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!

Startup World Cup 2023

Why you should go:

The cream of the crop of the startup world will be there. The Startup World Cup (SWC), powered by Pegasus Tech Ventures, comprises 60+ 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: November 29-December 1, 2023
  • Cost: Tickets to attend have not been announced yet, but there are multiple events organized that anyone can attend, each with different cost
  • 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

Collision 2023

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: June 26-29, 2023
  • Cost: They are releasing a limited number of discounted tickets for Collision 2023 in Toronto, you can save 50% by registering for their flash sale
  • Industry focus: Broad
  • Amount you can win: There is no money — but there is a ton of exposure, and a PITCH trophy

Official Website

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TechCrunch Disrupt 2023

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: September 19-21, 2023
  • 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 2023

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 13-16, 2023
  • 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

Slush 2023

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: Helsinki
  • Date: November 30 – December 1, 2023
  • 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

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
  • Date: June 7-9
  • 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

Demo Day 2023

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: Virtual
  • Date: April 6-7, 2023
  • 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

Next Founders 2023

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: Applications for the next cohort are open till December 2nd, 2022. The upcoming cohort will run from March – September 2023
  • 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

CEMEX Ventures

Why you should go:

It brings together the biggest players from across the entire construction value chain with a global presence, making it the perfect opportunity for startups to showcase their solution with leaders that can help them expand their solution to new markets, develop their projects even further, introduce them to their client network, and engage in potential strategic investment.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location:  Virtual
  • Date: TBD
  • Cost: There is no cost to participate in the program
  • Industry focus: Carbon footprint mitigation, advanced building materials, supply chain management, efficient jobsite & built environment, and new construction methods
  • Amount you can win: No cash prize is awarded for winning the competition. Winners can receive investment from any of the 7 participating companies (CEMEX Ventures, Dysruptek (Haskell), GS Futures, Ferrovial, Hilti, VINCI Group´s Leonard, and NOVA by Saint-Gobain)

Official Website

Want help with your pitch?

Get advice from vetted startup mentors
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Utah Entrepreneur Challenge 2022-2023

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: The application period for the 2022-23 UEC is September 1, 2022 to January 17, 2023
  • Cost: Free — but you can only join if you are a university student in Utah
  • Industry focus: Broad
  • Amount you can win: $60,000 in prizes and awards to the top 20 finalists

Official Website

Jacob Startup Competition 2023

Why you should go:

JSC is one of the biggest startup competitions in Germany and brings together pre-seed startups from universities around the world with investors, speakers, mentors, their business partners, and more representatives from the German Startup scene. Each team can benefit through the one-to-one mentoring process and win up to 4,500€ in prizes.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Bremen, Germany
  • Date: Applications are open until December 4, 2022 and the final event will take place on 16th-18th of March 2023
  • Cost: Free. They cover parts of the travel cost and accommodation in Bremen of two of each team members at the final event. More members can attend without financial assistance
  • Industry focus: Broad
  • Amount you can win: Prizes of up to 3,000€

Official Website

SXSW EDU Launch Competition 2023

Why you should go:

The Launch Startup Competition makes a great impact on the future of teaching and learning. By attending you can seek feedback, investment, strategic partnerships, and exposure.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Austin, Texas
  • Date: March 6-9, 2023
  • Cost: Free for the participants of the competition, but you can get SXSW EDU Badge with includes primary access to all EDU Events for $545 if you register early
  • Industry focus: EdTech
  • Amount you can win: No cash prize is awarded for winning the competition. Finalists receive a number of benefits, such as the opportunity to win one out of several awards, participating in Startup Spotlight, a cocktail-style reception where teams can connect one-on-one with attendees, demo products and receive valuable, real-time feedback and many more

Official Website

WMF Startup Competition 2023

Why you should go:

With more than 4,300 startups applying, WMF Startup Competition is one of the largest international competitions for innovative projects in Southern Europe with Attendees and International Delegations from 49 Countries.

Companies have a chance to present their reality to an audience of major players in the digital sector, investors, entrepreneurs, and experts in the innovation, an audience who may actually decide to support the growth of a great business idea.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Rimini EXPO Centre, Italy
  • Date: June 15-17, 2023
  • Cost: TBD
  • Industry focus: Broad, but the requires innovative projects or ideas regarding the digital/technological sector
  • Amount you can win: There isn’t a specific cash prize but the total value of prizes to date has been more than 3,300,000€

Official Website

AWE USA Startup Competition 2023

Why you should go:

AWE USA Startup Pitch Competition is part of AWE USA Event, which includes more than 5,000 attendees and 400 speakers. Since 2010 over 5,000 companies and 60,000 professionals have trusted AWE to connect, learn and grow their business in the XR ecosystem.

By joining the Competition or attending the Event you get the chance to present your company in such a large audience and be a part of a community that includes end-users and solution providers, investors and startups, brands and creators and developers, job seekers and recruiters.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Santa Clara, California
  • Date: June 1, 2023
  • Cost: Prices range from $695-$2499, depending on types of ticket and areas of access. For finalists attending the final event is free
  • Industry focus: Broad
  • Amount you can win: No cash prize is awarded for winning the competition. The winning startup takes home a grand prize and is honored on the main stage at AWE USA 2023 with the winning title of “Start-up to Watch”

Official Website

Inventures Startup Pitch Event

Why you should go:

Inventures Startup Pitch finalists will have the opportunity to pitch your product or service to the program’s audience of venture capitalists, angel investors, entrepreneurs, early adopters, business educators and service providers.

Morerover, anyone attending will be able to network one-on-one with the audience members. There is free registration to all Inventures programming, access to professional coaching and on-site mentoring opportunities, and a chance to win $10,000 in funding.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Date: May 31 – June 2, 2023
  • Cost: There is no fee to apply when attending the program. Tickets for visitors are $899
  • Industry focus: They have to include one of those categories: the metaverse, Future of Work, AG/Food Tech, Health Innovation, Clean Tech, Computing Infinity
  • Amount you can win: $10,000 in funding

Official Website

The Startup Battle 2023 by Collision

Why you should go:

With more than 35,000 attendees, the Startup Battle is for sure one of the biggest pitch competitions in Canada. It also includes more than 1,200 journalists and 793 investors from 130 countries.

By joining the event, everyone has networking oportunities with people who are capable of driving a business forward and get their brand in front of the most prestigious names in international media.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Enercare Centre, Toronto
  • Date: June 26 – 29, 2023
  • Cost: TBD, but you can get 50% off by pre-registering
  • Industry focus: Any ALPHA and BETA startup
  • Amount you can win: No cash prize is awarded for winning the competition

Official Website

Elevator Pitch Competition 2023

Why you should go:

EPiC 2023 is a unique, worldwide competition for global startups to expand their footprints into Asia, giving both global and local mid-late stage startups a chance to expand farther, accelerate faster, and make a mark in Hong Kong and beyond.

Join EPiC 2023 to get challenged and see how far you can reach!

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Sky100, Hong Kong
  • Date: April 28, 2023
  • Cost: There is no fee to apply when attending the program, they also offer sponsored air and accommodation to Hong Kong
  • Industry focus: FinTech and PropTech
  • Amount you can win: Up to $5,000,000.00 and cash prizes worth a total of $210,000.00

Official Website

Green Alley Award

Why you should go:

With 1,377 applications from more than 30 countries till today, Green Alley Award purpose is to help realise ideas that make the most efficient use of resources and reduce waste drastically – from products to services and technologies.

KEY INFORMATION

  • Location: Berlin, Germany
  • Date: April 2023
  • Cost: There is no fee to apply when attending the program
  • Industry focus: Cirular Economy
  • Amount you can win: 25,000€

Official Website

Want help with your pitch?

Get advice from vetted startup mentors
Learn more

How to amp your pitch game in 2023

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. Here’s an article we recently wrote to help you with your startup pitch.

But if you need more 1:1 help, a startup funding 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, 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 you decide how much you pay… some of our mentors are even willing to mentor you for free.

2023 is going to be your year!