Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank sponsors the Cupid's Cup entrepreneurship competition at the University of Maryland, College Park. (Photo from Cupid's Cup).

UMD startup Javazen wins $75K in Cupid’s Cup pitch contest

Javazen, a local startup that markets a special, nutrient-rich coffee, has won this year’s Cupid’s Cup entrepreneurship contest — and the $75,000 top prize that comes with it.

The University of Maryland, College Park startup — the only hometown entry in this year’s competition — also took home the $5,000 audience award.

The annual pitch competition, now in its 11th year, is the brainchild of Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank, who partners with the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at Maryland to host the event.

This year’s contest was live-Tweeted by the UMD Robert H. Smith School of Business, the Dingman Center and others.

A second-place, $20,000 prize went to the Harvard University startup Six Foods, which makes tortilla chips using a flour made from ground-up crickets. Known as “Chirps,” the company wants them to help normalize insect-based foods, according to Cupid’s Cup.

Joining Plank as judges were Dan Gilbert, founder of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans as well as majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers; TV host, author, and BridgeEdu founder Wes Moore; and Huffington Post co-founder and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington.

The other finalists competing for this year’s top prize included:

  • Headbands of Hope, from North Carolina State University, which creates headbands for girls undergoing chemotherapy; for each unit sold another will be donated to a child with cancer.
  • mybestbox, from Columbia University, which provides gift boxes full of high-quality goods to help customers live a healthier lifestyle. A box might include natural lotion and tooth care products or a hypoallergenic pillow and skin-care products.
  • Plova Chewing Gum, from Trinity University, a product designed to keep your mouth clean and healthy.
  • Wolf & Shepard, from the University of Notre Dame, which designs extra-comfortable shoes.

The Cupid’s Cup name comes from Cupid’s Valentine, a rose delivery service Plank founded while he was a student at Maryland. The money he earned from that venture provided seed capital for the sweat-wicking T-shirt that became the basis for Under Armour.