Wednesday night in Northeast Minneapolis, we built it as we went along, experimented and saw what worked, and improvised with new collaborators.

Wait, are we talking about our event that featured startups or the startups themselves?

Perhaps this explains the synchronicity between this event and the contestants, the judges and the sponsors, and all the attendees coming equally from the MNblockchain and Twin Cities Startup Week communities.

SPONSOR SHOUTOUT: Conflux Network‘s Matthew Chruscielski addresses attendees.

In all, a full room watched seven presentations, heard from six sponsoring partners, and witnessed the four finalists make their best pitch to the judge’s panel. This was Blockchain Pitch Night!

Part of the greater series of entrepreneurial events all week long for Twin Cities Startup Week, we did our part highlighting the Web3 world. Following our summer “Spotlight Meetups,” we wondered how popular a multi-project pitch event would be. Turns out, just as we were pleasantly surprised to hear from about 15 projects (10 of whom applied), were we pleased with the numbers who came out to watch.   

SPONSOR SHOUTOUT – John Neve (left, in dapper navy suit), attorney and founder of law firm Quantum Lex, MNblockchain partner and prize sponsor for this contest 

With much to share, we split the night into two, featuring some opening acts before getting to the four main contestants. Kicking us off: Tom Benbow and his project Microgen, a decentralized website creator literally building Web3. 

SPONSOR SHOUTOUT: Event space and equipment was graciously offered by Augurian digital marketing—who provided their space for several events throughout Twin Cities Startup Week.

Tom told me his surname means “archer.” I wonder if the next presenter’s last name means “pirate.”  

Zach LaVone presents his “phygital” card game “Yor.” 

This fantasy strategy game features both physical playing cards and their blockchain-based (NFT) equivalent. 

To wrap up opening presentations, we stuck with gaming and a company offering Web3 infrastructure for video game publishing. 

Peter Tomala presents World Play League

To conclude, Peter pointed the way forward—or over to the judge’s table, soon to be filled by those deciding the winner from our Finalists. 

But first, offering up a pep talk—as well as a prize package for the night—we got another SPONSOR SHOUTOUT for (and from) Donald Raleigh and his marketing company Evolve Systems.  

Check out our Twitter/X feed, where our post announcing the winner on this nighttook off and has now been seen by over 14,000 people. 

In fact, stay connected with all we’re up to via social media and at our Slack Community to discuss the latest in the space and share what you’re working on.

We’re sharing more of what our community is up to—by way of our Spotlight Meetups, our new Spotlight Social Media posts, and, coming soon, our new MNblockchain podcast!

Finalists had eight minutes to pitch and four minutes to field judges’ questions. The first to flex for his tremendous twelve was Soo-Young Lee presenting Vizmesh, a platform for decentralized NFT art curation.  

SHOUTOUT to our generous judgesoffering up their time, feedback, and wisdom,helping to shape these projects and the outcome on this night. 

THANK YOU, JUDGES (left to right) —

Lisa Esberger of Verdethos

Nick Tietz of ILT Studios

Johnny Helmberger of ScaleUp Legal

David V Duccini of Silicon Prairie (also a prize sponsor for this night)

Next contestant: Carter Razink, whose company DropChain provides a platform for other Web3 builders. 

Now down to the final two, Michael (Hunter) Dansbury stepped up to the plate to showcase his gaming app ShotCaller, helping college athletes monetize their brand.   

Hunter taking his shot.

And finally, Grant Cermak took us home with his all-in-one crypto mining product.   

Grant impresses the judges with his Evergreen Miner. Kitty bowl in the foreground smiles for the camera.

Now it was the judges who were on the clock, sequestered in the conference room to confer about who should win the night’s awards. 

It was a very close call.  But there can be only one. 

After a tiebreaker, the judges decided…   

And the winner of our first annual Ramen Award is…

Yes, MNblockchain president Brandon Ferdig did crown the winner Miss America-style. 

Grant Cermak and Evergreen Miner! Congratulations!  

And the winner is…@Evergreenminer! Congratulations! pic.twitter.com/pDNbEfIX3d

In a very tight race, Evergreen Miner won by a nose—or a noodle. Grant took home $500, service packages from Quantum Lex legal and Evolve Systems marketing, and will appear on stage for our upcoming “Web3 & Law” conference with St. Thomas School of Law October 23.

He wasn’t the only winner. 

Judge David Duccini’s crowdfunding platform Silicon Prairie offered startup packages to all the contestants. And business strategist (and MNblockchain Advisor) Mickey Mikeworth (mikeworthconsulting.com) offered consulting packages to each finalist as well.

SPONSOR SHOUTOUT – Thank you for the generous support to the community, Mickey!

Yet with their gift packages and consolation Ramen, the four contestants also were not the only winners this night. 

The biggest winner was the blockchain community in Minnesota. 

Like the industry as a whole, our community is growing and very active, with many individuals independently and collectively exploring, building, and innovating—all within this new technology offering new frontiers in art, finance, law, gaming, energy, data management, and more. 

Minnesota can be a hub for the mainstreaming of the industry. Minnesota Blockchain Initiative is bringing together those participating from their respective fields, building strength in numbers and progress as a community. 

THANK YOU to all the attendees, participants, volunteers, sponsors, and again to Twin Cities Startup Week for helping make this event possible. 

Come be a part of our online community. Grow your business by working with our community. Join our in-person community at our next event, next month. 

Contact us at connect@mnblockchain.org.

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