to our 2015 Launch Winners!
2015 was a exciting growth year for LAUNCH. We saw almost the number of competitors exceed 750 companies, and the quality and competition just keeps rising!
We are proud of our 2015 cohort of contestants, regional winners, as well as our 2015 National Winner, PickMySolar who competed and won in the National Launch Finals in December, 2015.
Congratulations to everyone on a spectacular year – the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit in Techweek has never been higher, and we are proud to be able to support young businesses like these.
Max Aram and Chris Blevins win the LAUNCH competition with PickMySolar on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. They went on to win the LAUNCH Nationals in Miami in December – congratulations!
Please enjoy an interview with our New York LAUNCH winner, FindMine.
FindMine wins LAUNCH Techweek New York, 2015
Apollo Medical Devices wins Techweek LAUNCH Chicago 2015
Kansas City, 2015: Techweek and LaunchKC announce the winners of the $500,000 LAUNCH prize money
Slope wins LAUNCH Techweek Detroit 2015
Launch will expand to brand new cities in 2016; check back for announcements here to find out if LAUNCH is coming to your city!
What is LAUNCH?
LAUNCH is Techweek’s startup competition for pre-series A companies.
- Companies from around the world demo and pitch to judges, attendees and investors who evaluate their ideas and business models
- From among all entrants, a small number are chosen to reach the LAUNCH city finals
- One company is selected per city as the LAUNCH Regional Champion
- The champion is eligible to win potential investment and prizes as well as is entered into the National competition to be crowned the LAUNCH National Champion!
LAUNCH supports our mission to spread and support innovation ecosystems by driving BUSINESS FORMATION
- Showcases breakthrough technology companies
- Brings together the companies that offer professional services and advice for entrepreneurial companies
- Connects startups with investors and professional services companies to stimulate
- Find and celebrates the best new startups in the ecosystem
Meet Team LAUNCH
Team LAUNCH is excited for 2016’s competition suite. 2015 was a landmark year for us, with hundreds of quality startups embracing the Techweek opportunity and delivering their best pitches to investors, judges and the Techweek community.
This year we are excited to take LAUNCH to the next level, to build on our success with the on-the-ground physical competition, and to take LAUNCH into the digital domain. We will be excited to share more of our news with you in the coming weeks – stay tuned!
Contact Tyler to learn how you can become a partner.
2016 tickets will be on sale March 22nd
Apply for the LAUNCH competition
We are not yet receiving entries for LAUNCH – applications will be accepted April 1st, 2016
Exposure: Meet investors, 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
Prizes: The National Champion is eligible for a cash investment of $50k+ in exchange for 1.0%. Regional winners may also receive up to $50k+ in cash and prizes. All competitors typically take home in-kind prizes, including free tickets to the remainder of Techweek events..
Mentorship: All competitors will receive feedback from judges. LAUNCH champions can also receive mentorship from members of that region’s Techweek Executive Advisory Board.
What is involved for competitors?
Note the 2015 rules below to set expectations – we expect some changes from
Before: Apply to participate using our application form (check back for the link). Upon acceptance, you should ready your display booth and prepare a Powerpoint presentation that you can deliver in 6 minutes.
Main competition event: Pitch to Techweek attendees, investors and incognito judges at a high top table. Receive feedback from your judges after the event.
Finals: Upon advancing to the finals, pitch to judges and attendees in the semi-finals and maybe even to our world-class panelists in the finals! We’ll even record your pitch and make it available online to help tell your story to the world.
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
How are Champions selected?
While our methodology is being revamped for 2016, companies are evaluated by a variety of judges who have deep experience in venture capital, angel investing, entrepreneurship, banking, business or academia.
In 2015, our methodology was as follows:
- First round: judges will anonymously circulate the expo and evaluate their assigned startups across 9 dimensions (listed below).
- Techweek assigns judges to companies to ensure no conflict of interests exists and only assigned judges are permitted to evaluate any company.
- Semi-finals: companies will be assigned a time to deliver a 6 minute pitch on-stage to a panel of judges and answer 5 minutes of Q&A. The judges will select the top 4 companies based on the same criteria as in the first round and a popular vote will determine the 5th finalist.
- Final round: finalists will make a 6 minute pitch to a new panel of judges and answer 5 minutes of Q&A. The panel will then evaluate the companies and select winner based on which company has the i) highest potential and ii) greatest likelihood of success.
The criteria for evaluating startups in the expo and semi-finals are:
- Target market
- Problem or need
- Team, board, advisors
- Market traction
- Competitive advantage
- Revenue model
- Strategy: Key expenses/ time efforts
- Overall presentation / Q&A
Submit your name as an eligible judge for LAUNCH in your city
Network: Meet investors, startup talent, and potential customers among the thousands of attendees at the Techweek Launch Championship
Mentorship: Help push founders’ thinking about their business in a low-risk environment and maybe even wind up becoming a mentor to the next billion dollar tech startup
Personal brand: Build your personal brand and followership amongst a group of talented tech professionals from your region and from all over the country
Techweek: Receive a free ticket to the remainder of Techweek festivities for serving as a judge
Have Fun: Over 90% of our judges agree that Techweek is a great time and over 80% of judges are happy to have invested the time to serve as a judge and attend Techweek!
What is involved in judging LAUNCH?
Before: Please register here and watch out for logistics emails. We will also ask you to disclose any conflicts of interests that you may have with the companies that we assign you to evaluate so that we can adjust and ensure an equitable judging process for our startups
1st Round Judges: ~3 hours on the Thursday of Techweek to speak with, evaluate and provide feedback to startups
Semi-Finals Judges: ~2 hours on the Friday of Techweek to serve on a panel and ask questions of startups
Who can serve as a judge?
We seek experienced investors, entrepreneurs, business professionals and professors to serve as judges.
Enter your name to be considered as a LAUNCH judge!
Some recent LAUNCH judges
Discover ways to partner with LAUNCH in your city
Who should partner with SUMMIT?
- Companies looking to attract extraordinary and entrepreneurial talent
- Services and product companies targeting early and growth stage companies, e.g.:
- financial services companies
- law firms
- co-working spaces
- marketing agencies
- accounting firms
- cloud service companies
- Brands looking to make a powerful statement about their support of local innovation ecosystem, such as locally-based technology brands
What solutions does LAUNCH offer our partners?
- Be seen as supporting local innovation
- Generate leads from early growth-stage companies
- Brand Exposure with one of the most visible and press-covered Techweek activations
- Talent acquisition from entrepreneurs and early stage companies
Companies looking for a powerful brand amplification and association and visible support of entrepreneurial passion and innovation are excellent partners for LAUNCH. Many of iconic international brands have found LAUNCH to be a powerful story-telling platform over the past 5 years