More from the Homepage
Inside Track Logo
Blog 496966311
Inside Track

HabitAware wins Mn Cup and MEDA small-biz competition

Aneela Idnani Kumar and the HabitAware "Keen" bracelet

HabitAware, designer of a bracelet that helps people control compulsions such as hair-pulling and nail-biting, scored at the top of 19 contestants during the semifinal round Wednesday night of MEDA's $1 million competition for minority entrepreneurs.

The firm, created by Sameer and Aneela Idnani Kumar, earlier in the week won the grand prize at the Minnesota Cup business competition. In 2014, Sameer Kumar discovered that Aneela, his wife, was hiding her stress-driven habit of picking her eyebrows. They created a bracelet to detect gestures and vibrate when it senses destructive activity. At MEDA, HabitAware received $15,000 for its top score and another $10,000 for being the top-ranked, female-owned company.

The runner-up was Minneapolis-based Cytilife, developer of software that helps colleges use data to reduce dropouts.

Ten finalists were chosen Wednesday night by a panel of 16 judges, following live pitches. They included: Ilerasoft of Chicago, which provides a software package that helps hospitals maximize medical equipment utilization by improving capital planning and budgeting; Mobility 4 All, a St. Paul-based "kinder, gentler'' ride-hailing service for seniors and people with disabilities; and SquarePac of Atlanta, which uses design and metal fabrication expertise to create solutions that help clients maximize space, reduce freight, save money and promote safety.

The finalists proceed to a "boot camp," including investor and industry coaching, mentorship and professional connections. They will return to St. Paul in January for the finals and awards of up to $1 million dollars in financing.

MEDA is the growing, north Minneapolis-based nonprofit counselor and small business minority lender. It often works in partnership with larger financial institutions that deepen relationships with borrowers as they get traction and scale.

The $1 million MEDA challenge, part of Twin Cities Startup Week, is funded by the Philadelphia-based Next Fund for Innovation and corporate sponsors.

Older Post

Ad spotlight: Honey Bunches of Oats lady comes out of retirement in new spot

Newer Post

Medtronic cuts cyber access to vulnerable devices
More from Star Tribune
More From Inside Track
    March 20
    Dr. Kyle Kingsley in 2015.

    Minnesota cannabis firm goes public on Canadian stock exchange

    Vireo, parent of Minnesota Medical Solutions that has a cannabis license for medical distribution locally, is valued at $550 million in Canadian dollars.
    March 18

    Blue Cross eliminating 40 jobs in the Iron Range

    The Eagan-based health insurer said the layoffs were driven by a move to "centralize resources."
    March 18
    Two winemakers fight on in court against state-grape law

    Two winemakers fight on in court against state-grape law

    Alexis Bailly Vineyard and Next Chapter Winery are challenging Minnesota's "unusual and severe winemaking restriction" as a violation of the U.S. Constitution's interstate commerce clause.
    March 15

    Abbott heart device gets wider audience

    FDA says $25,000 device can be used in a larger population of people with heart failure symptoms
    March 14
    Ecolab launches free tool to help companies track water practices

    Ecolab launches free tool to help companies track water practices

    The St. Paul-based Ecolab launched the online tool to help accelerate water conservation worldwide.