Meet The 2017 Minnesota Cup High Tech Division Finalists


Over the last few months, the competing startups in each of the Minnesota Cup’s many divisions have been narrowed down this week.  

Of those initial semifinalists, the following three companies will be representing the High Tech Division in the Finals next month:

Extempore – the platform created by teachers to assign simulated conversations and other fluency building activities. Cofounder & CEO: Carlos Seoane

Starting 11 – captures the unique culture and details of the beautiful game of soccer using a fantasy sports app. Cofounder & CEO: Teague Orgeman

TeamGenius – is an athlete assessment platform, designed for youth sports organizations. Cofounder & CEO: Todd Larson


Other division finalists with businesses built on tech include:

Food/Ag/Beverage: Autonomous Tractor Corporation – a self-driving tractor.

General: Cedar Labs – Education data integration system; Chromatic 3D Materials: Creates durable 3D printing materials

Impact: UR TURN – A platform to help students, parents, teachers and advisors stay on track to graduation

Lifescience/HealthIT: Dose Health – A smart pill box.

Student: UnderRecruited Preps – Connects student athletes to college coaches.


  • LittleDuke

    Fantasy soccer app – as a high tech thing? Really? THIS is a “break through” idea?

    I’m certain that an actual crowd would think otherwise.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for “equal opportunity” but not for “equal outcomes”

    Would we send this (or any of the others) on to compete in a national business plan olympics? Does THIS represent the best and the brightest that Minnesota has to offer?

    Considering that there were literally no other schools represented I think you know the answer…

    • Jeff Pesek

      Why do you feel the need to consistently say such negative things?

      • LittleDuke

        Would you rather live in a world where everyone just pretends to be competent?

        • Casey Allen

          David, I’m guessing you haven’t had the opportunity to sit down with each of the founding teams and hear an in-depth pitch. If you did, you likely wouldn’t feel this way.

          A press release or blog post can only capture so much. Hardly enough to judge whether a company or, worse, an entire set of companies, have visions, raving customers, and traction numbers that meet your own threshold for greatness.

          Although I know every geek wishes it could be so, no competition can have a bunch of Elon-like moonshots because there are so few of them every decade that actually make meaningful progress.

          I’ve been a mentor or judge for almost every tech related competition in the last seven years in MN. This is by far the most impressive list to date.

          I can say that partially because I’ve sat down with most of these founding teams and heard their in-depth pitch.

          I’m glad you have high expectations for our state and community. But in this case I’m afraid you know not of what you speak.

          If the public had access to seeing the full teams and traction numbers behind each of these companies they would drool over their competence.

          • LittleDuke

            Casey I’m totally PRO on the teams — I understand that they changed the judging this year — talked with a few judges who were really unhappy that there was no “consensus” meeting to go over the entries.

            I also think that it does Minnesota a disservice by selecting teams from the U of M and no other school seems to have been represented — they should simply rename it “UMNCUP” ;-)

            Good bad or indifferent, a number of the angels that I have met with feel that it’s a self-serving dog and pony to try and offload U of M IP.

            Regardless what I’ve learned out of the process is that there is room for competition. And what could be more competitive than a competitive business plan competition that is open to everyone and scored by everyone?

            Get ready for the reboot of my site :-)

          • Casey Allen

            I would consider responding to this except virtually all of your comments are factually incorrect and your statements are nonsensical.

            These companies did not come out of the U. The judges are not affiliated with the U. Hardly any of the founders are alum. If you list the finalists from the last five years there is probably close to zero U spin-outs or IP.

            Even the student division finalist is from an entirely different university system.

            Have at it. Show the world how it’s done. You seem to think it’s so easy.

            For the public record, I am friends with every credible, active tech investor in MN, and not a single one would agree with your assertions. Before you jump into the comment section again you need way better data points than what you brought here.

            All you brought here is a lesson of how easy it is to criticize from the cheap seats.

          • LittleDuke

            Casey I saw three presentations by teams from the U of M at the meet the finalists event.

            If you think tennis apps and fantasy soccer apps are “high tech” category “break through ideas” — go for it.

            I’m not going to get in a pissing match with you.

            I just don’t drink the same kool-aid as others do.

            As I stated, I’m “pro” on the teams — I don’t agree that the process nor the competition is being managed in a way that is transparent or with integrity.

            It’s my opinion. And I’m not the only one who shares it.

            Let the crowd vote!

          • Daren Cotter

            MN Cup mentor and active angel investor here.

            FWIW, I talk regularly with many ACTIVE angels and have never heard the viewpoint that MN Cup is a “dog and pony to try and offload U of M IP.” I find very much the opposite to be true, and would further argue that the fundraising track record of MN Cup participants proves it.

            More importantly: I love your idea of acting on your criticisms of MN Cup and creating something of value for the community! There can be additional startup competitions locally (e.g. that create win-win for the whole ecosystem. I’m excited to see what you come up with… and I’ll be ready with my checkbook to help fund the great companies/teams who come out of LittleDuke Cup! =)

            -Daren Cotter

  • Eric Lopez

    This is fantastic! Kudos to the peeps that put it out there and go for it! Every inch adds to the rule.

  • LittleDuke

    Opinions and comments withdrawn