Momentix took a similar path as last year’s winner to land $15,000 in Colorado College’s Big Idea competition on Thursday, and it is hoping to use that cash to raise even more money this fall.

The student-led startup secured $10,000 by finishing third in last year’s competition and used that money for four rounds of building prototypes, testing and redesigning its wooden toy kits. The kits sell for $39.99 and include levers, balls, pulleys, wheels, ramps, hooks and supports that can be connected with existing toys to build “Rube Goldberg” chain-reaction devices for children ages 8-12.

Chica Chocolate, which makes truffles infused with Chinese herbal remedies to ease women’s menstrual and hormone cycles, won the $25,000 first prize last year after winning $10,000 by finishing second in 2017. The company is now expanding in Boulder.

Momentix Founders Alana Aamodt, who graduated from CC last year, and senior Anna Gilbertson plan to use the money for photography and video production to promote a Kickstarter campaign they want to launch in September to raise $120,000. The toy kits, which will sell for $35.99 in the Kickstarter campaign, are designed to build interest in science, technology, engineering and math by girls and minorities.

“I am shocked,” Aamodt said after the competition. “If I was a venture capitalist, I would have invested in all three of the other teams. I am really impressed with the level of the teams in this competition.”

Advanced Water Sensing, which provides a way for people to detect toxic metals in water affordably, accurately and quickly, won $10,000 by finishing second in the Big Idea. Jose Monge Castro, one of three founders of the company, said the startup plans to use the money to improve its outer case, packaging and software application.

The other two finalists were Infinite Chemistry, which is developing software to help students learn chemistry by allowing them to visualize and interact with three-dimensional molecules in a virtual-reality setting, and SaFire, which plans to offer high-quality laptop computers at “fair” prices in Nigeria and other emerging markets.

This year’s Big Idea competition, the seventh annual, began in December with 15 teams. Many of them participated in an 11-day course to prepare. The four teams were chosen last month from 11 semifinalists.

Judges for the finals are Craig Jonas, founder and CEO of CoPeace, a Littleton holding company for social impact businesses; Susan Smith Kuczmarski, who launched the Chicago Innovation Awards in 2002; Michelle Gabrieloff-Parish, energy and climate justice manager for the University of Colorado at Boulder; U.B. Ciminieri, chief strategic connections officer for the Denver management consulting firm Jobber Group; and Jared Barnard, a Denver patent attorney.

Contact Wayne Heilman 636-0234

Contact Wayne Heilman 636-0234



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