How to Win a #PitchCompetition: From a Crawfish Boil to the Conference Stage


On March 21st, Camelback Ventures hosted a pitch competition during its Fellowship Launch Party in New Orleans. Six Camelback Fellows pitched in front of over 70 leaders from the New Orleans educational ecosystem. The audience cast ballots for winners of the pitch competition, and the winners were provided tickets to the ASU + GSV Summit held this April in Arizona. Below are the experiences of the three Camelback Fellows who won the pitch competition, Heart of ManBrooklyn on Tech, and Kudzoo, respectively.

Marcus Noel, Heart of Man

WOW, opportunities abound and life business-wise has not been quite the same. The past five weeks for me have literally been a whirlwind since being selected as a Camelback Fellow. On March 21st, I stood up in front of a New Orleans crowd with a butterfly or two and passionately pitched Heart of Man's mission to create the next generation of creator's and innovators. I also stated the three key reasons why I should have the opportunity to attend the 2015 ASU + GSV Summit.  The day of the pitch I had been fighting a severe migraine and actually considered not pitching-- I'm glad I conjured up the strength to do so. My pitch was centered around "coaching, capital, and connections", I stated that ASU + GSV would enable me to 1) cultivate new relationships to gain mentorship from key sector leaders, 2) meet funders to help fund my venture, and 3) network and build strategic partnerships. As I cracked open a few crawfish and stuffed my mouth with jambalaya, in good company of the locals, my name was called as a winner and my first trip to ASU+GSV had come to fruition!

Everything I expected manifested itself in Arizona! I sat with the president of Education Pioneers to review my talking points and pitch deck for investors, I had a productive meeting with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other top funders, met Common and Dr. Hine's of the Comonground Foundation, and lastly connected with the past CEO/President of NFTE to gain insight on how the best serve urban students through entrepreneurial programming. Needless to say, the ASU+GSV Summitand Camelback Mountain blew my mind, I can't wait for 2016! 

Jessica Santana, New York on Tech

Competing in the Camelback Ventures' Launch Pitch Competition in New Orleans was a fantastic experience. I was excited about the opportunity to challenge myself as a leader and spread the mission of Brooklyn On Tech. As one of the winners, I left with a free ticket to the ASU + GSV Summit, a leading summit for individuals, funders and organizations in the education technology space. 

The opportunity to attend the ASU + GSV Summit has played a critical role in the strategic direction of Brooklyn On Tech. Aside from meeting thought leaders in the industry, I made valuable connections and generated insights about key trends in EdTech that have the potential to drive our strategy. 

Winning the pitch and attending the summit boosted my confidence as co-founder of a non-profit on a mission critical journey. As such, I will continue to fearlessly lead Brooklyn On Tech, seek opportunities to spread awareness about our mission and seek additional outlets for exposure.

Logan Cohen, Kudzoo

They said when passion and drive work together, they form a masterpiece.  In the last couple weeks I have been fortunate enough to have my passion and professional life intertwine. Camelback enabled me to earn a trip to the ASU+GSV Summit.  From the beginning it was a learning experience.  I had a refine my pitch and present in front of a crowd or people who have never heard of my company or myself.   Winning the ticket to attend this prestigious conference was an honor.

While at ASU+GSV you cannot help but to be inspired.  Through leaders, innovators and do-ers are all in one place with the focus around education.The experience we got was priceless.  We spoke with content management companies, press, leaders of foundations, potential investors and ed-tech tycoons.  We were able to get live, honest feedback.

Since the conference, the follow-ups have been great.  Trevor, my co-founder, and I have had countless brainstorming sessions regarding Kudzoo’s direction and future functionalities based on sessions we attended and conversations we had at ASU+GSV.

I cannot thank Camelback enough for this wonderful opportunity; I look forward to Kudzoo’s continued growth through the contacts we made at the Summit.