Pitch Madness was launched in January 2019 at the Synapse Innovation Summit which drew in 5,542 attendees and 334 exhibitors. Where our team vetted over 100 founders from across the state of Florida and selected 8 to compete in 7 head to head debates over a 2-day tournament in front of a judging panel of top VC's and Tech Executives.
The idea was to evolve the traditional startup pitch competition that you have seen a million times before by combining the elements of a Head2Head Tournament with Monitored Debate, creating an environment where founders have to think on their feet. A sports tournament-style bracket system where founders and CEOs compete in a debate-centric format. Gone are the days of dull presentations and slideshows, these are head-to-head battles where the judges identify the unique, nuanced characteristics that turn a business player into a business leader.
This new format resonated with the founder community and enabled us to organize 4 more tournaments in 2019 across Orlando, Miami, and, our first international tournament, Monte Carlo.
In 2020, we kicked off the year with our second international tournament in Dubai in partnership with Accor Hotels and our second Synapse Innovation Summit with over 7000 attendees. Due to the restrictions created by COVID-19, we had the opportunity to organize our first fully digital tournament which featured a 16 founder draw and top investor judges like AJ Vaynerchuk of Vayner Sports, David Meltzer of Entrepreneur Magazine and Wayne Kimmel of SeventySix Capital.
In summary, Pitch Madness is putting the ‘who’ back into how investors are traversing the startup landscape, focusing on the founder rather than the technology or product. With competitions taking place around the world, Pitch Madness seeks to draw founders/competitors who shape the startup's culture because of their knowledge, not their pitching skills.