ProtoTech event focuses on product startups and investors

When the Incubator at MAGNET launched ProtoTech last year, the event was a pitch competition for product-based start-ups competing for $25,000 in prize money. This year, organizers have shifted focus a bit with ProtoTech: INVEST – a networking and pitch event that is all about investment in growing companies.
“Last year it was a pitch event for really early stage companies,” says Dave Crain, the Incubator at MAGNET's executive director. “This year we’re more about connections and networking than it is of a contest. It’s for presenters who are looking for $500,000 to $2 million in investments.”

There will be pitches, but in a less formal setting without voting or prize money at ProtoTech: INVEST. Fifteen to 20 technology based start-ups with a focus on products will showcase their companies to investors at the event. “It’s an opportunity to get the right people in the room to make connections, network and find funding,” says Crain, adding that ProtoTech: INVEST is the next step in pitch competitions.
“It’s just a part of the evolution, part of maturity,” Crain says. “There will always be pitch competitions, there always should be pitch competitions. We’re just building a pipeline. This is the next level of maturity as these companies grow up.”
Crain says the shift came in response to feedback from both sides involved in startup fundraising. “What I’m really hearing from both the star-ups and investors is while Ohio has made a lot of progress, no one is doing this locally – this is something successful ventures cities are doing.”
Some of the companies already registered are Cleveland Whiskey, Vadxx, Biolectrics and Everykey.
ProtoTech: INVEST will be held at the Metropolitan at the 9 on Thursday, June 4. Registration and pitches will be from 2pm to 5pm; dinner and networking at 5pm. Presenters can register here; investors can register here.

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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