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1776, in Partnership with Revolution, Announces Unparalleled Opportunities for Global Startups, with Challenge Cup 2016

In Unprecedented Global Collaboration Startup Incubators From Around the World Join Forces to Identify World’s Most Promising Startups, Featuring $1M in Funding Opportunities


Washington, D.C. — 1776, the global incubator and seed fund, today announced exciting new changes for Challenge Cup 2016, an annual worldwide competition that this year will span over 50 cities around the world. The program will bring together the world’s leading startup incubators and hubs in an unprecedented collaboration, together with Global Entrepreneurship Network and Revolution, to identify the most promising startups with the best ideas to solve the world’s biggest challenges. The Challenge Cup will culminate in the 2016 Challenge Festival, a weeklong event in June taking place in Washington, DC, focused on exploring innovation in regulated markets, where global finalists will compete for $1M in cash and funding opportunities.   

Challenge Cup 2016 will unite startup incubators and hubs from every continent in an international effort to identify world-changing startups and provide them with a platform to win financial resources, make connections and share their vision on a global stage. To power Challenge Cup 2016, 1776 is partnering with two unique organizations whose combined reach will enable the Challenge Cup to be unlike any other global program. This year, the Challenge Cup is being presented in partnership with investment firm Revolution, an active champion for the emergence of entrepreneurial communities and startups outside of Silicon Valley. Additionally, 1776 has joined with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), which works on the ground in 160 countries to advance entrepreneurship around the world, to engage startup communities on every continent to participate in the Challenge Cup.  

Never before has a startup event of this scale taken place in a meaningful, global way so that startups—regardless of their location—can compete and access the mentorship, connections and resources they need to grow and scale.

“Challenge Cup is more than a competition—it is a growing movement of entrepreneurs and startup community leaders in cities ranging from Tehran and Nairobi to Tel Aviv and San Francisco, who believe entrepreneurship can help solve some of the world’s most complicated problems,” said 1776 co-founder Donna Harris. “ We are proud to partner with Revolution, GEN and the world’s leading startup incubators on the first truly global initiative to find great companies and give them an opportunity for global exposure.”

“Innovative startups are emerging in places far beyond traditional entrepreneurial centers like Silicon Valley, said 1776 co-founder Evan Burfield.  “For this year’s Challenge Cup, 1776 will search both expected and unexpected places, leaving no stone unturned to find tomorrow’s game-changing companies.”

”Revolution is proud to sign on as the global sponsor of the Challenge Cup.  We back people and ideas that can change the world – and Challenge Cup is a great worldwide competition to find the next wave of entrepreneurs and companies that plan to do just that,” said Steve Case, Chairman and CEO of Revolution.  

Challenge Cup 2016, presented in partnership with Revolution, will take place in 45 cities around the world, ranging from traditional startup cities to emerging cities. Collectively, the cities will select 135 startups to participate in 9 regional competitions—Eastern North America, Eastern Mediterranean/Europe, Africa, Western North America, Western Europe, Eastern Asia, Latin America, Middle East/North Africa, and India/SE Asia/Oceania—during which the field will be winnowed down to 45 startup competitors. These 45 regional winners will join 45 additional wildcard slots to compete for $1 million in cash prizes and funding at the global finals in Washington, D.C. during 1776’s Challenge Festival, a weeklong festival in June 2016 exploring innovation in regulated markets. During the Challenge Festival, these startups will also have an opportunity to access the business insights, coveted connections and sophisticated expertise they most need to grow and scale.

This is the third year of the Challenge Cup, following two enormously successful rounds that resulted in 1776 investments in several startups from around the world. The winner of the inaugural Challenge Cup was HandUp, a groundbreaking platform based in San Francisco that matches specific online donors to homeless people in need. The winner of Challenge Cup 2015 was Twiga Foods, a company that has created a market solution to solve the problem of rising food prices across Africa and is based in Nairobi—proving that tomorrow’s highly scalable success stories can and will come from all over the globe.

Through Challenge Cup, entrepreneurs are not only connected to the investors and mentors they need to succeed, but corporations and policymakers in some of the world’s most entrenched industries and government entities are introduced to these innovators’ fresh ideas that have the potential to solve big, difficult challenges.

About 1776

1776 is a global incubator and seed fund that uncovers promising highly-scalable startups focused on solving the world’s most fundamental challenges and helps engineer their success. 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. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., it is sparking a global movement of high-growth startups driving meaningful innovation through its Challenge Cup and Startup Federation, the premiere network of incubators throughout the world. For information, please visit or follow us on Twitter @1776.

About Revolution

A Washington, DC-based investment firm founded by Steve Case in 2005, Revolution’s mission is to build disruptive, innovative companies that offer consumers more choice, convenience, and control in their lives. Revolution seeks to create significant value for companies that are attacking large, traditional industries with innovative new products and services. The Revolution team brings proven expertise in scaling up companies and helping to expand niche ideas into mass appeal. For more information, please visit: or follow us on Twitter @revolution.

About the Global Entrepreneurship Network

Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) is a year-round platform of programs and initiatives created by the communities that celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week each November. Aimed at creating one global entrepreneurial ecosystem, GEN helps people in 160 countries unleash their ideas and turn them into promising new ventures—creating jobs, unearthing innovations for society and strengthening economic stability around the world. For details on the programs and initiatives that make up GEN, visit and follow @unleashingideas on Twitter.