LEARN: What is involved?

Why compete?

  • Exposure: Meet investors, fellow startup talent, and potential customers
  • Press: LAUNCH winners and participants have been written about in Forbes, The Economist, Inc, Time, Wall Street Journal and the New York Times among others
  • Rewards!
    • All competitors will receive upgraded All Access passes to Techweek Chicago 2016
    • Champions will receive access to Founders House, our invite-only evening gathering of Techweek speakers, leaders, senior executives and esteemed founders and an opportunity to compete in the National Championship in Miami to win a $50k cash prize
    • Champion will be featured in Techweekly Chicago our media platform
    • Winners receive $10k in legal services from sponsor, K&L Gates
    • One hardware based startup will also be selected for $25k in manufacturing services

What do competitors do in LAUNCH?

  • APPLY: Submit your application form below before the deadline date of 12 noon ET, Monday, Jun 13th, 2016. Note the application includes a video pitch this year – grab your iPhone record your pitch – don’t worry about quality, it’s about hearing from you and your business not fancy graphics!
  • REVIEW: An internal and affiliated Techweek board of professional investors and technology reviewers will evaluate, grade and provide feedback on your company, business plan and elevator pitch, and select start-ups that will be invited to exhibit
  • EXHIBIT AND SELECT: Competitors will be required to exhibit from 10:30 – 5:30 pm on June 23rd. Come prepared to host a display booth for you company! Pitch to Techweek attendees, investors – and some incognito judges.
  • LAUNCH BOAT: All exhibitors will have the opportunity to attend our LAUNCH boat cruise on Thursday evening from 6-8pm.
  • FINALIST PITCH BATTLE: Launch finalists will be announced after the exhibition on Thursday evening, and the top 5 Launch competitors will proceed to a formal pitch in front of a live panel of judges from 3-5pm on Friday. Finalist pitches should be 6 minutes followed by a 4 minute Q&A.
  • VICTORY: The overall Techweek Chicago Launch Winner will be announced on Friday evening, receive their prizes and gain citywide recognition!

What kind of companies are eligible to compete?

  • Tech: Incorporate technology in their business
  • Age: be less than 3 years old
  • Funding: Have less than $3M of funding
  • Revenue: Have less than $15M of revenue
  • Team: Have fewer than 15 full time employees

What criteria are are companies evaluated with?

  • Target market
  • Problem or need
  • Solution
  • Team, board, advisors
  • Market traction
  • Competitive advantage
  • Revenue model
  • Strategy: Key expenses/ time efforts
  • Overall presentation / Q&A

SUBMIT: Our official Chicago 2016 LAUNCH submission form

We use the F6s platform for our application process, the same platform used by some of the most established incubators and pitch competitions in the country. Please follow the link below to apply. If this is your first time using F6s, you will need to BOTH create a company profile AND THEN submit additional questions for the Techweek LAUNCH competitions you wish to enter

There are 3 parts to the application:

  1. “Due diligence” market questions
  2. Creating and submitting your short pitch video
  3. Submitting your pitch presentation

There will be clear instructions in F6S for each of these stages of the submission.

Applications are now closed.

CONGRATULATIONS: to our 2015 Chicago Launch Winners – Apollo Medical Devices!

2015 Chicago – Apollo Medical Devices

Apollo Medical Devices wins Techweek LAUNCH Chicago 2015

FAQS: The ones we hear over and over

Q: Can I bring a computer? Will there be an extension cord and access to a power outlet?
A: Yes! There will be one outlet per table – if you require more, bring a powerstrip.

Q: Will you be providing a table cloths for the table?
A: No – please bring your own.

Q: Can I get tickets for my team members?
A: Yes, each team member submitted in the form will receive a ticket, and up to 5 additional Festival Tickets.

Q: Can I bring my own materials?
A: Yes! We recommend you bring promotional materials, especially those that explain your company, product and/or service to the casual passer-by. Be aware, however, space is limited.

Q: In what format can my presentation be?
A: Please ensure you submit a powerpoint file of your presentation. Semi-finalists will be sent a dropbox link to upload their presentation.

Q: What if I have other questions?
A: Send questions to launch@techweek.com.  Once semi-finalists have been selected, answers to submitted questions are typically shared with the entire semi-finalist group.

Our Sponsors

Techweek is delighted to announced Amazon Launchpad as the official Techweek Chicago Launch Presenting Sponsor for 2016! Started in July 2015, Amazon Launchpad, makes it easy for startups to launch, market, and distribute their products to hundreds of millions of Amazon customers across the globe.

The platform offers a dedicated storefront featuring a variety of innovative new products from emerging brands. For startups, the platform handles inventory management, order fulfillment, customer service, and more, allowing them to focus their efforts on the innovation that results in more cool products.


Techweek is delighted to announce K&L Gates as an official Techweek Chicago Launch Sponsor for 2016!

One of the world’s leading law firms, with more than 2,000 lawyers in 45 cities across the globe, K&L Gates advises in all areas of corporate and intellectual property, as well as litigation and regulatory. Its team of lawyers here in Chicago provides counsel to companies at all stages of growth from start-ups to some of the world’s largest companies.

We are excited to work together in support of Chicago’s tech founders and the next generation of world class startups.

As part of this support, the Chicago LAUNCH Winner will receive up to $10k in legal services from the firm.


At Pounce we are agents of change for our clients, our communities and our society. As one of Mexico’s leading technology firm and innovation companies, Pounce is the only provider of integrated services to develop, transform and integrate hardware & software products, systems and platforms. For over 15 years Pounce has operated under the premise of providing optimal, top quality and affordable technological solutions to companies in North America. For more information visit the Pounce corporate website at http://www.pouncecorp.com

We are always excited to support Innovation in North America and to be part of a Game Changing idea, it is part of Pounce DNA. Been part of Launch give us an opportunity to support the hard work of entrepreneurs in their quest to transforming the marketplace.

One Chicago LAUNCH competitor will be selected as the hardware champion and receive up to $25k in manufacturing services.