The Albuquerque-based Creative Startups business accelerator is hosting the U.S. national competition this year, scheduled to culminate in a pitch event among five finalists next week at the FreeRange co-working space near the University of New Mexico.
The finalists, including one from Albuquerque, were chosen in August from nearly 60 companies nationwide seeking a chance to compete at the coveted global event in Copenhagen, said Creative Startups program manager Julia Youngs.
“It’s a global competition that highlights the strength of the creative industries in the global economy,” Youngs said. “It encourages collaboration and dialogue across borders. Companies start out competing at the national level in their own countries, and we’re the hosts for this year’s USA event.”
National-level winners who progress to Copenhagen can pitch their business ideas directly to potential investors and strategic partners from around the world, while networking with creative entrepreneurs and professionals from many countries.
This year’s U.S. finalists come from five states, including:
— ClearStream Technologies, an Albuquerque company with UNM software that allows quality online video streaming no matter what the Internet connection speed.
— Mixtroz, a Tennessee company marketing software for event organizers to make it easy for people to meet and interact at large gatherings.
— SeaHorse Live, a New Jersey startup with an underwater drone and educational gaming platform to teach kids about marine biology.
— StoryStreet Labs, a Chicago firm with an online social platform for authors to seek editorial feedback and collaboration for publishing short stories.
— EatMe Ice Cream, a New York startup marketing organic,, locally-sourced, handmade ice cream.
EatMe Ice Cream is a 2016 graduate of Creative Startups. The others have no connection to the accelerator.
However, ClearStream founder Raghu Kopalle is the former CEO of InnoBright Technologies, an ABQid business accelerator graduate that’s marketing UNM software to speed and improve the rendering process for video animation.
Kopalle’s new company could help artists and others provide quality online video of their work, something he wants to discuss with creative entrepreneurs in Copenhagen if he wins next week’s national competition.
“It’s a great networking event to meet with other startups and possibly investors in the creative space,” Kopalle said.