The MassChallenge startup competition awarded cash prizes to 17 companies on Monday, including three that received $100,000 prizes, in the second year for the nationally-watched competition. The companies shared a total of $1 million and were chosen from among the â¿¿ final 26â¿ companies in the competition â¿¿ which originally began with 125 finalist startups in May. A total of 733 startups applied to the competition. Winners of the top prizes were Alkeus Pharmaceuticals, a biotech startup developing a treatment for blindness; Tinfoil Security, which offers automated web security technology; and Sanergy, which is building sanitation infrastructure in Kenya, by working with local entrepreneurs and processing waste into electricity and fertilizer. â¿¿Itâ¿¿s a huge boost to the work thatâ¿¿s already going on,â¿ said Sanergy co-founder Nathan Cooke after the award announcement. â¿¿Itâ¿¿s nice to see the validation â¿¿ that this is a legitimate business.â¿ Cooke said most of the companyâ¿¿s operation is focused in Kenya, though the company plans to maintain a Massachusetts office. Alkeus, whose CEO is MIT doctoral graduate Leonide Saad, is based in Cambridge. Tinfoil Security moved its two-person operation to Silicon Valley three months ago, said co-founder and CTO Michael Borohovski. The other 14 cash prizes were worth $50,000, and went to companies including Artaic, a five-person company that manufactures customized mosaic tile projects using robotics and CAD software. The company does its production in a South Boston facility, and has done projects for Hyatt, Sheraton and Tropicana â¿¿ as well as for Googleâ¿¿s Kendall Square office, said CEO Ted Acworth. â¿¿We have pricing similar to â¿¿made in China,â¿¿ but weâ¿¿re made in Massachusetts,â¿ Acworth said. Speakers during the three-hour awards event at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center included Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who touted the job creation and other economic benefits of MassChallenge.