Startups battle in pitch competition at VERGE Accelerate

Nine young companies building disruptive products in digital transportation, smart energy systems and collaborative consumption were put to the test as part of this week's VERGE Accelerate’s pitch competition. The CEOs went head-to-head in a crowd-sourced pitch battle, where only one could walk away the winner.

The competition was fast and furious, with pitches required to follow strict parameters: Three minutes to answer three questions:

  • Why does your company exist?
  • What market opportunity are you tackling?
  • How does your product disrupt this market?

A shorter pitch might seem easier, but distilling your company’s message into a tight story and delivering it with energy and speed can be much tougher than a 20-minute walk-through of a PowerPoint deck in an investor’s boardroom.

Using only a short visual slide deck, these CEOs had to sell their technology and approach as the most groundbreaking and capable of changing the world. But rather than win over a few investors or expert judges, they had to win the hearts of the InterContinental Ballroom audience.

Each of the startups that battled had one thing in common: they are "digital cleantech" companies. At Greenstart, we describe digital cleantech as a product or service that “uses software to either reduce dirty energy or expand clean energy.” This wide intersection where information technology meets clean technology has created abundant opportunities to change how buildings, transportation, the grid, and everyday consumer products work and use energy.

Meet the competition … and the winner.