Finalists and judges named in 7th annual UNC Monfort Entrepreneurial Challenge

Monday February 1, 2016 0 comments Tags: Greeley, UNC, UNC BizHub, David Thomas, Monfort Challenge, Aerosol Devices, The Food Corridor, mcSquares, NerdNest, Planting Profits, QB Labs, Jennifer Maskrey


GREELEY -- Five finalists have been selected to compete for a piece of $50,000 in prize money at the Monfort College of Business seventh annual Entrepreneurial Challenge. Monfort_Challenge_logoUSE

All five companies will have the opportunity to present their business plans to a panel of judges in a “Shark Tank” format at 9News studios in Denver, hosted by Gregg Moss on March 29. The event will be televised on Sunday, April 24, from 7 -8 p.m. on the 9News sister station, KTVD Channel 20, and streamed on  

The competition was open to Colorado-based startup ventures or businesses that have begun business development, market research and product development. 

“Our judges were incredibly impressed with the semi-finalists this year,” said David Thomas, UNC assistant professor of management and director of the Challenge. “The five finalists have all presented business models that could ultimately change the face of their respective industry, or serve a niche that is not yet being met.” 

The five finalists are:

  • Aerosol Devices (Fort Collins, An advanced scientific instrument for the collection of airborne particles for physical, chemical, and biological analysis. Aerosol Devices is bringing advanced aerosol collector technology to market to create better samples for better analysis in the lab.
  • The Food Corridor (Fort Collins, The first online marketplace for food businesses to find commercial kitchen space, enabling efficiency, growth, and innovation in the food system. The Food Corridor provides online booking, payment processing, disbursement, and reviews to match food businesses without adequate production facilities with underutilized commercial kitchens that have available space, creating an access economy in the food industry.
  • mcSquares (Broomfield, Portable dry erase boards designed to foster innovation through collaboration. mcSquares are a connected, personal, mosaic system that aims to help executives and teachers facilitate creativity, empowering the entire group to create and contribute. The mcSquares design includes a clear dry erase surface to swap out guides and templates, and mounting brackets, allowing the system to ‘pop’ off the wall for idea sorting and sharing.
  • NerdNest (Denver, An innovative, engaging and fun social media site targeting female fans to create and share their favorite, nerd-based fandom content including photos, gifs, videos, and written content related to fandom. Nerd-based fandom can include specific geeky movies, books, television shows, anime, podcasts, or comic books with an obsessive following.
  • Planting Profits™ (Masonville): An online application that uses an agricultural friendly user interface to configure a model of the farming operation, using mathematical optimization to identify the most profitable combination of crops and acreage per field assignment. Planting Profits™ gives farmers the tools to maximize annual profits with fixed and flexible crop combinations. 

The first-place winner will receive $25,000, second place $15,000 and the third-place prize is $10,000.

In addition to the prize money, winners will receive business incubator services from UNC BizHub, the business incubator at the University of Northern Colorado, as well as exposure on a statewide media platform through 9News. 

Judges for the final round of the Entrepreneurial Challenge include Kevin Ahern, founder, chairman, and CEO of CIC Bancshares, Inc.; Kelly J. Brough, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce; and George Lobisser, partner at MALIKY Capital LLC and former president & CEO for Pace International, LLC. 

QB Labs, maker of MovementTek, a wearable tech system that empowers physicians and physical therapists to streamline client progress, and first-place winner of the 2015 competition, credits the Entrepreneurial Challenge for not only accelerating their prototype development, but also for building their network of advisors, investors, collaborators and peers. 

“The biggest impact has been on the increased visibility,” said Jennifer Maskrey, QB Labs founder. “The E-Challenge is very well-known in the Colorado startup community, and being able to tell people we won the competition last year has really helped our presence.”  

For more information about the competition visit