When SXSW was cancelled this year because of COVID-19, the team at Established (the power behind Startup of the Year) knew they’d have to adapt quickly. A decision was immediately made to shift from hosting an in-person event at the “Established SXSW House” to hosting a virtual-event just as exciting and valuable online. It was important that the startups originally planning to compete at Startup Night SXSW for a fast-track prize, gain exposure, and interact with expert judges, still had the chance to do so.
It was then realized that the digital event world might be a new normal for a while, so Established knew it would be necessary to further nurture emerging founders during the hard times. Therefore, four new pitch events were developed — all leading up to Summit and each providing additional opportunities for applicants in the 2020 Startup of the Year pool. The winner from each of the fast-track events receives a ‘fast-track’ spot to a Top 100 Semifinalist spot at the 8th Annual Summit along with a special mentor session.
What Is Fast-Track?
Fast-track means automatic. It means skip forward past the rest. It means that if your startup wins one of the Startup of the Year Online Pitch Events, it will automatically be counted as one of the Top 100 companies that will compete this fall.
Fast-Track Winner = Top 100 Semifinalist Competitor at the Fall Summit
The benefit of winning a fast-track spot is that you already know you will compete in the fall. You don’t have to wait until September 15 when the 2020 application closes to find out if you’ve made it.
Remaining Fast-Track Pitch Events Before Summit
1. July 23 Honoring U.S. Veteran Founders — Sponsored by .US
2. September 3 — focus coming soon.
Deadline: August 6
3. October 1 — focus coming soon.
Deadline: September 4
What to Do
If you are an early-stage startup across any vertical that is eligible to compete in the Startup of the Year competition, you should apply — and apply early so that you have the chance to compete in a Fast-track Online Event.
All emerging startups ready to take it to the next level, apply now. The application takes around 20 minutes to complete. Check your eligibility and apply here. If you’ve already applied, no need to apply again.