In 2017, over 75 companies applied to be part of the pitch competition, and 6 were featured in the mainstage evening event. To increase visibility for more companies at different stages of growth, the morning pitch competition has been added to highlight 25 new companies in 2018.
Idea Stage Pitch Room: These early-stage startups are seeking to validate their product and business idea. These companies have conducted preliminary customer interviews and market research. They may have designed a potential solution, but they are in the process of validating the problem they hope to solve and their target customer. $5,000 Prize Package (Including $1,000 cash). Judges may select additional teams from this group to pitch in the Mainstage Competition.
Prototype Stage Pitch Room: These early-stage startups are continuing to validate their product and business. The teams have created a light-weight solution (MVP) or a private beta and are working towards product/market fit.
$9,000 Prize Package (Including $5,000 cash). Judges may select additional teams from this group to pitch in the Mainstage Competition.
Launch Stage Pitch Room: These startups that have been working with customers in a testing phase, have recently launched and are approaching product/market fit. The team is established and has active users. They are experimenting with their go to market strategy and working on financial pro forma. The top two Launch Stage teams will advance to the evening Mainstage Competition for a chance to win the $25,000 grand prize. Judges may select additional teams from this group to pitch in the Mainstage Competition.
Growth Stage Pitch Room: Growth Stage companies have launched, are working with active customers and can demonstrate early product/market fit. They are now exploring scaling tactics, have an established go to market strategy and a defensible financial pro forma. The top two Growth Stage teams will advance to the evening Mainstage Competition for a chance to win the $25,000 grand prize. Judges may select additional teams from this group to pitch in the Mainstage Competition.
Evening Mainstage Pitch:
Six startups selected from the Morning Competition will compete for the Mainstage Competition prizes including a grand prize of $25,000.
VC Unplugged Luncheon
VC’s Unplugged is designed for entrepreneurs, service providers, angel investors and VC investors to have an opportunity to meet and engage with local and out-of-state venture capitalists in informal conversations about funding opportunities within our region.
The luncheon will feature a panel of VC’s including members from the Rocky Mountain Venture Capital Association as well as other local VC firms, time for great networking, and a catered luncheon. The panelists, including some from Tucson-based venture capital organizations, are actively investing in the region, and will talk about their investment criteria.
VC Unplugged Luncheon is an additional $50 cost for IdeaFunding participants, and requires a separate ticket from the TENWEST Pass. Scholarships for local entrepreneurs and students are available on an as-needed basis.
One-on-One Entrepreneur Consults
With the convergence of angel and VC investors, service providers, industry experts, university and government partners, an obvious goal of IdeaFunding is to provide engagement and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs.
This year IdeaFunding will include opportunities for entrepreneurs to be paired with experts for one-on-one consults. Experts on such topics as patents, prototyping, talent management, funding, business plans, etc will provide their time and entrepreneurs will be able to sign up for individual sessions throughout the day. Sign-ups coming soon!
IdeaFunding Educational Tracks
The IdeaFunding team has created an exciting series of 16 sessions that allow entrepreneurs at different stages of growth to build their knowledge in four key areas. Check out our call for speakers page to view the educational content grid for 2018!
Evening Keynote, Pitch Finalists & Awards
Networking Mixer: As with all main TENWEST components, IdeaFunding will also conclude with a networking mixer bridging the day’s educational programming with the evening keynote and final Pitch Competition.
Keynote Speaker: The IdeaFunding Committee is currently under discussion with an internationally known influencer, speaker, founder in the startup community. We expect to have the details finalized shortly.
Pitch Finalists: After competing in the morning pitch competition, five competitors from the Launch & Growth Stage Pitch rooms will compete for the Mainstage prizes. These are ventures who are actively working with customers and are ready to launch and/or scale their businesses. Additional coaching and mentorship will be provided to these teams to ensure the highest quality in evening pitch presentations.
- Evening Prize: $25,000 – the grand prize can be used for companies to launch or scale the venture.
- Additional Benefits: A variety of benefits including co-working spaces, mentorship packages and more will be offered to the top teams.
Community Awards: While the judges are deliberating, awards are given to members of the community to recognize their contributions to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Award categories and awardees are determined by the IdeaFunding Committee.