resource.  
Startup of the Year is also a year-long program that searches the country for a geographically diverse set of startups from all backgrounds and pulls them together to compete for the title of Startup of the Year. 
The program includes a number of in-person and virtual events, including our annual South By Southwest startup pitch event and competition. All of which culminate at our annual Startup of the Year Summit, where the Startup of the Year winner is announced, along with an opportunity at a potential investment.
Established is a consultancy focused on helping organizations with innovation, startup, and communication strategies. It is the power behind Startup of the Year.  Created by the talent responsible for building the Tech.Co brand (acquired by an international publishing company), we are leveraging decades of experience to help our collaborators best further (or create) their brand & accomplish their most important goals.  Connect with us on Twitter - @EstablishedUs and Facebook -