AfroTech Cup

The AfroTech Cup gives early stage startups an opportunity to pitch in front of their community, compete with their peers and for the AfroTech community to rally around early stage startups.

The date and time:

Semi-finals will pitch on Friday Nov 9th in the startup track room. The final 3 will pitch on Saturday Nov 10th. Judges should be backstage at least 30 minutes prior to each session.

The judges:

To be announced on October 1

Prizes:

1. Final winner:

Flight to LA for video and photoshoot + trophy, meetings with judges)

2. Free admission to AfroTech:

2 GA tickets to AfroTech. If you have previously purchased your AfroTech ticket, and are selected your tickets will be refunded.

3. Flights to SF

Up to 2 founders from each company who are invited to the semifinals will be flown to San Francisco.

4. Coaching from Amazon:

Pre-pitch sponsorship from Amazon is intended to prepare each team lead for their finalist presentation, and sharpen the overall startup vision with a focus on technical implementation.

Amazon will provide each finalist with a one-to-one mentor for the three weeks preceding the competition. This mentor will be available for a weekly 1-hr meeting (in-person or via conference) as well as ongoing touch-points via email for continued engagement outside of recurring meetings. If relevant, mentors may connect with additional Amazonians for perspective or expertise related to the startup business needs.

Mentor sessions will be inclusive of at least one full practice presentation prior to the finalist competition to provide feedback based on prescribed judging criteria.

Each mentor will attend the finalist welcome dinner for in-person engagement the week of AfroTech. If the mentor is unavailable to attend, s/he will arrange a proxy with as much advance notice as possible.

5. Feature on AfroTech.com

All semi finalists will receive a feature on AfroTech.com to build awareness of their team, mission and product.

THE ROAD TO AFROTECH A TIMELINE:

  • August 20th - Startup Pitch Opens

  • September 17th - Deadline for submission

  • September 17-21 - 2nd round notification

  • October 1 - Startup 8 finalists are notified

  • November 8th - Welcome dinner for finalists and founders in partnership with Amazon

  • November 9th - AfroTech Cup 8 semi-finalist pitch

  • November 10th - AfroTech Cup Finals

Friday - Startup and Hustler Stage

Each semi-finalist has 3-minutes to pitch. There will be then a live 5-7 minute Q&A from the judges.

The format:

Each startup will have 3 minutes to pitch their company. They will only be allowed 5 slides.

The startup pitches will address the following details:

  1. Team

  2. Problem or opportunity

  3. Solution/Product

  4. Expected outcome (i.e. impact or money)

  5. Ask

Saturday Finals - Main Stage

The 3 finalists will have 5 minutes to pitch on the Afrotech Mainstage in front of all 1500 employees. Judges will be seated on stage for the duration of the pitches. There will be live 5 min Q&A from the judges after every pitch. After the startups have completed their pitches they will be escorted into the VIP lounge and the judges will have a live discussion to select the winner. (shark tank style)

Finalists will then be brought back on stage and the winner will be awarded.

The scoring:

Judges will have score cards for each pitch. Scores will be added up by a selected individual.

Judging criteria:

  • Creativity: Originality of the idea.

  • Potential: Longevity, actualization, scalability and profitability of the idea.

  • Functionality: Usability of interface for the idea.

  • Team/People: Who is your team and how will they make your company a success.

Each criteria is based on 3 points per criteria for a total of 12 possible points.

Saturday judging includes audience reaction for 3 point for a total of a possible 15 points.

FAQ

1. Are we expected to include the total number of funds we are trying to raise in our pitch?

Yes. You should be clear with the judges on how much you are trying to raise. There are many investors in the audience and having a clear ask often invites new opportunities for people to reach out to you.

2. How many team members are allowed to present?

Only 1 founder is allowed on stage. We recommend that the CEO do the pitch solo.

3. What does the pre-pitch sponsorship by Amazon cover? What type of preparation help will I receive?

Pre-pitch sponsorship from Amazon is intended to prepare each team lead for their finalist presentation, and sharpen the overall startup vision with a focus on technical implementation.

Amazon will provide each finalist with a one-to-one mentor for the three weeks preceding the competition. This mentor will be available for a weekly 1-hr meeting (in-person or via conference) as well as ongoing touch-points via email for continued engagement outside of recurring meetings. If relevant, mentors may connect with additional Amazonians for perspective or expertise related to the startup business needs.

Mentor sessions will be inclusive of at least one full practice presentation prior to the finalist competition to provide feedback based on prescribed judging criteria.

Each mentor will attend the finalist welcome dinner for in-person engagement the week of AfroTech. If the mentor is unavailable to attend, s/he will arrange a proxy with as much advance notice as possible.

4. What is the prize money breakdown?

There is no guaranteed prize money, however, you will be pitching in front of top accelerators and black VCs who will take meetings with you. There are a variety of in kind prizes from sponsors including your pre-pitch coaching and mentorship from Amazon.. This includes the winner being flown into Los Angeles for a day in the Blavity HQ for a photoshoot/ video shoot and interview.

5. What is the format of the first pitch?

8 startups will be pitching on Friday during the startup/hustler track to a set of judges. You will have 3 minutes to do an elevator pitch with space for Q&A afterwards. Slides are required for the pitch. The judges will evaluate each startup and select the top 3 which will move on to the finals of the AfroTech Cup Competition?

6. What is the format of the finals?

The top 3 startups will have the opportunity to pitch in front of the entire AfroTech audience on Saturday. The final pitch will give you 5 minutes to pitch with slides in front of the final judges. You will then have time for 5 minutes of live question and answers. After all of the pitches and Q&A, the judges will share their opinions and make a decision on the final winner.

7. Will I be able to see the stage in advance of the pitches?

Yes, Thursday evening there will time slotted for you to visit the two stages where the pitches are located at the Palace of Fine Arts.