LEHI — As part of the windup to the 2019 Silicon Slopes Tech Summit in January, the Utah nonprofit is teaming up with local venture capital firm Peak Ventures to offer one lucky startup a check for $250,000.
Getting a hold of that cash, however, will require getting through a 32-team competition that will combine the real-world grind of pitching business ideas to potential investors with a sidebar that could play out like an episode of "Shark Tank."
Silicon Slopes Executive Director Clint Betts said the effort revives an annual competition previously hosted by the group for up-and-coming businesses that was briefly suspended in 2018, but adds a few new twists.
"This is a revamp of a competition we've done before, but instead of splitting the investment prize among the top three finishers, it's a winner-take-all," Betts said. "The final eight teams will be on stage at the summit, with a panel of judges that will include one person from Peak Ventures and the other three will be local CEOs."
Betts said the CEO judges will all be individuals who are actively investing in burgeoning businesses, so there's a chance, even for companies that don't score the grand prize, to attract new investment.
"We know for sure, the winner is going to get $250,000," Betts said. "But what we don’t know is if any of these CEOs in the finale are going to decide to invest their own money in the winner or one of these other companies."Comment on this story
As it's a startup competition, a business status that can be hard to define, Betts said the contest is open only to companies that have raised less than $1 million in venture investment.
Deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 21 with applications being accepted via an online portal at siliconslopessummit.com/competition.
Betts said a panel of local investors will winnow entrants down to the 32 best ideas and preliminary competitions will take place during the month of January at the Silicon Slopes office in Lehi. The eight top teams will compete at the tech summit taking place Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.