Tips & Tools To Organize The Most Engaging and Fruitful Startups Pitch Contests

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Startup companies keep popping out everywhere, so as pitch contests, where startups gain access to capital, networks or media attention, and corporate organizations or investors are looking for opportunities to generate revenues.

As a contests organizer, it is critical to make sure your event can engage all the participants, and generate the most enlightening innovations.

Now the question is “what can you do to organize a successful and engaging pitch contest?” Here are some tips which could help.

 

Define your target, and select the right criteria to evaluate startups

As an organizer, what do you want to achieve and what are your targets?

What kind of startups are you looking for?

A corporate company might be looking to reinvent your business model,  or to find B2B startups with services that can boost its productivity. They could be looking to recruit new talents with technical skills or a digital and creative mindset, or boost its employer’s brand name among the tech community.  Or maybe you’re looking for startups to solve a very specific problem.

Your target will help determine a list of criteria to select startups for the pitch competition, and to select the winner during the event.

Pre-selection criteria might be more specific. For example, you might be considering only startups with a functional technical team in Data / AI, to make sure the startups have the technical capacity to provide the solution.

 

Invite and engage the startups

One way to find startups is to call out to them through a communication campaign, via coworking spaces, specific tech media, social media, etc.  

You can invite specific startups by doing a research online (for example using the Crunchbase database) – or by hiring an agency that offers startups sourcing.  They will identify and pre-analyze startups so that they fit in with your targets.

To motivate startups to participate, you must offer them a prize: it can be equity-free grants or a seed investment. Other than money, they can be motivated by the opportunity to pitch in front of corporates to develop a pilot project or in front of top VC firms in their industry to attract more funding. Winners can also be offered incubator / coworking space, expert mentorship, media coverage or other advantages.

For example, Fenox Venture Capital offers US$1 million in funding.

 

P&G and the coworking space Impact Hub in Singapore organized a pitch competition in 2016 whose winner got access to P&G insights and mentors, a SGD 25,000 prize money, possibly to pilot their product, and potentially form a long-term partnership with P&G.

 

If your target as a corporate organizer is to collaborate further with the startups, make sure you have simplified processes in place to allow such collaboration (simplified contracts and confidentiality agreements, shorter payment terms, clear decision-making timeline etc.)

 

Choose the contest venue

Based on the number of participants, a good place should be easy to access, have enough space, be well designed to make the audience focus on the stage, and be equipped to make sure the presentations go smoothly.

Make sure the space reflects the image you’d like to give during the pitch contest. For example, as a corporate, prefer a coworking space event room to an old-style hotel conference room if you’d like to get closer to the tech community.

You could aso partner with a popular tech event to organize your pitch event competition, which will provide you with even more visibility among the startups community.

Unilever Foundry, the innovation lab of Unilever, has been organizing a startup competition during the Innovfest unbound event in Singapore, one of the main tech events in the country, for the last 3 years.

Form the jury

During a pitch contest, the jury is a very important part, as it is responsible for providing meaningful directions and guiding the investors and corporate organisations. As organizers, you must make sure the jury you selected corresponds to certain criterias.

  • Jury should be diverse and can represent the interests of different stakeholders, thus a combination with people from different backgrounds including MNCs, Startups would be the best.
  • Actively listeners who seek to understand and assess new idea, product or service.
  • A good judge is able to ask question directly to gather the most useful information during a short pitch.
  • Jury should be willing to help startups, give meaningful mentorship, guidance and support, for example refine startups’ concepts, connect them with other mentors.

 

Manage Logistics

Considering the length of  the contests, organizers should provide certain food and beverages. For a whole day pitch contest you should provide participants with formal meals during the day; four-hour meetings can be flavored with some dessert and soft drinks. Therefore, it is important to check if the venue could provide these services.

Map your site.  For example you should figure out the elements of your contest, where the food trucks, participants will go. After these you can plan the entry process with direct signs to simplify the entry and exit for attendants.

Test the sound system and projector in advance and several times – there is nothing worse than a mic or slides that aren’t working during a pitch contest. 

 

Use the right tool during the event to calculate results in real time and engage everyone

 

Once you have settled all the above, it’s time to think about how to make your pitch competition simpler to manage and more engaging for everyone on the D-day.

Rocket Pitch is an app that guarantees you to engage everyone at your pitch events effortlessly by allowing the jury to vote, calculating results in real time, generating podiums and providing immediate feedback to startups or intrapreneurial teams. With only three steps, it is designed to simplify the organizer’s life during the event.

 

  1. Create your event in 1 minute

 

 

 

Fill up the data for your event, create criteria and enter startups.

 

 

 

 

 2. Rate live from your smartphone

 

 

Invite Jury or members

Follow live progress to make sure every jury member has rated each startups

Allow the jury to rate startups remotely

 

 

 

3. Rankings in real time   

 

 

 

Get instant results, overall and by criteria, and generate a final ranking (top 3) that you can showcase during the event.

 

 

 

 

Know more about Rocket Pitch

 

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