Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day Announces Winners, People’s Choice Awards Still Up for Grabs

Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day, a pitch competition in which entrepreneurs compete for funding, has announced the winners for its fourth annual competition. However, voting for three People’s Choice Award grants of $25,000 each is still going on.
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2019 Detroit Demo Day participants
Winners for this year’s Detroit Demo Day were announced, and voting has opened for the People’s Choice Award grants. Pictured are participants from last year. // Photo courtesy of Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day

Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day, a pitch competition in which entrepreneurs compete for funding, has announced the winners for its fourth annual competition. However, voting for three People’s Choice Award grants of $25,000 each is still going on.

Those interested can vote here until 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 25. Viewers can watch videos on the companies before making their decisions.

Due to COVID-19, this year’s competition was changed to ensure the safety of all participants. For example, competition finalists had to record video pitches at the State Savings Bank in downtown Detroit in a safe and socially distanced format.

The ongoing pandemic also has required the Rocket Community Fund, formerly the Quicken Loans Community Fund, to alter this year’s Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day categories to consider the unique needs of small businesses affected by the pandemic throughout Detroit.

“Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day has never been more critical than it is this year, and we are proud to deploy needed capital to Detroit’s entrepreneurial community,” says Laura Grannemann, vice president of the Rocket Community Fund. “Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that we each support the small businesses that make our community strong, diverse, and vibrant so that they can survive and thrive.”

Winners are as follows for the Start category, which is focused on businesses that have launched during the COVID-19 pandemic or have pivoted their business models to meet unexpected needs:

  • FirstPlace ($75,000) – Gildform, on-demand jewelry manufacturing.
  • Second Place ($50,000)– Beas’s Detroit, a place to work, eat, shop, and celebrate.
  • Third Place ($30,000) –Pivot Materials, sustainable materials manufacturer.
  • Grant ($10,000) –Shift_Up, online and in-person learning gym.
  • Grant ($10,000)– Sfumato Fragrances, fragrance company.

In the Sustain category are businesses that are prevalent in their community and can potentially recover from the COVID-19 pandemic with the help of additional funding. The following received funding:

The Build category focuses on businesses with a unique business model or product that can potentially expand despite the current crisis. The winners are:

  • First Place ($200,000) –Paralee Boyd, streamlined salon.
  • Second Place ($150,000) –Skinphoria, facial bar.
  • Third Place ($125,000) –Alerje, digital patient engagement platform.
  • Grant ($10,000) –Monger’s Provisions, purveyors of specialty foods.
  • Grant ($10,000) –RIZZARR – content marketplace for creators.

So far, Paralee Boyd has emerged as the competition’s big winner and has received the top prize of $200,000, with an additional $10,000 grant. With the announcement of $940,000 in investments, Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day finalists will receive a combined $1,015,000.

After the People’s Choice Grant Awards are announced, Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day will have invested more than $4.4 million in Detroit-based businesses over the past four years. The Rocket Community Fund’s entrepreneurship team also provides long-lasting mentorship, networking opportunities, and support to Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day winners to help position them for long-term success.

Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day is an annual pitch competition that invests more than $1 million into Detroit-based, early stage companies with an ambition to scale. Demo Day is one part of a larger strategy of the Rocket Community Fund to elevate Detroit as a destination for small businesses and high-growth startups by deploying capital and supportive resources.

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