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Entrepreneurs Take Home $1.2M In Funding At Quicken Loans' Demo Day

Entrepreneurs Take Home $1.2M In Funding At Quicken Loans' Demo Day

Quicken Loan’s third annual annual Demo Day kicked off June 14 with event host James Chapman. His talk with hip-hop producer Che Pope started an evening of entrepreneurship, bravery, creativity and investment.

Fifteen entrepreneurs pitched judges at the Fillmore Detroit for a share of $1.2 million in funding at the Friday event, which marks the beginning of Detroit Startup Week.

The judges for the night were John Henry, partner at Harlem Capital and host of the VICELAND show “Hustle"; Suzanne Shank, SEO of Siebert, Cisneros, Shank & Co.; Jason White, CMO at Cura Cannabis Solutions; and Tony Ambroza, CBO at Carhartt.

Scale Category

Ellis Island Tea, a homegrown hibiscus tea business founded by Nailah Ellis-Brown, took home the grand prize investment of $300,000. Ellis-Brown said the prize money would help fund growth and expansion into all Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT)-owned Sam’s Club stores and to increase staff and warehousing.

The People’s Choice for this category went to Functional Fluidics, which created a predictive test for blood diseases.

Grow Category

The Grow Category had three winners.

Louisiana Creole Gumbo, a family-run Cajun restaurant, took home the top prize of $250,000. The restaurant plans to expand to a new state-of-the-art kitchen, increase production capacity, open a new location and add at least 15 employees with the funds.

Detroit Dough, a safe ready-to-eat cookie dough in a cup, took home the second prize of $200,000 as well as the People’s Choice for the Grow category. They plan to increase staff and shore up distribution with the funds.

The third winner, Eastern Market Brewing Co., received $150,000. The brewery is planning a “cans to go” service and an expanded walk-in fridge.

'Who Has A Competitive Advantage'

In the Start category, Healthy Roots took home the top prize of $100,000. The storybook company creates dolls for girls with curly hair, because, as founder Yelitsa Jean-Charles said, “you have to do so much more than paint a doll brown.” The company also took home the People’s Choice award of $25,000 for a total of $125,000, which Healthy Roots plans to use to expand their line of dolls to include different hair textures and skin colors.

Cura Cannabis Solutions' White said after the presentations that the judges were looking for "who has a competitive advantage" and said the investment should go to a business with an edge in their market.

The second winner was HoneyCure, a burn-relief product for animals, specifically dogs. With the $75,000, the business plans to buy more equipment and increase its Detroit staff to fulfill a contract to get into 800 stores by the end of 2019.

The last winner, Gus & Grey, won $50,000. The handcrafted jam and sweets company wants to quadruple its workforce and open a commercial kitchen in Eastern Market.

After the awards were finished, the crowd was treated to a surprise musical performance from eight-time Grammy Winner T.I.

Related Links:

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Photo courtesy of Rock Media.


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Posted-In: Demo Day Detroit Startup Week Quicken LoansNews Events Startups Small Business Best of Benzinga

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