Today’s technology entrepreneurs are always on the search for investor backing, and the rapidly expanding Switch-Pitch event is a concept everybody looking for funding loves. Switch-Pitch is mobile event that is showing up in cities across the globe, gathering technology entrepreneurs, investors and established company executives in one room. However, instead of the entrepreneurs giving the spiel, it is the executives who are giving the pitch as they look for outside help from budding entrepreneurs.
The most recent Switch-Pitch even was held in Los Angeles on the UCLA campus. According to Los Angeles Times reporter, Andrea Chang, the event pulled in nearly 150 tech start-up entrepreneurs who listened to presentations from such companies as Sony Pictures and Hewlett Packard. “It’s a tech event where start-ups gather to hear proposals from established companies,” said Chang.
In addition, Chang explained the Switch-Pitch event is unique because it allows established brands that are pre-funded, to find the right start-ups to complete various projects. These projects range from major credit monitoring firms looking for a rental application to huge airplane manufacturing companies looking for a partner to build a video game that could teach the science surrounding airplane construction. All of the participant’s, whether a senior executive for large company or a start-up entrepreneur looking for funding, loves the idea behind SwitchPitch.
Launched in 2012, Switch-Pitch holds ten events a year for cities that have a strong technology hub, including New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Chicago and London. “There is a disconnect between start-ups and large companies who need the innovation,” said Switch-Pitch founder, Michael Goldstein.
Today’s technology brands recognize they may not have the skills internally, and need to look outside the company pool for help. That is a big change from the years when start-ups had to go hat-in-hand looking for funding from venture capitalists. To date, Switch-Pitch has been responsible for more than $1 million in successful funding, becoming expert at bridging money and brains. Goldstein explained that Switch-Pitch has been so successful that the company will be scheduling monthly meetings beginning next year.
The format for the meetings is as streamlined as it is effective. In the early part of the day, companies make presentations about what they are doing and how they need help completing the project. Following this, there is a quick, less than 10 minute “SpeedSwitch,” where executives and entrepreneurs get a chance to chat. This provides an opportunity for a more intimate place to exchange cards, websites and other relevant information, making the time a valuable reference tool for future needs.
Following the meet-and-greet, entrepreneurs have two or three weeks to bid on a project that was presented. If they are successful in their bidding process, the start-ups have the chance to add a blue chip firm on their list of clients. “There is a lot of value in getting big companies as clients on a startup website,” said Goldstein.
According to Chan, not all of the attending entrepreneurs will be successful. According to Goldsetin, less than one-quarter of the start-up companies received a project during an event in the nation’s capital. However, during the meeting he hosted in New York City, nearly half of the start-ups wound up receiving contracts. The whole objective behind the concept, explained Goldstein is to shift the weight in favor of the small guy. By making the large company executives present their needs to start-ups, the entrepreneurs are more relaxed than they would be during formal funding meetings, and they can concentrate on being themselves.
Regardless of whether you are a young start-up genius looking for a home or funding, or a seasoned executive occupying the C-Suite, there is a lot of reasons for both technology entrepreneurs and executives to love the SwitchPitch model.
By Vincent Aviani