The ability to determine a problem, bring talented people together and ultimately solve problems usually provides the necessary foundation for successful companies.
The Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development teamed up with Assurity this year for another edition of the JumpStart Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to create a new company while tackling a problem faced by an employer. Teams gathered together, had less than two weeks to craft their solution and eventually were able to pitch their results to a team of judges.
Previous startup companies have grown out of the JumpStart Challenge and that goal continues this year and, in the years to come. Beginning the challenge on March 2, Assurity presented an insurance industry problem and asked the assembled teams on how to solve it. With the growing InsurTech importance and presence in the startup world, the hope remains the same as in previous years—find the start to a successful company by starting with a boost, or “jump” from the JumpStart Challenge.
Previous pitches have also come from the medical, real estate and Fintech industries. With so many opportunities to begin a business in many sectors, the diversification among these startups continues to evolve and adapt.
With the competition underway, the teams then met again and presented their solutions to Assurity’s proposed problem on March 14 and had six minutes to present to the judges. The winners were announced as Christina Oldfather, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development, commended the teams on their work and presentations.
“All of the teams that came to pitch did a fantastic job. I can’t wait to see the progress of the Assurity challenge winners as they leverage their relationship with Assurity to grow.”
The winner of this year’s challenge was Brett Wetton, who took home top honors for his venture “Prepare Health,” while second place went to Jake Tamarkin’s entry “Everyday Life.” In addition to the $2,000 cash prize, Wetton receives three months of coworking at FUSE, a guaranteed interview for the NMotion 2019 cohort and a partnership with Assurity to help better understand the industry and take his ideas presented at the challenge to the next level. Tamarkin received a $1,000 cash prize and the ability to work with Assurity on his idea.
There will also be an opportunity for Wetton to earn a $25,000 LaunchLNK grant from LPED and additional support from Assurity, including access to APIs and potential investment if significant progress is made on the solution to the problem posed.
The wildcard challenge saw Taylor Monks take home top honors for “BasicBlock,” while Paska Juma reigned in second place accolades with “Jamila”. The format was similar, with teams having a total of six minutes to present their ideas to judges in addition to a four-minute Q&A follow-up.
With the focus of the Wild Card Challenge on businesses or business ideas less than six months old, Oldfather was pleased with the ideas shared and the possibilities for each entrepreneur.
“I’m also excited to see the Wild Card Challenge winners continue to develop their ideas and grow their companies with support from our community.”
Monks was presented with a $1,000 cash prize, three months of coworking at FUSE and a guaranteed interview for the NMotion 2019 cohort.
Assurity’s involvement in the JumpStart Challenge and their commitment to help grow Lincoln’s entrepreneurial community remains a powerful benefit to the community.