MAGNET's second annual ProtoTech Pitch competition aimed at product-focused startups

On Thursday, Oct. 29th, area entrepreneurs will present their product-focused technology startups at the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET)’s second ProtoTech Pitch event. Six companies will have about 12 minutes each to pitch their product and take questions from a panel of judges in hopes of winning cash prizes and free business services.

"There's going to be a wide breadth of companies,” says Dave Crain, executive director of entrepreneurial services at MAGNET. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

About 15 applicants will be chosen. From that pool, six finalists will then be chosen to present their pitches. The first place winner will receive $12,000, the runner-up will win $7,500 and the audience favorite will get $1,000.

The winners will also receive free entrepreneurial business services from MAGNET and other sponsors. MAGNET will provide a voucher for $5,000 in business services; Apple Growth Partners has offered $5,000 worth of start-up consulting to the top three finalists; and Dyan Sutton, owner of Creative Ideas Matter, is donating brand analysis and development services valued at $2,000 to the winner and one-hour consultations to the second place and audience favorite.

The event will also include a display section where startups will showcase product prototypes and talk to audience members before they give their presentations.
Chris Wentz, founder and CEO of Everykey, a company that makes wristbands that replaces keys and passwords, won last year’s ProtoTech Pitch. He will speak about his experiences at this year’s event. Everykey has gone on to raise more than $1 million in funding and also ran a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Winning last year’s ProtoTech pitch competition was a real turning point for Everykey. “Not only did the money help us immensely, but we also received a huge surge of press opportunities to get Everykey out in front of the masses," says Wentz. "The timing was impeccable because just a week later, we launched our Kickstarter campaign that raised $117,000.  The exposure we received from ProtoTech almost certainly drove to a large portion of that.”
ProtoTech Pitch will be held at the Ariel International Center on Oct. 29th from 4:00-6:30 p.m. Entrepreneurs have until Friday, Oct. 16 to submit their applications to pitch. Tickets to the event are $50 and include dinner.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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