Author Topic: Top 20 Startup Pitch Competitions You Must Join in 2018  (Read 1109 times)

Maliha Islam

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Top 20 Startup Pitch Competitions You Must Join in 2018
« on: February 24, 2019, 12:59:32 PM »
Top 20 Startup Pitch Competitions You Must Join in 2018

Ask any entrepreneur what the most challenging thing about launching a startup is, and chances are they’ll tell you the same thing: funding.

Indeed, raising the capital you need to get your startup off the ground is time-consuming, challenging, and frustrating. Since you’re new, not many investors have heard about you. Even if you believe that your startup is going to be the next best thing sliced bread, you’ll need to put out all the stops just to convince one investor to believe in you, and write that check to give you the funds you’ll need to get your startup off the ground.

It’s for this reason why most startup founders choose to compete in startup pitch competition. In these events, the winner receives a cash prize that they can use towards scaling their startup.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg because even if you don’t win the grand prize, joining a startup pitch competition offers a lot of benefits and perks for you and your startup.

Pitch to multiple investors
Instead of just pitching to one group of investors at a time, startup pitch competition gives you the opportunity to pitch your startup to tens—if not, hundreds—of venture capital firms and angel investors. That means that even if you don’t win the grand prize, there’s sure to be a couple of investors in the audience that sees your vision, and will be willing to help you realize this, so you don’t go home empty-handed.

Build strategic partnerships
It’s not just investors that you’ll get to meet in startup pitch competitions. You’ll also have the chance to meet other startup founders that you can connect, share ideas with, ask questions, and may even collaborate within the near future.

Valuable media exposure
When your startup gets chosen as a finalist, you immediately share in the media exposure the pitch competition gets as the organizers of the contest promote this event to investors and other entrepreneurs. On top of that, many reputable websites cover these events, focusing their attention on the different startups competing in the event.

Receiving expert feedback
More important than the few minutes you’re given to pitch your business is the time when the panel of judges of the startup pitch competition gives their feedback about your startup. That’s because they will help you see potential gaps in your startup that can lead to expensive mistakes and heartaches in the future. Their feedback will give you the chance to address these gaps so that you minimize—if not, remove completely—these unwanted instances to occur.

How to dominate any of the top startup pitch competitions
Whether or not you win the grand prize in a top startup pitch competition, joining one can help build momentum for your business. But let’s face it: standing in front of a couple of investors to pitch your business can be nerve-wracking, let alone an auditorium full of venture capital firm representatives and angel investors. Having only a few seconds to say everything you want to say just amps up the pressure.

Preparation is vital when it comes to preparing your pitch. Here are some tips to help you craft a pitch that will help you wow the audience, and increase your chances of winning the grand prize.

Do your research
Startup pitch competitions vary in their time limits, type of presentation, and criteria for judging. So make sure that you do your homework. Take some time to also go through the previous winners. Look for common characteristics they share. These are clues to help you craft your pitch so that it fits exactly what the judges are looking for, and increase your chances of taking home the grand prize.

Some accelerators and incubators host their own startup pitch competitions exclusive to those that were accepted in their startup accelerator programs. That said, take some time to check if the accelerator program you want to join offers this.

Hook them early
Even though a startup pitch competition gives you anywhere between a minute and five minutes to convince the judges, the first eight seconds are the most critical. That’s because that’s the average time that you have to make an impact on the judges and audience to get them hooked and to keep them listening to your pitch.

That said, it’s essential to make it a point to capture the judges and the rest of the audience in your intro. One way to do this is by pretending that you’re explaining your business to a 5-year-old. Not only will this help you make sure that you get straight to the point, but also choose the kinds of words you use more carefully.

This was the case with Airbnb. As you can see in their pitch deck below, they managed to tell the whole story about who they are, the problem they’re aiming to solve, and how they intend to answer it within the first two slides of their presentation.