The Mill announced today that applications are open for the fifth annual Crossroads Pitch Competition, sponsored by Velocities. Entrepreneurs from across the state of Indiana will pitch their business ideas to a panel of expert judges to compete for $10,000 in cash, a package of in-kind services and support, and priority consideration to pitch for up to $80,000 more at the prestigious Elevate Nexus Pitch Competition.
“If you’ve never seen a pitch competition, they are incredibly exciting, energizing events,” said Andy Lehman, Head of Accelerator Programming for The Mill. “Entrepreneurs are passionate about their startups, and they really seize the opportunity to tell their story, talk through the numbers, and explain the business model. Crossroads competitors are building all kinds of innovative startups, from sports tech to medical devices to software and beyond.” The 2020 winner was Stagetime, a professional networking platform for the performing arts, founded by Indiana University graduate and opera singer Jennie Moser.
The Mill launched Crossroads Pitch Competition in 2017, as a regional competition under the name inX3, and since then it’s grown into a statewide event. The Mill works with partners across the state, Lehman said, to attract diverse competitors from all corners of Indiana. Early this year, The Mill also created a new collegiate version of the event. The Crossroads platform has been so successful, according to Lehman, that other cities and organizations now leverage it to run their own events. Project Activate SouthEast (PASE) Fort Wayne, a new program for entrepreneurs in that region, will debut later this year, powered by the Crossroads platform.
The 2021 Crossroads Pitch Competition is open to any Indiana-based startup with less than $250,000 in annual recurring revenue. A look through past competitors and judges is a who’s who of entrepreneurship in Indiana and the region. While there is only one winner, all competitors benefit from forming connections with potential investors, mentors, talent, and customers.
This year’s competition will have three stages. First, contestants will submit a 3-5 minute recorded pitch, along with their pitch deck and executive summary, by the application deadline of September 10. Next, judges will evaluate those recorded pitches and select semi-finalists to pitch live over Zoom. The finalists from that round will then advance to pitch live at The Mill on October 13 as part of The Mill’s Innovation Week slate of events.
“We learned from our all-virtual competition in 2020 that there are some real logistical advantages to holding the semifinal rounds via Zoom,” Lehman said, “so we’ll do that again this year. And, health mandates permitting, we’re really looking forward to seeing our finalists pitch before a live audience again.”
Last year’s winner, CEO Jennie Moser of Stagetime, said about her Crossroads experience, “I can’t overstate how positively Crossroads changed the trajectory of the end of the year (and the first full year of Stagetime!). The non-dilutive prize money allowed me to move to Stagetime full-time before I had originally planned, and even more importantly, it gave me the confidence and ability to seize the opportunity to bring one of my most valuable contractors onto Stagetime full-time. These two items have changed my day-to-day dramatically — professionally and personally.”
Learn more at Crossroads Pitch Competition. The deadline to apply is September 10, 2021. Finals will be held on October 13 and will be open to the public to attend.
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