A hand-picked overview of the 30 best startup pitch competitions of 2019


Wondering what are the best pitch contests for you to showcase your ideas in 2019? Check out our hand-picked roundup and start applying!

Pitching competitions are to startup entrepreneurs what skydiving is to most people: a bucket-list item that’s both exciting and terrifying. To take the skydiving analogy further, joining a Startup Pitch Competition may be the only way for your business to land where it’s supposed to.

During such an event you get to pitch to multiple investors, gain some valuable exposure and get some equally valuable feedback. You will network, you will potentially build partnerships but, most importantly, you will get a chance to secure funding and accelerate your business. All you need to do is jump from the airplane… but which one?

To take the guesswork out of the process, we’ve compiled below a list of the best Startup Pitch Competitions you can attend this year. Do your research to decide which one (or ones) are the best fit for you and your startup idea/business. Check the qualifications for entry and prepare your best pitch deck yet — make sure to steer clear of too much text or super busy visuals/animations.

And when it’s time to stand in front of the judges, contrary to skydiving, remember that you should open your “parachute” right away. Usually you’ll have only a few minutes to wow your audience, so don’t wait: Cut straight to the chase, using language that’s simple but captivating. Show them you are your brand’s biggest fan… and they will probably become its fans too. See you on the stage!

Code Launch 2019

code launch

Why you should go:

Do you have the next great software or app idea, but just need a little help (read: software development) reaching MVP stage?

Texan software development company Code Authority, founded CodeLaunch in 2012 to accelerate the best startups by providing them with seed services vendors — from allocated product development teams to coaching by industry professionals.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Frisco, Texas, USA
  • Date: You can apply for CodeLaunch VII between March 1st and May 31st. The CodeLaunch Startup Expo usually takes place in August, where the five finalists will pitch their idea in front of a panel of judges and investors.
  • Cost: Free — you don’t have to worry about surrendering equity either.
  • Industry focus: Software technology.
  • Amount you can win: More than $67K worth of seed services.

Official Website

Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2019

postcode startup pitch competition

Why you should go:

Your innovative business plan can help change the world for the better by combating climate change and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions… but you will probably need some help as well, in order to actualize it.

Founded in 2007 and inspired by Bill Clinton, the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is probably the best place for sustainable entrepreneurs to get financial backup.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Date: You can apply between March 1st and May 1st. The finals are usually held in September.
  • Cost: Free. Finalists will also be reimbursed (to an extent) for travel and lodging expenses to attend the finals in Amsterdam.
  • Industry focus: Sustainable entrepreneurship.
  • Amount you can win: €500,000 (also €200,000 for the runner-up and €100,000 each for three other finalists).

Official Website

MIT $100K 2019

Why you should go:

If you are an MIT student, or currently working with one on the next disruptive idea, the three-fold MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition (Pitch, Accelerate and Launch) will give you a chance not just to prove yourself in front of a prestigious crowd, but also to mingle and gain access to a veritable powerhouse’s network and resources.

At the competition’s first part, MIT $100K Pitch, you can give a 90-second pitch of your startup idea in front of a panel of judges and a big, live audience.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  • Date: TBD, as the Pitch stage takes place in October. If you are interested in the Accelerate stage, you can apply until January 13. Accelerate 2019 will be held on February 12.
  • Cost: Free, but only open to currently registered MIT students (or those working with them).
  • Industry focus: Technology oriented, but the spectrum is broad.
  • Amount you can win: $5,000 at the PITCH stage, $10,000 at the Accelerate stage and $100,000 at the final Launch stage.

Official Website

SevenVentures Pitch Day 2019

Why you should go:

Because your brand deserves primetime TV exposure — and the help of leading TV media investor worldwide, SevenVentures. Their signature event, 7VPD (SevenVentures Pitch Day) has been touted “one of the major start-up competitions worldwide” by Forbes magazine.

If you apply and get selected as one of the four finalists, you’ll have the opportunity to win three million euros towards TV advertising, online marketing and mentoring from companies such as Procter & Gamble.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: TBD. Previous 7VPD events have taken place in Germany, the UK and the US.
  • Date: TBD (usually sometime between May-September).
  • Cost: Free to apply.
  • Industry focus: B2C industries.
  • Amount you can win: €3,000,000 in TV media package (specific offerings change every year).

Official Website

Startup World Cup 2019

startup world cup startup pitch competition

Why you should go:

The cream of the crop of the startup world will be there. The Startup World Cup (SWC), powered by Fenox Venture Capital, comprises 40+ regional events which culminate to the Grand Finale event in Silicon Valley.

There, the finalists can compete for one million USD in investment and attendees can network with top industry players. The all-star cast of judges has in previous years included names such as Apple’s Steve Wozniak and Netflix’s Marc Randolph.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: San Francisco, California, USA
  • Date: May 17th.
  • Cost: Free to apply to one of the regional events (there are currently 18 planned for 2019), for a chance to participate in the Startup World Cup Grand Finale 2019 in May. Tickets to attend range from $80-$399.
  • Industry focus: Geared towards improving lives and transforming industries — such as with healthcare, artificial intelligence, robotics, transportation, financial technologies, IoT, augmented reality and agriculture.
  • Amount you can win: €1,000,000 in investment.

Official Website

Arch Grants 2019 GlobalStartup Competition

arch startup pitch competition

Why you should go:

Want to be part of a growing community of innovative entrepreneurs?

The mission of Arch Grants is to revitalize the St. Louis region through economic development and entrepreneurship.

You can apply for their annual grand, for a chance to win $50,000 as well as everything you need in order to relocate your business to the St. Louis region — from pro bono and discounted legal, accounting and banking services, to access to angel investment and educational programs.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
  • Date: You can apply for the 2019 Arch Grand from February 1 – April 15. The Finalist Pitch Day takes place in August.
  • Cost: Free — but you must be willing to relocate your business to St. Louis in order to be eligible for the grand.
  • Industry focus: Broad, but with a focus on supporting the economy of St. Louis.
  • Amount you can win: An equity-free cash grant of $50,000

Official Website

Collision 2019

Why you should go:

Despite the change of venue this year (bringing its 25,000 attendees to Toronto after three years in New Orleans), Collision still remains the fastest growing tech conference in the US.

Attend various startup workshops, get in-person advice from investors and join the ultimate startup battle at PITCH, the contest section of the conference where you can compete for three days with the top 70 startups, in order to be crowned winner.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Toronto, Canada
  • Date: May 20-23
  • Cost: 695 CAD (Canadian Dollars) to become a part of ALPHA, which gets you three tickets, opportunity to access Office Hours, Mentor Hours, Startup University, startup workshops and PITCH.
  • Industry focus: Broad.
  • Amount you can win: There is no money — but there is a ton of exposure, and a PITCH trophy.

Official Website

European Social Innovation Competition 2019

Why you should go:

If you’re an EU citizen and believe your project/business idea can impact society, then this competition was made for you.

Run across all European countries by the European Commission, the European Social Innovation Competition focuses on innovative projects, products and services with a social aspect. Now in its seventh year, the challenge prize (launched in memory of Diogo Vasconcelos) aims to empower young people.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Brussels, Belgium.
  • Date: TBD (usually takes place in November).
  • Cost: Free
  • Industry focus: Broad. The theme changes every year, but the focus is on ideas which “come up with solutions to the problems affecting our society”.
  • Amount you can win: €50,000

Official Website

U.Pitch 2019

Why you should go:

An elevator pitch competition (you’ll only get 90 seconds) geared towards college students, to attend U. Pitch you must be currently enrolled or have graduated with the past six months. Future Founders, who believe that every youth can become an entrepreneur, bring together students from different universities to showcase their ideas in front of the entrepreneurial community.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA.
  • Date: TBD. Applications for this year’s U.Pitch 2019 will open in the autumn
  • Cost: Free
  • Industry focus: Broad
  • Amount you can win: $10,000

Official Website

Global Startup Competition 2019

global startup competition

Why you should go:

You’ll literally get to battle inside a boxing ring, albeit just with your words and convincing arguments. This event, organized by the Netherlands´ Foundation ‘Get in the Ring’ is not called “the world’s coolest startup pitching competition” for nothing.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: TBD. Last year was held in Cascais, Portugal.
  • Date: The 3-day final will be held in June 2019, but there will be several regional events until May — or you can apply online from April 1-30.
  • Cost: Free
  • Industry focus: Broad
  • Amount you can win: A 1-year business development support with expenses covered; an investment offer up to €500,000.

Official Website

Global Pitch 2019

global pitch startup pitch competition

Why you should go:

Because you don’t really have to go anywhere — how about pitching to a global competition from your living room? Powered by Austrian startup Deal Matrix, Global Pitch is considered the largest online pitch competition in the world, bringing your idea in front of investors, accelerators and media with just a few clicks.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Online, as you may have guessed.
  • Date: You can apply until November 11. Final pitching takes place December 12.
  • Cost: Free
  • Industry focus: There are five categories, ranging from sustainability-related to economy, healthcare, information and e-Government.
  • Amount you can win: TBD. Previous prizes include tickets to conferences, startup packages to into German-speaking/CEE market and mentorship.

Official Website

Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge 2019

Why you should go:

Created in 2013 by two PhD students, the Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge helps propel emerging technologies across different industries, focusing on visibility and boosting local ecosystems. This pitch competition culminates into the annual Hello Tomorrow Global Summit in Paris.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Paris, France.
  • Date: March 13-15 (applications have closed for this year, re-opening in June-September for the next edition).
  • Cost: Free
  • Industry focus: Twelve different industries and technologies ranging from aeronautics to industrial biotech.
  • Amount you can win: A €100K grand prize for the best startup overall — plus an additional €15K prize for each winning startup at their respective industry track/li>

Official Website

BBVA Open Talent 2019

Why you should go:

Sometimes, if you have the next great idea on how to disrupt the banking system, the smartest thing you can do is work with a bank. But not just any bank. At the 11th edition of BBVA Open Talent, the world’s biggest fintech competition, the Spanish bank gives startups the opportunity to show their chops and connect with angel investors and corporate partners. Also, to win a €50,000 prize and be evaluated by BBVA itself.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Madrid, Spain.
  • Date: TBD, usually takes place in October
  • Cost: Free
  • Industry focus: Finance/fintech
  • Amount you can win: €50,000 for each of the three winners

Official Website

Disrupt SF 2019

disrupt sf startup pitch competition

Why you should go:

With previous winners including companies such as Dropbox, you know this is an event (and a pitch competition) not to miss. The Startup Battlefield at the Disrupt SF is always the place to be, for early-stage startups who dream of taking over the world and impressing the TechCrunch judges. Probably doesn’t get more Silicon Valley than that.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: San Francisco, California, USA.
  • Date: October 2-4.
  • Cost: TBD, but you can get a $500 discount by registering early
  • Industry focus: Ranging from Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and VR, to HealthTech and FinTech.
  • Amount you can win: A $100,000 prize.

Official Website

Web Summit PITCH 2019

Why you should go:

If you haven’t had a major change in your business model in the last three years and your overall funding still amounts to less than three million euros… well it’s time to change all that. Prepare to battle live with the world’s leading early-stage startups in front of more than 2,500 global journalists — and the CEOs and founders of some of the biggest companies in the world.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Date: November 4-7.
  • Cost: €850, but by pre-registering you can get one extra ticket for free
  • Industry focus: Technology
  • Amount you can win: There is no monetary prize, but ask every previous winner and they will tell you the exposure is priceless.

Official Website

Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards 2019

Why you should go:

Cultivating equality and diversity in the startup ecosystem by supporting female entrepreneurs on their way to solving contemporary global challenges? That’s always a good idea. And that’s exactly what the annual international business competition, founded by Cartier, McKinsey & Company and INSEAD Business School, has been doing since 2006.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Singapore, Singapore.
  • Date: TBD. The application period for 2019 has already closed, but you can apply for the 2020 edition in June.
  • Cost: Free
  • Industry focus: Broad. Categories include anything from consumer goods, education & culture, hospitality & tourism to agriculture and science.
  • Amount you can win: The first seven winners (laureates) will get a $100,000 prize, along with a one-on-one business mentoring. The remaining 14 finalists will also get a $30,000.

Official Website

EIT Digital Challenge 2019

Why you should go:

With so many startup competitions geared towards early-stage startups, it’s good to know you’re not alone in your attempt to accelerate the growth of your scaleup. The EIT Digital Challenge is open to all 28 EU member states, for companies that showed a minimum of €300,000 in revenue until the date of application. The winners get a year’s worth in the EIT Digital Accelerator to scale up their business internationally, as well as a cash prize.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Brussels, Belgium.
  • Date: TBD, the final event usually takes place in October.
  • Cost: Free — and you will receive €1,000 towards travel expenses if you are selected as a finalist to attend the final event.
  • Industry focus: Digital Cities, Digital Industry, Digital Infrastructure, Digital Finance and Digital Wellbeing.
  • Amount you can win: 12 months in the EIT Digital Accelerator (worth €50,000) for the two best companies per category to scale up. The first prize winner in each category also wins a €50,000 prize.

Official Website

The Alconics Awards 2019

Why you should go:

If your focus is on AI, these iconic (pun intended) awards take place yearly in London and SF as part of the AI Summit roster of events. A great opportunity to position yourself and your startup among world-class experts.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: London, UK and San Francisco, California, USA.
  • Date: June 11 for the London event, September 24 for the SF event.
  • Cost: TBD.
  • Industry focus: AI.
  • Amount you can win: No monetary prize, but winning the award will bring top industry recognition.

Official Website

Hatch Pitch 2019 Summit

hatch pitch startup pitch competition

Why you should go:

Started as an official SXSW event, HATCH pitch has now grown into its own program — helmed by Smart Cities TechStreet Houston, a non-profit organization run by volunteers. If you get selected as a finalist, you’ll receive free pitch coaching before presenting at the HATCH Pitch event.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Austin, Texas, USA.
  • Date: TBD, you have until January 10 to apply for this year’s Hatch Pitch.
  • Cost: No fee to apply.
  • Industry focus: Broad.
  • Amount you can win: There is no monetary prize, but finalists get the chance to receive one-one feedback from mentors

Official Website

New York StartUP! 2019 Business Plan Competition

new york startup startup pitch competition

Why you should go:

If you and your startup are located in Manhattan, The Bronx or Staten Island, then this one’s for you. The New York Public Library is organizing, for the tenth year in a row, a New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition where you can win a cash prize as well as get insights on how to scale.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: NYC, New York, USA.
  • Date: You have until January 31 to submit an entry, and until May 30 to upload your business plan for review. In between, you have to attend four workshops.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Industry focus: Broad, as long as it’s NYC based.
  • Amount you can win: $15,000

Official Website

Seedstars World Competition 2019

seedstar startup pitch competition

Why you should go:

With a presence in more than 60 countries, Seedstars World supports and invests in emerging market startups at the seed-stage. Join a regional pitch competition for a chance to make your case at the finals in Switzerland, where you will have five minutes to pitch your idea in front of the audience, five minutes to answer judge’s questions, and perhaps one million dollars in equity investment afterwards.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Switzerland.
  • Date: TBD, there are many regional events taking place throughout the year in preparation for the Seedstars Summit
  • Cost: Free — the winners of regional events get a flight ticket to attend the finals in Switzerland.
  • Industry focus: Broad.
  • Amount you can win: Up to one million USD in equity investment, plus cash and in-kind prizes

Official Website

Slush 2019

slush startup pitch competition

Why you should go:

This is the cool kids table. Or tables, given that Slush events take place in Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore and Helsinki, where the festival/conference first started. Slush is all about community building and facilitating founder and investor meetings, run by successful entrepreneurs such as Nokia’s Risto Siilasmaa.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: There are four Slush events taking place throughout the year in Helsinki, Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore.
  • Date: February 22-23 (Tokyo), September 7-8 (Shanghai), September 14 (Singapore), December (Helsinki).
  • Cost: Free.
  • Industry focus: Tech.
  • Amount you can win: There is no monetary prize, but you can take advantage of the Slush community; get speed mentoring and resources

Official Website

South Summit Startup Competition 2019

Why you should go:

If you think your startup belongs among the world’s 100 most innovative, South Summit Startup competition gives you the chance and the tools to prove it. Taking place in Madrid and Mexico and wIth almost half of the projects having a Spanish origin, South Summit is a great place for all entrepreneurial voices to be heard.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Madrid, Spain and Mexico City, Mexico.
  • Date: TBD, usually taking place in October and December
  • Cost: Prices range from €80-€790, depending on types of ticket and areas of access.
  • Industry focus: Broad.
  • Amount you can win: $1,000,000 in funding at Silicon Valley. All 100 finalists get South Summit tickets and one-on-one meetings with investors.

Official Website

StartCon 2019

start con startup pitch competition

Why you should go:

If you feel like the Southern Hemisphere is a bit neglected when it comes to quality startup pitch competitions, “Pitch for $1 Million” is here to rebuke your belief.

The first of its kind in Asia Pacific, this pitch contest started last year as part of StartCon (formerly SydStart) taking place in Sydney. Powered by Right Click Capital, the winner of this competition can walk away with one million in investment.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Sydney, Australia.
  • Date: TBD, usually takes place in December
  • Cost: TBD.
  • Industry focus: Broad.
  • Amount you can win: $1,000,000 in investment

Official Website

Demo Day 2019

demo day startup pitch competition

Why you should go:

Demo Day is less of a startup competition and more of a culmination of a “slower” process. It starts with applying to Y Combinator for seed funding — they do two batches of mass funding per year, in return for small equity in the funded companies — and relocating to the Bay Area if you are selected. Demo Day takes place about 11 weeks after, so that you can present your startup to an invite-only audience and find later stage investors.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Mountain View, California, USA.
  • Date: March 18-20, with a second event taking place at the end of August
  • Cost: There is no cost, but the event is private and attendance is invitation-only. You just need to snag that invite!
  • Industry focus: Broad.
  • Amount you can win: No monetary prize in Demo Day, but to even be in the process means you’ve already gotten funding from Y Combinator.

Official Website

The Lovie Awards 2019

lovie awards startup pitch competition

Why you should go:

Want to skip the live pitching entirely? Enter your internet/digital media company to compete for a Lovie Award. The European sibling to Webby Awards, Lovie Awards were named after Ada Lovelace and aim to highlight and honor Europe’s top web creatives in categories such as online advertising, apps and websites.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: London, UK.
  • Date: TBD, usually taking place in December
  • Cost: TBD
  • Industry focus: Internet, Digital & Social Media.
  • Amount you can win: No monetary prize — but a ton of exposure.

Official Website

Next Founders 2019

Why you should go:

Another slower and more immersive option — this one geared to the Canada startup ecosystem. Next Founders accelerates your startup’s growth, as well as your personal growth as a founder, through mentoring and access to capital. If you get accepted, you become eligible for up to $30K in non-dilutive grant funding. You will also get your chance to present your startup during various events and attend many workshops before the big presentation on Venture Day.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Toronto, Ontario.
  • Date: TBD. There are events happening throughout the year, with Venture Day usually taking place in August
  • Cost: There is no cost to participate in the program
  • Industry focus: Broad, but your business has to be located in Southern Ontario.
  • Amount you can win: Up to $30K in non-dilutive grant funding.

Official Website

Utah Entrepreneur Challenge 2019

Why you should go:

This statewide business model competition, is an excellent opportunity for students at one of Utah’s universities to compete for a cash prize — and also get valuable feedback and coaching.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
  • Date: You have until February 14 to apply for this year’s challenge, final judging takes place March 30
  • Cost: Free — but you can only join if you are a university student in Utah
  • Industry focus: Broad
  • Amount you can win: $100,000 in cash and prizes.

Official Website

gener8tor Madison 2019

gener8tor startup pitch competition

Why you should go:

Most accelerators take on many companies at a time. That’s not the case with gener8tor however: if you are selected as one of their five handpicked startups for this year’s program, not only do you get $100K in funding, but also a concierge accelerator experience. The program culminates in Premiere Night, where you will have five minutes to pitch in front of investors.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
  • Date: You have until February 10 to apply, the program starts March 28 – June 13, culminating in Premiere Night
  • Cost: Free — but invite only
  • Industry focus: E-commerce, IT, hardware, life science, medtech, software, SaaS, web
  • Amount you can win: $100,000 in investment ($20,000 in cash and $80,000 guaranteed follow-on capital) plus access to gener8tor staff and one million dollars’ worth of deals and perks from vendors such as Microsoft, Amazon and PayPal.

Official Website

SparkHealth Startup Competition 2019

spark health startup pitch competition

Why you should go:

Backed by Enventure, SparkHealth aims to showcase seed stage companies in the digital health and medical device industries by offering exposure and helping them network with investors. If you are a student, the industry scope you can compete in is broader, including therapeutics and diagnostics. Although Texas-based, you can still apply if you’re company is located outside of Texas.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Houston, Texas, USA.
  • Date: You have until February 1 to apply, the competition takes place May 17-18.
  • Cost: Free to apply — tickets to join the event range from $100-$300 (but are free for students).
  • Industry focus: Biotechnology, medical devices and equipment
  • Amount you can win: No cash prize, but funding opportunities.

Official Website

How to amp your pitch game in 2019

Now you know which startup pitch competitions are worth your time. But how do you make sure you put your best pitch forward when the clock is ticking and potential investors only have a few minutes (at best) to be wowed? Having the right help makes all the difference. A startup mentor can help you make the most out of your pitches — and increase your chances of succeeding.

So how do you find that perfect sounding board who will make sure you won’t second-guess yourself on stage? Someone who will lend their expertise to you and help you save valuable time and money? That’s where we come in: At Growthmentor.io, we can help you find your right mentor with just a few clicks. Browse through our mentor inventory to find someone who can understand your journey so far; someone who specializes in your industry, can help with specific software issues — and talks in your language!

You don’t have to worry about being on a startup (read: tight) budget, either. At Growthmentor.io you decide how much you pay… some of our mentors are even willing to mentor you for free.

2019 is going to be your year!