Five Chicago Startups Are Finalists in a Chinese Startup Competition

Five local startups will head to Qingdao, China in April to compete for $100,000 in prizes through a global startup competition.

In a regional competition held at the Chicago Innovation Exchange in Hyde Park Tuesday,ReliefwatchTovalaRiMO TherapeuticsAudiovert, and NETenergy were named finalists in the competition, and won a travel expenses paid trip to Qingdao, a city located on the Yellow Sea in the east coast of China, to compete in the finals.

About 45 teams will compete in the finals, including 15 to 20 startups from the US and 30 from China. Other university participants include University of Maryland, Rice University, Arizona State University, Virginia Tech, and San Jose State University.

The competition is part of the Sino-US Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition, an annual startup competition that connects US startups to the Chinese innovation ecosystem. This is the first time that CIE has taken part in the competition, but CIE's assistant director of marketing and communications Whitney Johnson said they anticipate it will become an annual event.

CIE is also a partner of Shandong University in Qingdao. The university is creating technology research park, and CIE is offering advice on the project.

Here's a look at the startups heading to the competition this spring.

Reliefwatch: This UChicago-born tech gives health professionals in developing countries a simple and easy platform to track inventory through the cloud. The startup has been a finalist in a host of competitions, including the Prince of Whales competition, and just attended Mobile World Congress.

Tovala: This food tech startup out of UChicago Booth offers a countertop appliance that automatically bakes, steams, convection heats, and broils pre-made meals with fresh ingredients. The startup won the New Venture Competition last year and just raised a $500,000 pre-seed round.

RiMO Therapeutics: This startup developed a nanotechnology that can enhance radiotherapy. Their treatment can significantly reduce the number of x-ray doses needed to kill cancer cells. They were just awarded $250,000 from the UChicago Innovation Fund.

Audiovert: This music tech startup out of Northwestern offers a customizable, modular speaker system. They recently raised $3,900 on Indiegogo.

NETenergy: This thermal storage energy company created smart battery tech that can save building owners 30 percent or more on energy usage, and reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent. Last year they won $100,000 in the Clean Energy Challenge from Clean Energy Trust.