A copy of this article is seen in the August Edition of the Florida Business Report
$10,000 in cash prizes is up for grabs in the upcoming Gainesville Area Innovation Network (GAIN) Shootout, on November 1st, 2017. In the fight for the win, teams of local startups will be granted the chance to pitch business ideas to a group of expert judges, including industry venture capitalists.
Startups from disciplines such as Technology, Fintech, Life Sciences and Manufacturing will each submit an application to pitch their business proposal. Thereafter, 16 companies will be invited to the Shootout and have the opportunity to pitch to a room of venture capitalists, win cash prizes, the coveted Stetson Hat and be named Gainesville’s Top Gun.
On the day of the Shootout, each of the 16 startups will have 10 minutes to present and discuss their business plan to a panel of experts and investors in their fields. The top four companies, one from each track, will then be selected to participate in the final Shootout to win the 2017 Top Gun award. The winners will receive funding to assist in making their job-proposal dream a reality. The first place winner will be awarded $7,000 total, with the winners of each track receiving $1,000 each. Following the Shootout, there will be an awards ceremony to celebrate the winners.
“When a startup raises money, they hire people to help them get to market as soon as possible. This creates a booming effect since these people may be relocating from other parts of the state, thus increasing demand for housing, small business services and tax revenue. More importantly, startup growth makes Gainesville an exciting place to live!” said David Flores, interim executive director of GAIN.
GAIN started the Shootout seven years ago, and hopes this year’s program will bring more startup participation from various industries as well as investors from all over the state.
“The Shootout brings visibility to our region and our local companies as a tech hub,” Flores adds.
According to data compiled from PwC Money Tree report and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida companies find it extremely difficult to secure venture funding since about 1% of all companies ever raise money to grow their business and Florida receives only 1% of growth venture funds. Moreover, startup founders not only need to raise money, they have to raise smart money. Smart money is often referred to as money that comes from investors who provide connections and open doors to partnerships, helps recruit senior-level staff with deep industry experience and expertise, and can provide sound business advice to business founders when needed.
According to Flores, “GAIN attracts smart money by inviting local and outside investors to judge at the Shootout. This year we’ve added industry tracks to ensure that each company meets with investors who can assist them with funding resources for their startup and better understand their overall business plan.”
Early applications open August 1st and all applications will close on October 1st. Applicants selected to be part of the Sweet 16 will be notified on October 16th.
The 2017 GAIN Shootout is planned for November 1st, 2017, doors open at 2PM at the Holiday Inn University. In addition to the pitch competition, there will be a cocktail hour for networking at 5PM and an awards dinner at 6:30PM. For more information or to apply, visit http://gainnet.org/gain-7th-annual-shootout/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Justin Zhou from Ivy Creative Labs, winner of the 2016 GAIN Shootout