Nav Search
Challenge Cup

Challenge Cup Global Finals & Festival Highlights

Piya Das

Editorial/Marketing Intern, 1776

The nine-month-long search around the globe for the best ideas in startup innovation came to a thrilling end at the Challenge Cup Global Finals & Festival in Washington, D.C.

The 1776 team, along with dozens of entrepreneurs, investors and influencers, gathered together for the final celebration of this amazing competition. Here are some highlights from last week’s many inspiring events:

Opening Party

opening party

The week kicked off at the historic and beautiful Carnegie Library, home to the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. Outside, guests enjoyed the beautiful summer evening with live entertainment performed by Human Country Jukebox.  Guests also experienced a virtual reality booth thanks to one of our member startups, SharedStudios, and take photos at the 1776 Snapchat in Real Life booth. Add us @seventeen76 to be a member of our Snapchat community!

At the event, 1776 cofounder and co-CEO, Donna Harris, congratulated last year’s Challenge Festival Champion, Twiga, for closing the largest seed round in east African history. She also announced that 1776 is proud to participate in the $4 million series A of ApprenNet (now Practice), the Challenge Festival 2015 education winner.

Health Forum


The Health Forum featured many experts and innovators re-imagining the global healthcare landscape. NBC reporter Anne Thompson moderated an all-star startup panel featuring healthcare business leaders:

  • Feyi Olopade, CEO, CancerIQ
  • Juan Pablo Segura, Cofounder, BabyScripts
  • Dr. Mark Mills, Chief Medical Officer, Cognotion
  • David Fairbrothers, Cofounder & CEO, Dorsata

Panel members and speakers discussed the shift toward value-based care, where practitioners are not compensated for their activities but rather the outcomes achieved by their work. 

Health, Money & Security Semifinals

health semifinals

The first night of semifinals featured a variety of startups in health, money and security. MUrgency, Prima-Temp and Toast amazed the judges and advanced to the global finals round on Friday. 

Education Forum


The Education Forum created a space for conversation about the tough problems facing students, educators and industry members around the world. The panel addressed current issues in the sector, including the difficulty of quickly launching a career following post-secondary education.

Proposed solutions for change included a more focused approach to self-directed learning, student agency and co-op programs in higher education institutions. Jeff Selingo, Author, “There is a Life After College” moderated one of the panels including:

  • Paul LeBlanc, President, Southern New Hampshire University
  • Susan Ambrose, Senior Vice Provost, Northeastern University
  • Andrew Brennan, Student, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Energy Forum


The Energy Forum highlighted the industry’s current state of exponential growth, as a growing number of businesses, governments and other influencers are taking collective action to make change happen. One of the panels featured:

  • Dr. Krishna Doraiswamy, Technology-to-Market Advisor, Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy
  • Johanna Wolfson, Technology-to-Market Director, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  • Christian Garcia, Managing Director, 1776

Smart Cities Forum


Industry leaders from transportation, real estate and infrastructure gathered to discuss how to make cities less resource intensive, easier to move around in and generally better places to live. Bibop Gresta, Deputy Chairman, COO & Chief Bibop Officer at HyperLoop was among the many expert speakers. 

Education, Energy, Food, Transportation & Smart Cities Semifinals


Tyrone Poole, CEO of Noappfee Inc., pitched during the second night of semifinals and continued to Friday’s competition along with Shippify and MyPeegu. Noappfee went on to win the people’s choice contest at the global finals pitch competition!

Startup Communities & Investment Forum


Hiro Nishiguchi, Executive Managing Director of the Japan Innovation Network, discussed the need for internal innovation ecosystems within businesses to drive creativity along with productivity. The Startup Communities and Investment Forum included several startup champions and fostered invaluable exchanges of ideas from Peru to Singapore.

Global Finals & Closing Party

Packed house tonight @TheLincolnDC!! Getting ready for the #1776Challenge global finals ? Good luck everyone! – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA


We had a full house at the Lincoln Theatre on Friday night! Attendees came from all around the world to see the final startup pitches and find out who would take home the Challenge Cup for 2016.


1776 congratulates this year’s competitors for all their hard work and achievement throughout this journey. Ultimately, the MUrgency team’s passion to implement a 9-1-1 system in the developing world made them the global finals champion! 


The 1776 team, competitors and attendees finished off the night with a blowout celebration. A special thanks to everyone who made this event possible, and Challenge Cup 2017 will be starting before you know it. 

Get to know the winners of Challenge Cup 2016 here

Piya Das

Editorial/Marketing Intern, 1776

Piya is a junior majoring in Public Relations and minoring in French Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. As an intern in the marketing team at 1776, Piya…