Amid the everyday chaos of 2020, thousands of eager founders have been competing in the 8th annual Startup of the Year competition that culminates in the chance to pitch some of the biggest and most respected investors in the world.
This year's summit, held November 16–18, went virtual and featured startups that aim to improve everything from spreadsheets to healthcare to government bureaucracy. In the end, SoLo Funds, a peer-to-peer micro-lending app, came out on top as the 2020 Startup of the Year.
"This award and potential investment from Established Ventures honors the SoLo Fund team's unstoppable vision and relentless pursuit to transform the financial industry and help millions of underserved people," said Jen Consalvo, Established Co-CEO and Managing Partner, Established Ventures.
Below, we featured the top five competitors to give you an idea of what the judges are looking for. You can also watch the finals competition and award ceremony in its entirety.
The Top 5
Grand Champion: SoLo Funds
Founder Travis Holoway set out to reinvent the community bank with his peer-to-peer lending app launched in 2018. The iOS marketplace connects borrowers with a network of lenders who provide swift, affordable access to loans under $1,000. Best of all? SoLo uses bank-level security to ensure that every transaction is encrypted and that all of your sensitive information is safe and never sold to third parties.
Anyone who's spent hours fiddling with a complicated Excel spreadsheet should be excited to use Finmark. The platform asks a series of questions to learn about your business and then spits out a series of tailor-made financial projections and reports. It even integrates with accounting software, payment processors, payroll platforms, and bank accounts to maximize efficiency and eliminate confusion.
Most governments are laden with bureaucracy and inefficiencies that waste untold amounts of time, money, and patience. Founder Paolo Santana offers an alternative in GLASS, an ecosystem powered by artificial intelligence that helps governments scale and streamlines decision-making.
Every person deserves access to affordable and high-quality healthcare, which is why Hoy Health connects clients with bilingual and cost-capped services — even if you don't have insurance. Hoy Health and partners provide the programs, tools, and health information designed to help individuals become better healthcare consumers.
Jeenie is an online platform that connects you with a live, on-demand interpreter. As of this year, the company has zeroed in on the healthcare market, allowing patients to converse fluently with healthcare providers across language barriers with HIPAA-trained interpreters. They received the .US Veteran Startup of the Year Award and took home a $10K non-dilutive cash prize from .US, a top-level domain and sponsor of this year's Summit; you can read more about Jeenie's pivot from tourism to healthcare in a Hello Alice blog post here.