Congratulations to our 2016 South Side Pitch Winners!
1st Place – Excuse Me Officer
2nd Place – Oooh Wee! Sweet Tea
3rd Place – Justice of the Pies
Congratulations to the 2015 South Side Pitch winners !
1st Place – Go Dutch Today
Alysia Sargent, Alexandria Willis, and Olamide Bamidele were the winners of the 2015 South Side Pitch. They pitched Go Dutch Today, a dating app that allows users to split the cost of the date to eliminate any expectations or awkwardness associated with footing the bill. South Side Pitch was an exciting opportunity for them to develop a creative business pitch and get guidance from seasoned judges. After South Side Pitch, Go Dutch Today not only received prize money that allowed them to continue working on an iOS and Android app, but also local press that has helped them build more visibility. Since then, Go Dutch Today has been working hard to market their app for the release in the fall, partner with businesses to create curated experiences, and develop events for users to engage and connect. The founders reflect that South Side Pitch gave their business a platform to grow and ultimately, create opportunities for others in the community.
According to Alysia: “The South Side Pitch competition has thrust us into the tech space and community in a very positive way. It gave us the confidence to not give up regardless of challenges and continue to work on our business.”
2nd Place – Konveau
Konveau is a personality-based networking app founded by Jason Johnson, a finalist of the 2015 South Side Pitch. Johnson reflects that South Side Pitch, his very first pitch competition, helped him to learn the ins and outs of the business pitch and how to think quickly on his feet, both skills that came in handy in subsequent pitch competitions across the nation. Johnson has since experienced several exciting business developments from expanding the size of his team to working with tech consultants to planning the official rollout of his app in late August 2016! In fact, in the last six months, Konveau has been used at over 60 different events! Johnson is proud of the platform he has built and has hopes to scale Konveau so he can build a sustainable monetization strategy.
According to Jason: “Come [to South Side Pitch] loose. I know for me, I practiced a lot – over and over and over again, I didn’t get any sleep before my pitch. Don’t take it too seriously, respect the opportunity and take advantage of it, but you’re going to be at your best when you’re loose and free and just talking about your company because that’s how you’ll articulate your goals and passions most accurately.”
3rd Place – Timing and Racing Around the Clock (TRAC)
Griffin Kelly is the co-founder and CEO of TRAC (Timing and Racing Around the Clock), a company that simplifies and streamlines the way races and athletic events are timed. TRAC makes an innovative RFID-based hardware that tracks timing for each lap and a software that live-streams results onto the cloud and into the organizer’s iPad or tablet. Through partnerships with the Chicago Park District and Chicago Area Runners Association, TRAC has broken ground at 20+ Chicagoland races by helping to organize results quickly and accurately, a process that was traditionally complex and time consuming. This year, TRAC was accepted into the prestigious Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator and is now working on a new platform for crowdsourced race photography. Kelly hopes for TRAC not only to be the biggest name in road racing, but also to help bring communities and people together through a love for running.
According to Griffin: “It’s funny – I remember South Side Pitch really well because I remember I completely froze on stage. I had done a lot of public speaking before and underestimated the importance of practice…in hindsight I should have done more practice. But overall, just be yourself and represent your company!”
Congratulations to the 2014 South Side Pitch winners !
Meet 2015’s Finalists
Kimberly Jean Brown was the winner of our first Southside Pitch competition, pitching LegacyComplete.com. LegacyComplete is an online tool to that helps people with proper estate planning. Southside Pitch marked a series of new beginnings for Kimberly and her organization. Immediately following the competition, she received so much feedback from the audience and judges that she decided to revamp her entire design for LegacyComplete. Winning the Pitch also gave LegacyComplete the opportunity to join the Chicago Innovation Exchange and be surrounded by other entrepreneurs who became her mentors that wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for South Side Pitch!
According to Kimberly: My participation in the South Side Pitch helped shape my business idea into a viable, scalable business. The pre-event coaching sessions were informative and valuable. In addition, the camaraderie that developed between the contestants and the I.J.C. team further enhanced the experience. The South Side Pitch is definitely a worthwhile event for entrepreneurs!
Euler Bropleh pitched VestedWorld, an online venture capital fund that allows qualified investors to invest in carefully vetted companies based in emerging markets around the world.
During South Side Pitch, he found the process of refining and articulating his business idea to a large audience integral in finding the confidence to commit to his startup full-time. Beyond the active feedback he got from the judges, the event helped VestedWorld secure a highly coveted spot in the business incubator at the Chicago Innovation Exchange and helped with initial PR activities.
According to Euler: The South Side Pitch is a great opportunity to get valuable feedback on your business idea. Regardless of the outcome, taking part in the process will help you fine tune your idea and your ability to present it to potential customers and investors.
Jabari Evans had pitched the idea for LimeLightrr, an online platform that allows artists and their fans to interact simultaneously. A friend recommended that he apply to South Side Pitch. He describes the experience as the foundation that allowed him to embark on his subsequent entrepreneurial endeavors. The Pitch gave LimeLightrr the visibility it needed to market an event they hosted last year with Bacardi and Just Blaze.
Father-son team Ed and Dale Hubbard pitched Nature’s Little Recyclers, a green tech earthworm factory aimed at recycling waste into healthy soil. Ed and Dale found that the mentors and connections were their biggest takeaways from South Side Pitch. With the help of their new-found mentors, Nature’s Little Recyclers changed their focus from a downtown tech company to a South Side (Englewood, Fuller Park, Back of the Yards) development company with a greater focus on waste management and local urban farm development.
According to Ed and Dale: Pay attention to who the judges are… You need not be modest, but bold. Our single mistake was not quantifying ourselves as the ones who could do this great idea.
Eating Well with Chef Cordell Consulting, Inc.
From the beginning, Cordell McGary knew his culinary business was going to be a blend of for-profit and non-profit that would be challenging to establish and manage. So, he applied to South Side Pitch seeking expert feedback from business professionals. He also hoped to gauge interest among community members. Since the Pitch, he says that the event has been integral in developing a better business plan, and reiterates that the expert advice was much-needed. Cordell now owns a business that trains, consults, and provides school staff and students with healthy meal service options through Food Service manager trainings and after school programs.
According to Cordell: Speak clearly and confidently, heed the advice given by the judges, and KNOW your business (it’s your baby!).