14 NYC Companies Took The Stage Last Night To Compete For $25,000


It was like the finale of a reality TV show, only actually real.

Wednesday night’s CROWDFUNDx NYC Challenge at The New School’s Theresa Lang centre pitted 14 top NYC small businesses, social enterprise, and startup companies against each other for a $25,000 grand prize. 

Crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder partnered with American Express OPEN Forum and [email protected] to host New York City’s first annual CrowdfundX event to show how crowdfunding can support business growth and job creation. 

More than 130 entries were submitted to the challenge in three categories: small business, social enterprise, and startup. The top 14 entries were chosen to compete Wednesday evening, with each pitching a 3-minute presentation to a panel of judges and more than 300 people in the audience.

First, meet the small business candidates.

Made in the Lower East Side is a network of public shared workspaces, creating short-term uses in prime real estate of New York.

With over 200 vacant storefronts (equivalent to 250,000 square feet of unused space), Made in the Lower East Side has repurposed the area into pop-up shops, office space, event venues and more. They are the winners of ArchDaily and HP's Innovation Challenge, a contest that rewards innovative workplace design.

NOOKA Inc. is a modern watch company, connecting fashion and technology.

LoveThy Beast is an environmentally sustainable lifestyle market for pets.

Made in Brooklyn, Love Thy Beast manufactures pet accessories with unique textiles and sustainable materials. Its largest client so far? T.J. Maxx.

And the Small Business Winner: The Sill, which aims to put a pot on every sill.

A plant discovery portal, The Sill offers customised indoor plant options and design services so no sill is left without some green. Since its launch last June 2012, the company has experienced 20 per cent month-to-month revenue growth with just one full-time employee: its founder Eliza Blank.

Five teams competed in the startup category.

Dash connects your smartphone to your car and measures how you drive.

Swishu allows readers to access premium content à la carte.

Swishu thinks you should read what you want instead of agreeing to a full subscription. More like a 'speedbump' than a paywall, Swishu lets you pay only for what you read, and aggregates content from publishers in one location.

SolarList educates homeowners on solar energy.

SolarList trains and pays college students to educate homeowners on the economics behind solar power with the app. It's the solar industry's only mobile app that calculates a homeowner's costs and savings with solar energy.

Waspit is the first 'student-focused' social and interactive banking platform.

Existing as a mobile app and web platform, Waspit can split the bill, transfer money instantly, and enable auto-Foursquare and Facebook check-in capabilities with deals, reviews, and ratings . Predictive algorithms look at a user's spending, search, and location to suggest offers to users that are relevant to their lifestyle.

And the startup winner: RentHackr brings transparency to the New York real estate marketplace.

RentHackr allows you to see future openings before the rest of the market, along with information on the cost of renting an apartment, where your friends rent, and when renters plan to move. Instead of receiving listings from landlords and agents, Renthackr's apartment data is posted by renters themselves. Currently, there are over 5,000 registered users on the RentHackr site.

Finally, meet the contestants in the social enterprise category, including the overall winner.

Charity Miles is an app that allows you to earn money and raise awareness for charities each time you walk, run, or bike, all courtesy of corporate partners.

Since its launch in 2012, over 100,000 people have joined the Charity Miles community. Bikers earn 10¢ a mile; walkers and runners earn 25¢ a mile. Their collective walking, running, and biking has totaled more than 800,000 miles, earning over $200,000 for their current charity partners.

Charity Miles won the People's Choice Award at this year's SXSW.

Addicaid is the first scientifically-informed, technology-based treatment for recovering addicts and alcoholics.

Addicaid offers a social network and mobile resources to help alcoholics combat their addiction. Features include a meeting matcher, feed of media and content sources, and professional healthcare integration. It was a top 10 Innovate Health Tech finalist, and winner at NYC AngelHack.

Borne Digital creates digital books that adapt to a child's reading ability.

Borne Digital co-founders Daniel Fountenberry and Jason Buhle have developed 'books that grow' across devices (iPad, Android, PC, mobile, and desktop). They were winners in the start-up showcase at O'Reilly's Tools of Change, the world's largest conference on publishing technology.

WeDidIt empowers volunteers to tap into their social networks and fundraise on their non-profit's behalf.

WeDidIt is one of 25 startups to be featured in the Wall Street Journal Startup of The Year Documentary this summer, and is also part of Dreamit Venture's NYC class.

The story is one that half the population can relate to. Several years ago, THINX co-founder Miki Agrawal bled through a white skirt and was mortified. When she couldn't fully remove the stain from her underwear, she (along with her THINX co-founders twin sister Radha Agrawal, and Antonia Dunbar) set out to find a solution. They created the world's first anti-microbial, stain-resistant undergarment.

There's also a social component. With millions of girls in the developing world missing school because they don't have the right resources to manage their cycles during their 'week of shame,' THINX has partnered with AFRIpads, a Uganda-based organisation that creates washable, reusable cloth pads for women in developing countries. For each pair of THINX underwear sold, the production of 7 Afripads are funded.

Want more crowdfunding inspiration? Check out these top Kickstarter projects

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