Startup Competitions: The Benefits Beyond the Prize

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

By SummitSync


When you launch a startup company, it can be nerve-racking. You’ll need to confront plenty of battles and difficulties that larger, more settled organizations never need to stress over. You’ll suffer from restricted assets, a nonexistent notoriety, worries over cash flow, and much more.

When you look at it this way, it’s clear that finding success as a startup goes far beyond just having the right product. With the proper exposure and access to resources, startups, especially in the tech space, have achieved an almost infinite amount of success.

One such way startups seek to overcome these obstacles is to compete in startup competitions, like Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt.

Startup Battlefield takes place over three days and features 19 early stage startups selected to present their product in front of judges, VC’s, and a large audience both live and online. After several rounds of pitching, the winner of Startup Battlefield receives the notorious Disrupt Cup and a check for $50,000.

While $50,000 and the prestige of winning the startup competition may be great, they are far from the only benefits from entering in a pitch competition like Startup Battlefield. If you’re looking to attend TechCrunch Disrupt or another startup event this year, take a look at the other benefits of startup competitions beyond the big check.

1. Fierce Competition

The startup tech space is brutally competitive and extremely crowded. This creates an environment where numerous companies are often working on similar products. This means competitions can serve as a yardstick for companies to gauge how well they stack up, and that who a VC chooses to invest in, may just come down to who had the best presentation. Pitch competitions are a great way to understand the competitive landscape around your startup.

2. Exposure to VC’s

Disrupt is famous for being attended by the industries top VC firms and some of Silicon Valley’s most well-known figures. This year’s TechCrunch Disrupt NYC judges included Anu Duggai (Female Founders Fund), Paul Judge (Luma), Matt Turck (FirstMark Capital), and Yossi Vardi (4YFN), but you can be certain there are numerous other investors in the audience and countless others following online. Be sure to connect with some before the big pitch competition to ensure they’re sitting in the audience when you present.

3. Media Attention

Startup Battlefield has almost certainly solidified itself as the nation’s premier startup competition. It takes place four times a year in various cities and has even been featured on HBO’s hit series, Silicon Valley. With that kind of notoriety comes a lot of press coverage and the opportunity to leave an impression on an audience far larger than you’d be able to reach with the typical (non-existent) marketing budget of a tech startup.

There are tons of reporters at these events and they aren’t looking to regurgitate the same winner story across their publications. Understand the media landscape before the event so you can reach out to schedule meetings with key journalists or other figures you might be able to advance your startup.

Going Beyond the Pitch

Most folks typically feel that when it comes to competition, you need to win in order to be successful. But, as you can see with TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield, that is not always the case.

There have been 25 winners including Mint and UberConference at Startup Battlefield since its inception, but more participants have gone on to find huge success off the battlefield. Battlefield alumni have raised over $6.9 billion in capital, while 95 companies have either been acquired or gone public. So, while you may not have been number one to the judges, that does not mean you didn’t have a successful competition.

Startup competitions can be a great way for companies to identify competition, meet with VCs, and gain media exposure they couldn’t hope to elsewhere. Whether it’s TechCrunch Disrupt’s Startup Battlefield or CannesLion’s Startup Program in June, we recommend every startup at least apply to a few of these programs.

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