A frenzy of land sharks ready to bite on startups’ best ideas is gathering at The American restaurant during Techweek to award up to $80,000 in cash and $500,000 in Amazon AWS Activate credits.
The one-of-a-kind Pure Pitch Rally event — set for 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct 10 — plays off the hit TV show “Shark Tank” and Kansas City’s landlocked location, inviting startups to face a pre-selected panel of executives called “land sharks” who will judge pitches.
Each shark will directly fund and donate $1,000 to the startup pitcher of his/her choice, while attendees will vote to award an additional $5,000 funding prize to the People’s Choice winner.
A potential game-changer for participating startups, the event — now in its third year — requires corporate, investor and sponsor support, as well as meaningful ideas from the entrepreneur community’s most creative minds, said Karen Fenaroli, founder of Pure Pitch Rally and CEO and founder of Fenaroli & Associates.
“With every Pitch Rally we hold, we are truly creating the future of Kansas City and establishing an expectation that successful business professionals in our great city are willing and excited about supporting upcoming talent,” she said.
Applications from startups hoping to pitch will be accepted through Sept. 14 at www.ctechsummit.org, Fenaroli said.
More than 200 CEOs, VIPs and angel investors are expected to collaborate and network at the event, but the success of the Pure Pitch Rally boils down to the quality of the ideas brought forth by early-stage entrepreneurs, said Greg Kratofil, a tech attorney at Polsinelli and one of the event’s land sharks.
“I was blown away by the caliber of the startups that presented last year. It is an energizing experience to see those companies that will help shape Kansas City’s future,” he said. “I strongly encourage startups who fit the criteria to apply for this incredible opportunity.”
In addition to Fenaroli & Associates and Polsinelli, presenting sponsors for the event include BKD and Circle Sideways. The Pure Pitch Rally has room for more sponsor companies, as well as land sharks, organizers said.
“Corporate executives stepping up to be land sharks are critical as the voice of the customer for many of our B2B startups,” said Lesa Mitchell, Pure Pitch Rally board advisor and managing director of Techstars Kansas City. “Their value as participants in the startup community is of greater value than the investors themselves.”