How to Find and Choose Right Pitch Competitions for Your Startup

Photo: Tech Inclusion 2016 Startup Showcase Pitch Judges

Post via Elina Fahlgren (@fahlgrene)

It sometimes seems like new startup events and pitch competitions are popping up every month, both globally and locally. With limited time and resources it can be difficult to choose the right one to participate in. After organizing several pitch competitions I have noticed that many startups don’t spend enough time researching viable options. Here are some things to consider before signing up:

1. Research and pick an event that is relevant for your industry

Participating in events that are the most relevant for your company’s business model and objectives is the key to getting feedback from investors currently funding startups in similar domains. Well-established conferences and startup pitch competitions often host trusted media which could also help you get mentions that you don’t have to deliberately go ask for.

2. Check who is sponsoring the event and which companies the jury represents

Needless to say, networking with investors and professionals that can bring value and are relevant for your future success should be on your radar, even if you don’t win the pitch competition. These events are for funders and founders to get to know each other and each other’s motivations. Doing homework on companies participating the event can help you establish connections for future partnership opportunities that wasn’t even on the top of your agenda when you signed up for the competition.

3. Know what takeaways you’ll want to get from the experience

Participating in a conference expo, speaking with industry professionals and getting feedback are only a few of the perks that will make your participation meaningful. Your goal should be learning over winning the pitch competition. Think of ways to engage the audience such as showing a working demo, demonstrating traction or by offering promo codes or free trials for early users. Also, take part in the showcase if the organizer offers a table for your startup. Showcase expo is a great way to demo and promote your product. You can even collect emails from people who’d like to learn more about your product after the event.

Apply To Pitch at the Tech Inclusion Conference Startup Showcase

Feeling ready for your next pitch?

If you’re a startup in EdTech, FinTech or PeopleTech with less than $2M in funding we’d like to hear from you. Tech Inclusion is organizing a pitch competition during its conference in San Francisco, October 26–27th. The Top-10 startups in the verticals mentioned above will be chosen to participate in the pitch competition. The competition is inclusive for all to apply and we hope to see many underrepresented founders and diverse teams taking part.

Application deadline is September 30th and the final 10 will be announced October 7th. The finalists will have a chance to practice their pitches with Silicon Valley Bank prior to the conference.

Judges include:

Claire Lee, Managing Director II, Stage Banking at Silicon Valley Bank
Monique Woodard, Venture Partner at 500 Startups
Ryan Hoover, Founder of Product Hunt
Joe Vasquez, Founding Director at Michelson Runway Accelerator
Trevor Thomas, General Partner at Cross Culture Ventures
John Lyman, Partner at GV

Interested in sponsoring?

This is a unique chance to meet diverse engineers, entrepreneurs, designers and more! Contact us for more information.

Interested in volunteering?

We need volunteers to help make this an amazing event. Sign up to be a volunteer on our community site:

Interested in a scholarship?

Apply for a scholarship on our community site:

About Change Catalyst:

Change Catalyst empowers diverse, inclusive and sustainable tech innovation — through education, community engagement and mentorship. Change Catalyst is a Certified B Corp, winning the “Best for the World”​ award for community impact in 2014 and “Best in the World”​ overall in 2015.

Tech Inclusion:

Our Tech Inclusion programs explore and develop innovative solutions to tech diversity and inclusion. We partner with the tech community to solve diversity and inclusion together through conferences, career fairs, strategic consulting and training. Our work spans the full tech ecosystem, including: Education, Workplace, Entrepreneurship and Policy.

Tech Inclusion 2016 Speakers

The Change Catalyst Team

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Guest Post via Elina Fahlgren (@fahlgrene)

Elina Fahlgren (@fahlgrene) | Twitter

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