Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day announced the 15 finalists competing for a share of more than $1 million in funding in their fifth annual entrepreneurship competition – one of the largest of its kind in the U.S. This years’ experience will provide entrepreneurs with the exclusive support that they need to grow their business,
Additionally, every finalist will be awarded a $25,000 grant. This year’s 15 finalists include 12 Black-owned businesses, and more than half of the finalists are woman-owned.
New this year, the Youth category was created to foster the ambitions of young entrepreneurs. Businesses in the Youth category are for emerging entrepreneurs aged 8-18 that are looking to start or scale their business.
Let’s look at this year’s finalist that will be competing for more than $1 million in funding:
Start Category (For companies introducing their product or service to market. Winner receives $125,000 in grant funding):
Athlytic is an app that connects student athletes with brands by having athlete influencers create a profile and connect their social platforms. The app then gives recommendations for pricing and potential brand partnerships, while also connecting brands with the student athlete profiles and their analytics.
Blue Horizon Construction delivers superior demolition services to residential and commercial properties. They also aim to empower every employee to become an entrepreneur of their core function or duty.
Guilde is an app for quoting and estimating the cost of renovations. They make the process as simple as possible by tracking all of your projects in one dashboard and allow users to reach project costs without selling their contact information.
Neighborhood Grocery’s mission is to build grocery stores, and other food businesses to address health & wealth disparities in Detroit. They do this by leveraging technology, equity crowdfunding, and civic partnerships in Detroit Communities.
The Lab Drawer is a monthly subscription box full of cross-functional learning experiences for children ages 10 – 14. Every box includes materials and instructions for a STEM experiment and aims to empower children to unleash their potential as world future leaders in STEAM.
Pivot Category (For companies who have pivoted to meet the needs of the new marketplace. Winner receives $200,000 in funding):
House of Pure Vin is a signature retail destination for wine lovers and future wine connoisseurs. They have partnered with Claudia Tyagi, who is one of three Master Sommeliers in the state of Michigan, to curate wine and champagne selections.
ILERA Apothecary offers customers naturally derived and sustainable skin care products. Their goal is to help users eliminate scars, prevent stretch marks, and maintain smooth and healthy skin. ILERA Apothecary wants everyone to feel confident in their skin, regardless of what conditions they may struggle with.
Jo’s Gallery is an art framing company that was founded in 1996. They have been serving the community for over 20 years by providing them with premium art ranging from originals, high quality prints, sculptures, and jewelry from artist around the nation.
Soft Goods is an ethical clothing manufacturing service that is made up of a team of local creatives and makers located in the Northwest Goldberg neighborhood of Detroit. They help brands bring their visions to life whether it be a small run job, or large campaign.
Tapped serves small batch non-alcoholic craft beverages and food. Aside from having an in-house menu, they also offer custom-tailored catering as well as office beverage solutions to meet all your needs.
Scale Category (For more established businesses that have grown despite the unusual climate and are looking to expand. Winner receives $250,000 in funding):
Black Girl MATHgic is a subscription box for math learning that aims to keep girls’ math motivated, while decreasing math anxiety. Their monthly subscription boxes capitalize on real-world themes connected to users lived experiences to help them feel more comfortable and able to apply information to their own lives.
BrandXR is an augmented reality studio and platform that believes new immersive technologies like augmented, virtual and mixed reality will help businesses cut through the digital noise and deliver compelling and impactful experiences.
Detroit Maid is a marketplace for on-demand cleaning & disinfecting services that simplifies the process by making it virtual, quick, and simple. Their model is based on four simple steps. You pick a package, schedule your appointment, get your cleaning, and finally rate your cleaner.
Fierce Staffing & Consulting connects the right talent with the right organization. They help move businesses forward with their staffing and consulting services.
Narrow Way Café & Shop transformed their church bookstore into a coffee shop in April of 2016 with the goal of filling the cup of their congregation both physically and spiritually. They also more recently launched their Narrow-Way Stress-Free Java Club membership, which delivers a unique 12 oz bag of coffee to your doorstep every month.
Stay tuned…Winners will be announced September 24th on https://detroitdemoday.com.
Anna Robb is a photographer and content creator for Rock Ventures and Opportunity Detroit. Check out Anna Robb on Instagram at @AnnaRobbxo.