InvestMidwest presents more than just an opportunity for startups to pitch to a crowd from outside Kansas City, said Kyle FitzGerald. The event — which spotlights high-growth companies seeking at least $1 million — fosters real investor connections, he added.
“It’s the region’s best chance to get in front of a high volume of very qualified investors,” said FitzGerald, CEO and co-founder of Life Equals, a Kansas City-based startup the previously pitched at InvestMidwest.
Young companies meet privately with venture capitalists, corporate investors, private investors, business, financial, and legal professionals during the annual gathering, set for March 19-20 at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center.
The 20th anniversary event is expected to feature about 40 companies from throughout the Midwest, with more than 300 attendees anticipated.
As of 2017, InvestMidwest has helped generate more than $1 billion of investments in 17 years, according to the nonprofit organization.
The deadline to apply is Jan. 4.
Click here to apply.
FitzGerald, whose company produces Balance, The Superfood Shot — emphasized the ease of InvestMidwest’s application process, as well as the well-run nature of the pitch days.
Companies applying should be on a fast-track, looking for a substantial investment to help push them to the next level, said Christine Walsh, executive director of InvestMidwest.
Startups must be located in the central U.S. corridor, seeking $1 million to $20 million.
“These people aren’t seeking organic growth; they’re looking for substantial investment to support a rapid and much more muscular growth,” she said.
The event focuses on three industry tracks: life science, infotech and agricultural/food/bioenergy. Each entrepreneur is allotted time for an eight-minute presentation in front of a crowd of prominent investors, Walsh said.
“Many of these companies have what we call friends and family money — they have perhaps some angel money, perhaps they have grants — but they’ve never gone out to find venture investments,” she continued. “So for most of these companies, this is their first introduction to it. We help them make connections in that market.”
InvestMidwest not only boosted Life Equals on the day of the event, said FitzGerald — it helped prepare the growing startup for future rounds of fundraising and dealing with higher-impact investors.
It’s not a contest, Walsh emphasized. The event is about putting startups in the same room with investors who can help take companies like Life Equals to the next level.
“The venture, private and corporate investment communities have found over the years that InvestMidwest consistently has some of the top Midwest startups for them to review in one location over a short period,” she said. “That makes doing business convenient for them.”