10 Startup302 Finalists with Underrepresented Founders Share $275,000 in Grant Prizes

Delaware startup302 funding competition

WILMINGTON, Del. – Ten tech-enabled startups with at least one team member from an underrepresented demographic shared $275,000 in funding from Delaware’s first Startup302 competition, which was organized by Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP) and local partners. 

Final Pitching Round for Startup302 Finalists


Twenty-two finalists competed in nine categories and represented multiple industries in April 29’s final pitching round. The funding contest launched in February and attracted 82 overall competitors from throughout Delaware, the Philadelphia region, the United States and countries including Canada and Nigeria.

The Startup302 finals were conducted virtually on the Delaware-based startup platform Markee. Lieutenant GovernorBethany Hall-Long kicked off the four-hour event with a message highlighting how important science, technology, and research are to Delaware and how “much better and stronger” Delaware innovation is when diversity is present and capital is available to members of all demographics.

“We need that foundation for our incredible ecosystem of entrepreneurship here not only in Delaware, but in our region,” Hall-Long said. “Because together, when we’re diverse, the stronger our perspectives become and the better our community.”

The winning ventures and awards were:

  • Desikant of Wilmington, Delaware, Kwaku Temeng, founder, thermoregulation technology apparel engineering – $75,000 Delaware Innovator Award
  • HX Innovations of Middletown, Delaware, Von and Nicole Homer, founders, neuroergonomic footwear technology – $50,000 Delaware Innovator Award and $10,000 Automation and Insights Prize
  • Gaskiya Diagnostics of Wilmington, Delaware, Dr. Mary Larkin, founder, aquaculture diagnostics – $25,000 Delaware Innovator Award and $10,000 Innovation in Agriculture Prize
  • Lazarus 3D of Corvallis, Oregon, Smriti Zaneveld, founder, 3D-printing technology for surgery practice – $20,000 Open Innovation Award and $10,000 Innovation in Health Prize
  • TheraV of Newark DelawareAmira Idris Radovic, founder, therapeutic devices – $20,000 Blue Hen Prize
  • GetPotluck of Newark, Delaware, Abubakarr Kamara and Hope Vega, founders, specialty grocery delivery – $10,000 Blue Hen Prize and $10,000 New Castle County Innovator Prize
  • WeavAir of Toronto, Canada, Natalia Mykhaylova, founder, air quality technology – $10,000 Open Innovation Award
  • Kiddie Kredit of Miami, Florida, Evan Leaphart, founder, financial literacy app – $15,000 FinHealth Prize
  • Elyte Energy of Dover, Delaware, Jalaal Hayes, founder, hydrogen energy technology – $5,000 Prize for Best Science-Based Startup plus 10 hours of mentoring
  • Neggster of Wilmington, Delaware, Kasai Guthrie, founder, banking and financial literacy app – $5,000 FinHealth Prize

The other 12 Startup302 finalists were 2M of Wilmington, Delaware; AF3 of Bear, Delaware; Chekmate of Washington, D.C.; Edie of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Enolytic Labs of Newark, Delaware; Futures First Gaming of Wilmington, Delaware; GreenPesa of Newark, Delaware; Lilu of New York, New York; SALUBATA of Lagos, Nigeria; SOLUtion Medical of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; VariCard of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Versogen of Wilmington, Delaware. 

As part of its mission, DPP supports Delaware’s efforts to build a stronger entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem throughout the state, the region and beyond. DPP and its partners also aim to advance a culture of innovation in Delaware.

Working with innovators and startups, DPP spotlights and celebrates their successes and connects them with the resources they need to succeed. According to DPP Innovation Manager Noah Olson, who coordinated the competition and emceed the finals, Startup302 was created to do all of those things while focusing attention and funding toward groups typically underrepresented and underfunded in the startup arena.

In addition to DPP, Startup302 organizers included the Delaware Sustainable Chemistry AllianceFirst Founders Accelerator, the University of Delaware Horn Entrepreneurship ProgramDelaware State UniversityPedro MooreDelaware Small Business Development Center and Delaware Innovation Space.

Funding for the grant prizes was provided by DPP, the Delaware Division of Small Business, the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, JPMorgan ChaseDiscover BankNew Castle CountyFMCHighmark Blue Cross Blue Shield DelawareLabware and Delaware Innovation Space.

Judges for the Startup302 finals included Delaware Deputy Secretary of State Kris KnightDenita Henderson, associate director, Delaware Small Business Development Center; Ariel Gruswitz, director, Innovation, DPP; venture capitalist and entrepreneur Pedro MooreJulius Korley, director, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Partnerships, College of Engineering, University of Delaware; Jennifer McDermott, executive director, Global Technology + Digital 7 Platform Services Workforce Strategy, JP Morgan Chase; Ngozi Bell, investor, speaker and partner, Trans-Sahara Investment Corporation; Jim Roszkowski, president, Discover Bank Delaware; Carlos Asarta, professor, Department of Economics, University of Delaware; Ann Finnegan, president, Community Impact Loan Fund, National Development Council; Liz Nutting, executive relationship manager, Business Development, Discover Global Network; Nick Moriello, president, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware; Denee Crumrine, corporate communications manager, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware; Elizabeth Carter, director, Market Segment Finance, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware; Brian Schulman, consultant, Provider Contracting, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware; Anne Clauss, executive director, Delaware Data Innovation Lab; Will Cruz, executive in residence, Delaware Innovation Space; Caroline Parker Kelley, associate director, People and Culture, Prelude Therapeutics; Mona Parikh, director, Business Development, Delaware Innovation Space; Peter Payne, Labware; Hattie Duplechain, program manager, Learning Experience, Delaware Innovation Space; Sara Olson, principal, FMC Ventures; Gareth Bossard, associate, FMC Ventures; Nathalia Jewell, director, Corporate Strategy and Development, FMC Corporation; Bibek Sharma, senior environmental toxicologist, FMC Corporation; Dr. Michael Casson, dean, School of Business, Delaware State University; McKeever “Mac” Conwell, managing partner, RareBreed Ventures; Alex King, director, Business Operations, Switchboard Live; and Diane Rogerson, Global Technology lead – Delaware, JP Morgan Chase.

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About Delaware Prosperity Partnership

Delaware Prosperity Partnership leads Delaware’s economic development efforts to attract, grow and retain businesses; to build a stronger entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem; and to support private employers in identifying, recruiting and developing talent. The DPP team works with site selectors, executives and developers focused on where to locate or grow a business and helps with reviewing potential sites, cost-of-living analyses and funding opportunities, including available tax credits and incentives. DPP advances a culture of innovation in Delaware, working with innovators and startups to spotlight and celebrate successes and connect them with the resources they need to succeed. DPP and its partnerships throughout Delaware support and advance the missions of companies of all sizes and sectors. For more information, visit choosedelaware.com.

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