Personal Finance

Leawood-based Blooom among five finalists for One in a Million

Leawood-based Blooom is among the five finalists making presentations in the One in a Million competition Wednesday morning at the Kauffman Foundation.

The company, led by chief executive Chris Costello, is an online investment adviser that helps clients manage their 401(k) and similar retirement accounts.

Wednesday’s judging and presentations are part of Global Entrepreneurship Week Kansas City, which is holding its eighth event here since starting in 2008.

The four other finalists:

▪ Dry Ventures, Inc., San Antonio, Texas, CEO David Naumann, makes DryBox, an automated self-service vending machine that dries and can save a wet cellphone.

▪ Pick My Solar, Los Angeles, Calif., CEO Max Aram, is an online bidding platform for residential solar systems that allows buyers to receive quotes from vetted suppliers and analyzes the offers to display the top three bids.

▪ Swine Tech, New Sharon, Iowa, founder Matthew Rooda, makes Sound-Off that analyzes piglets’ squeals for distress from being laid on by its mother, which receives an impulse to the flank that will cause the sow to stand.

▪ Upsie, Minneapolis, Minn., CEO Clarence Bethea, is a free mobile app that provides warranty coverage and pricing options by searching product categories or scanning barcodes in stores. It also allows for he purchase of warranties, start of claims processes and storage of warranty information and product receipts.

Each of 377 applicants for the contest had previously presented their businesses at weekly 1 Million Cups events.

These sessions, which began at the Kauffman Foundation in April 2012, provide interaction among entrepreneurs and feedback from the audience. They’ve grown to more than 70 cities.

The winning company gets $10,000; second place, $5,000; and third place, $1,000.

Judges for the finals are Marcelo Claure, chief executive of Sprint Corp., Nicole Glaros, entrepreneur and chief product officer of Techstars, and Miriam Rivera, first vice president of Google and its deputy general counsel.

Mark Davis: 816-234-4372, on Twitter @mdkcstar

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