- Posted by Christopher Calicott
- On April 19, 2016
On Saturday, February 20, 2016, ten finalist teams assembled at the Austin Convention Center for the inaugural Trammell Ventures StartPrize™ startup competition. The StartPrize™ was an event with a $25,000 prize pool financed by Dustin D. Trammell and a format that featured a 5-minute pitch by a founder team member followed by 3-minute question-and-answer sessions by a panel of industry experts, including investors, entrepreneurs, and startup mentors.
The ten finalists were selected from an applicant pool of over seventy submissions and narrowed to 10 by Trammell Ventures’ venture capital fund developer, Christopher Calicott. To get the word out, other startup industry organizations and individuals leveraged their networks. Geekdom Fund, Capital Factory, and the Austin Forum co-sponsored the event by way of providing panelist judges: Don Douglas, managing director of Geekdom Fund, Andrea Kalmans, Capital Factory mentor and Lontra Ventures investor, Jay Boisseau, founder and director of the Austin Forum and Vizias CEO, Morgan Linton, COO of Fashion Metric, and Christopher Calicott of Trammell Ventures, all provided probing questions for the teams.
One differentiator of the StartPrize™ is an outright vote for the Best Pitch, acknowledging the power of persuasion and presentation and recognizing that even the strongest presenters can have an off day. To that end, $5,000 of the total prize pool was earmarked for Best Pitch by crowd favorite vote on Twitter. The second award was for Best Idea, recognizing the innovation behind a company with a $5,000 prize. Finally, the third award was comprehensive for Best Business Plan and a $15,000 prize. Additionally, the 3 awards were not mutually exclusive: it was possible to win 1, 2, or all 3 StartPrize™ awards.
The 2016 StartPrize™ Award Winners:
$5,000 for Best Pitch by crowd favorite vote on Twitter: ForeverCard—Michael Barnes pitching
$5,000 for Best Idea: So Fetch—Renae Donus pitching
$15,000 for Best Business Plan: SPLT Rides— Yale Zhang pitching