Startup World Cup

We have World Cup fever at The Cannon, and if you haven’t been paying attention, you’re missing out. Golden goals, goalie gaffes, and historic upsets have made this the wackiest World Cup in living memory. Despite the United States’ lamentable absence from the fixture festivities, the teams playing have provided nothing short of top notch entertainment. It’s great to see people from around the world coming together to celebrate a common interest, and it made us think about another World Cup that happened earlier this year: the Startup World Cup.

All Around the World

Run by Silicon Valley based VC, Fenox Venture Capital, Startup World Cup claims to be Silicon Valley’s largest pitch competition. No one’s discriminating by geography though. The Startup World Cup begins by hosting pitch competitions around the world that serve as qualifiers. Places like Brazil, Bangkok, and Brooklyn all played host to regional competitions. In fact, from August 2017 until April of this year, over 30 countries played host to different regional competitions. These competitions served as a platform for interested startups to test their mettle and vie for a trip to the main competition – The Grand Finale.

After a comprehensive global tour, the Startup World Cup Global Grand Finale is held in San Francisco. Dubbed a day of networking and competition, the Grand Finale plays hosts to a sea of startup and tech enthusiasts. In 2017’s competition, keynote speakers like Steve Wozniak graced the stage. This year, speakers including Marc Randolph, Co-Founder of Netflix, and Jay Vijayan, former Tesla CIO, addressed crowds before the real excitement began.

Pitching for the Prize

Fifteen different startups come from places as far away as Taiwan, Luxembourg, and the Czech Republic. In front of a panel of investor judges from notable VCs such as the Founder Institute and Y Combinator, they vie for the top prize. Competitors come from a wide range of industry, including Education, AI and BioTech, and the winner brings home a $1,000,000 prize to their company. UniFa, an IoT solution for monitoring kindergarten mental and physical growth, participated in a slew of competitions before qualifying for the Startup World Cup.

Now champions, and owners of a $1,000,000 investment, UniFa has grown to a different echelon. That’s what makes Startup World Cup impressive. It brings together a range of people and ideas from around the world, engaging them in something they believe in passionately, and providing them an opportunity to compete and grow. But the cash prize is far from the top growth perspective. The sheer number of startups, VCs, and interested parties in one place create an energy that can move mountains (or at least bottom lines). So as you watch patriotic soccer fans rejoice in Russia this summer, remember the World Cup that exists for startups. Think about tossing your hat in the ring next year and maybe you’ll find yourself standing on stage at the 2019 Startup World Cup.

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