15 Best Startup Pitch Competitions in the US

Benjamin Debonneville
Founder & CEO
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Standing out amid the crowd of startups isn't just about having a great idea; it's also about getting the right eyes on it. That's where startup pitch competitions come in. These events are more than just contests; they're ideal opportunities for emerging startups.

Imagine pitching your business to a room full of potential investors, gaining crucial feedback, networking, and maybe even landing that essential funding.

Pitching your idea or product is all about preparation, presenting your best pitch deck, and seizing the opportunity. This article will explore the top upcoming startup pitch competitions in the U.S., offering a vital stage for startups aiming high.

What is a Startup Pitch Competition?

A startup pitch competition is like a big contest for business ideas. Entrepreneurs get a chance to share their business plans with a group of judges.

These judges are often big names in business, like venture capitalists and industry experts. The startup founders have a short time, maybe 3 to 10 minutes, to impress the judges with their ideas.

The best part? They can win cash or get noticed by important people who can help their business grow. Even if they don't win, it's a great chance to show off their ideas and meet people who know a lot about business.

15 Best Upcoming Startup Pitch Competitions in the US

In the United States, startup pitch competitions are big deals, happening all year round. They're perfect for practice, making connections, and possibly getting funding.

Let's explore the top 15 upcoming pitch competitions in the US, that could give your startup the push it needs!

1. AWE USA Startup Pitch Competition

The AWE USA Startup Pitch Competition 2024, part of the Augmented World Expo, is a big event for startups in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

Here, startups pitch their innovative ideas to expert judges, showcasing technological advancements and market readiness. With a focus on disrupting the AR/VR industry, it's a unique chance for startups to get noticed.

The AWE pitch competition is known for its broad appeal, attracting over 5,000 companies and 60,000 professionals, making it a perfect stage for startups to make a mark and potentially win big!

Key Information about the Upcoming Event:

  • Location: Long Beach, California, USA.
  • Deadline for Submissions: May 6, 2024.
  • Pitch Competition Date: June 19, 2024.
  • Focused Industries: Broad, mainly AR/VR technology.
  • Ticket Cost: $695 to $2499, free for finalists.

2. Startup World Cup Pitch Competition

The Startup World Cup Pitch Competition, organized by Pegasus Tech Ventures, is a global platform where startups take center stage. With regional events spanning continents, it culminates in a grand finale in San Francisco.

Founders get 4 minutes to impress a panel of judges, with 2 minutes for questions. It's not just about the prize; it's a networking haven. Startups pitch to top-tier investors and forge corporate partnerships.

Startup WC competition is an event that brings together leading tech CEOs, VCs, and entrepreneurs. With a diverse range of startups participating, it offers an unparalleled chance for exposure, learning, and inspiration in the bustling world of innovation.

Key Information about the Upcoming Event:

  • Location: Hilton Union Square, San Francisco, USA.
  • Winning Prize: $1 million investment.
  • Deadline: The specific deadline is not mentioned, but the final competition is on December 1, 2023.
  • Focused Industries: All startup domains and stages
  • Ticket Cost: $100 – $490.


SXSW Pitch in Austin, Texas is where the future of technology takes the spotlight. Celebrating its 16th year, this event has seen startups since 2009 raise over $23.2 billion! It's an exciting stage where new tech ideas are shared with experts, media pros, and investors.

Companies get to present their innovations in eight diverse categories, from AI and Smart Cities to Food and Health. It's part of the larger SXSW 2024 Conference & Festivals, known for bringing together different industries in an explosion of creativity and discovery.

Finalists enjoy unique perks like awards, product demos, and valuable feedback sessions. It's a not-to-miss event for tech innovators!

Key Information about the Upcoming Event:

  • Location: Austin, Texas, USA
  • Deadline for Submissions: Entry opened on June 27, 2023
  • Pitch Competition Date: March 9-10, 2024
  • Focused Industries: AI, Voice, and robotics, Enterprise and Smart Data, Media and content, Extended Reality and Web3, Food, Nutrition, and health, Innovative World Technologies, Transportation, and sustainability, Student Startup.
  • Ticket Cost: Free for the participants of the competition but the SXSW EDUPlatinum Badge - $1675 for access to all events.

4. TechCrunch Disrupt

TechCrunch Disrupt's Startup Battlefield 200 is where startups dream big. It's a stage where the top 200 startups from across the world, in diverse fields like AI, HealthTech, and FinTech, showcase their ideas.

These companies get to pitch to a panel of top investors and experts. It's not just about the pitch; they also access training, masterclasses, and investor meetups. The top 20 make it to the final round, competing for an impressive $100K equity-free prize and the Disrupt Cup.

Past winners include names like Dropbox, setting a high bar for innovation and success. It's a golden chance for early-stage startups to shine and take their business to new heights.

Key Information about the Upcoming Event:

  • Location: Boston, MA, USA
  • Deadline for Submissions: Not specified, but applications for 2024 open soon
  • Pitch Competition Date: Specific dates not mentioned
  • Focused Industries: Diverse, including AI, Robotics, VR, HealthTech, FinTech
  • Ticket Cost: All Passes $99

5. ViVE Pitch Competition

ViVE's Startup Pitch Competition is a must-see for anyone in digital health. It’s where fresh ideas meet experts who know healthcare inside out. Startups with cool digital solutions get 2.5 minutes to pitch and wow the judges. They’re looking for ideas that change the way we think about health.

And there's more – a special pitch competition just for startups making aging easier. They get 3 minutes to share their vision. It’s all happening at ViVE, a big event focusing on the healthcare business.

The best part? Winners can get cash prizes and credits for the next ViVE event. So, if you’ve got a healthcare startup that's new, different, and ready to help people, ViVE is where you should be.

Key Information about the Upcoming Event:

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Deadline for Submissions: December 15
  • Pitch Competition Date: February 25-28, 2024
  • Focused Industries: Digital health and aging technology solutions
  • Ticket Cost: Not specified

6. Utah Entrepreneur Challenge

The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge (UEC) is a big deal for college students in Utah who dream of starting their own business. Hosted by the University of Utah, this startup pitch competition is all about finding the best student business ideas.

Students from universities all over Utah can join and compete for a huge prize – $100,000 in cash and other cool stuff. It's not just about winning money; it's also about getting really useful advice from business experts.

The judges are people who know a lot about starting businesses, so their feedback is super helpful. Past winners of this challenge have gone on to start successful businesses, showing just how great an opportunity this is for young entrepreneurs.

Key Information about the Upcoming Event:

  • Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
  • Deadline for Submissions: January 9, 2024
  • Pitch Competition Date: A specific date is not provided, but the final event is held at the University of Utah
  • Focused Industries: Open to various student business ideas
  • Ticket Cost: Not specified

7. SubSummit Pitch Competition

SubSummit Pitch Competition is all about subscription-based businesses. It's the biggest event for those in the $2 trillion recurring revenue world. Here, you can pitch your subscription service and maybe win $50,000!

It's not just a competition; it's a chance to learn from leaders, meet people who think like you, and find ways to make your business even better.

SubSummit brings together over 2,000 people from different areas like e-commerce, media, and tech. They all share ideas, learn new things, and look for ways to grow their companies. It's three days of fun, learning, and maybe winning big for your subscription business!

Key Information about the Upcoming Event:

  • Location: Dallas, TX, USA
  • Deadline for Submissions: Traditionally late January
  • Pitch Competition Date: June 17-19, 2024
  • Focused Industries: Subscription services and recurring revenue models
  • Ticket Cost: Details not provided, but qualifying merchants get free tickets and travel reimbursement

8. Arch Grants Pitch Competition

Arch Grants Pitch Competition is a unique chance for startups in St. Louis or those willing to move there. It's all about turning big ideas into reality with a $75,000 grant, and you don't have to give up any part of your company.

Since 2012, this competition has been changing the game by helping new businesses grow and succeed. It's more than money; it's about joining a community that supports and guides you.

Whether your business is just starting or getting ready to grow, if it's creative, scalable, and tech-savvy, this could be your big break. Arch Grants is looking for diverse teams ready to make St. Louis a better place for business.

Key Information about the Upcoming Event:

  • Location: St. Louis, MO, USA
  • Deadline for Submissions: Typically open from February to March
  • Pitch Competition Date: Typically in August
  • Focused Industries: Innovative and scalable business models, preferably technology-enabled
  • Ticket Cost: Not specified

9. Venture Capital Summit

The Venture Capital Summit hosts major pitch competitions regularly across the USA and around the world, providing a dynamic platform for startups to shine. Think of it as a place where you can pitch your business idea to people who might fund it, like venture capitalists and angel investors.

Since 2013, this event has been a hotspot for networking, learning from experts, and getting insights into how the investment world works. It's not just about pitching; you'll find panel talks, discussions, and chances to learn something new.

Startups that join have a shot at getting money, advice, and understanding what investors are looking for. It's all about connecting visionary founders with investors, helping businesses grow big and make a positive impact.

Key Information about the Upcoming Event:

  • Location: New York, NY, USA
  • Deadline for Submissions: Not specified
  • Pitch Competition Date: December 15, 2023
  • Focused Industries: Broad, including venture capital, finance, investment, and entrepreneurship
  • Ticket Cost: Starting at $583

10. Startup Grind Global Conference

Startup Grind Global Conference 2024 features the Startup Global Exhibition, a premier platform for founders to pitch their startups and connect with a global network of investors and partners. It's an annual gathering where startups from across the globe showcase their innovative ideas.

This event isn't just about showcasing; it's about connecting with those who can help your startup grow. You'll meet lots of investors and experts who are there to find and support the next big startup.

Plus, the top startups get to join Accelerate for even more opportunities, like investor meetings and mainstage pitches. It's your chance to be part of something huge!

Key Information about the Upcoming Event:

  • Location: Silicon Valley, California, USA
  • Deadline for Submissions: Not specified, but apply on the website
  • Pitch Competition Date: April 23-24, 2024
  • Focused Industries: Broad, open to various startup sectors
  • Ticket Cost: $249 for Full Access; $599 for Investor Pass

11. MIT $100K Pitch

The MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition is a big event for early founders where students and researchers turn bright ideas into real businesses. It’s not just a one-time pitch; it's a whole journey starting with the Pitch contest, then Accelerate, and finally, the big Launch.

Starting way back in 1989, this competition has been helping creative minds launch companies that matter. Teams get mentorship from top business leaders, money to make prototypes, and a chance to win big prizes.

It's a place where future leaders learn how to turn a 90-second pitch into a successful company. Past winners have created companies worth billions, so this is a real launchpad for big dreams!

Key Information about the Upcoming Event:

  • Location: MIT Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • Deadline for Submissions: Closed
  • Pitch Competition Date: December 5, 2023
  • Focused Industries: Open to various innovative and technology-driven fields
  • Ticket Cost: Not specified

12. Next50K Startup Pitch Competition

The Next50K Startup Pitch Competition is a big event for healthcare tech startups in the US. It's your chance to grab $50,000 to grow your idea into something amazing.

Sprocket’s competition focuses on healthcare and support technologies – stuff that really helps people. You can use this prize to make your product better, explore new markets, build a strong team, and get your name out there.

Whether your startup is just an idea or already making moves, this competition offers not just funds but also mentorship and exposure. It's all about turning your health tech dream into a reality, right in Paducah, where healthcare innovation meets business expertise.

Key Information about the Upcoming Event:

  • Location: Paducah, KY, USA
  • Deadline for Submissions: Not specifically mentioned
  • Pitch Competition Date: Not specified
  • Focused Industries: Healthcare technology and support tools
  • Ticket Cost: Not specified

13. IDEA Showcase

IDEA Showcase pitch competition is all about big ideas and startups ready to change the world. It's part of the TECHSUPERSHOW, where entrepreneurs get 5 minutes to wow everyone with their cool ideas. They're changing all kinds of industries, from tech to retail.

These pitches aren't just talks; they're a chance for startups to show they can be the next big thing. The audience and judges vote for the most game-changing idea.

It's a night filled with new inventions, powerful networking, and lots of excitement. If you're into startups that are shaking things up, this is the place to be!

Key Information about the Upcoming Event:

  • Location: Miami Beach Convention Center, Florida, USA
  • Deadline for Submissions: Not specified
  • Pitch Competition Date: April 23-25, 2024
  • Focused Industries: Broad range including tech, retail, digital design, and more
  • Ticket Cost: Not specified

14. CodeLaunch Pitch Day

CodeLaunch Pitch Day is where early tech startup dreams get real. It’s happening in Houston, and it’s all about helping new tech ideas grow fast. Startups get to work with pro software teams for free, pushing them closer to making their first product.

And the best part? It costs nothing to enter and you keep all your company shares. Since 2012, CodeLaunch has been making startup wishes come true in North Texas, and now they’re doing it all over the place.

Winners get extra help from sponsors, plus a slick video of their pitch. It’s like a tech show, startup contest, and big networking event all in one. Perfect for first-timers, techies, and anyone with a cool software idea.

Key Information about the Upcoming Event:

  • Location: Bayou Music Center, Houston, TX, USA
  • Deadline for Submissions: Not specified
  • Pitch Competition Date: February 28, 2024
  • Focused Industries: Tech startups, particularly software
  • Ticket Cost: Free to apply; specific event ticket cost not provided

15. UGA Top Entrepreneur Pitch Competition

The UGA Top Entrepreneur Pitch Competition is an exciting event where student teams from across the U.S. showcase their business ideas. Hosted by the University of Georgia, it’s a chance for young entrepreneurs to pitch in front of judges and an audience.

Early startups can win up to $10,000! This isn’t just a contest; it’s a big step into the business world. Students get to present their plans, products, or ideas and could walk away with not just prize money, but also valuable experience and exposure.

Whether it’s a cool new app or a unique service, this competition is all about finding and supporting the next great business leaders.

Key Information about the Upcoming Event:

  • Location: Studio 225, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA
  • Deadline for Submissions: March 20, 2024
  • Pitch Competition Date: April 18, 2024
  • Focused Industries: Open to various student business ideas
  • Ticket Cost: Not specified

Best Tips for Winning the Pitch Competition

Winning at startup pitch competitions is all about catching attention and showing your idea's worth. Let's discuss some top tips that could help you stand out and grab that prize!

Key Tips for Winning a Pitch Competition:

  • Know Your Audience: Understand who you're pitching to; tailor your message to their interests and industry knowledge.
  • Clear Value Proposition: Explain simply how your idea solves a problem or improves something, making it easy to understand.
  • Confidence and Enthusiasm: Show passion and belief in your idea; your excitement can be contagious and engaging.
  • Practice Your Pitch: Rehearse your pitch multiple times to ensure clarity, confidence, and the right pacing.
  • Tell a Story: Use a narrative to make your pitch memorable; stories help people connect with your idea.
  • Visuals and Demos: Use visuals or demos to make complex ideas more tangible and easier to grasp.
  • Be Concise: Keep it short and to the point; avoid overloading with information and stay focused.
  • Anticipate Questions: Think about potential questions and prepare clear, concise answers to them.
  • Feedback and Improvement: Seek feedback from various sources and continuously refine your pitch based on it.
  • Know Your Numbers: Be prepared with key figures and data to back up your claims and projections.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it – the upcoming top pitch competitions in the US where big ideas meet big opportunities. Whether you're dreaming up the next tech breakthrough or a cool new app, these events are your ticket to the big league.

Remember, it's not just about winning cash; it's about learning, networking, and taking your startup from a sketch to the spotlight. So, pick the right competition, give it your best shot, and who knows? Your idea could be the next big thing everyone's talking about. Dream big, pitch with passion, and good luck!

Benjamin gave great tips to my start-up Blend for polishing and optimising my pitch deck, refreshing perspective. Recommend!