TiE Sydney to reward pitch-perfect start-up with Silicon Valley trip

Above: Dilip Rao.


Start-ups can now enter the 2013 TiE Open Pitching Competition, hosted by entrepreneur network TiE Sydney, which will see the winner mixing with investors and other entrepreneurs at TiEcon Silicon Valley.


TiE Sydney, which partnered with Commercialisation Australia last year, bills itself as a non-profit organisation run by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.


Established in 2000, TiE Sydney is part of global network TiE, which has come to stand for “Talent, Ideas and Enterprise”. Its primary goal is to build Silicon Valley-style ecosystems.


On May 6, TiE Sydney will host the 2013 TiE Open Pitching Competition. First prize is a trip to the United States to attend TiEcon Silicon Valley – TiE’s premier annual event.


In the past, TiEcon has featured speakers including Larry Page, Steve Ballmer, Tony Hsieh, Ted Turner, Eric Schmidt, Larry Ellison, Narayana Murthy, Peter Thiel and Dr Irwin Jacobs.


At this year’s event, the competition winner will mix with more than 3000 delegates including angel investors and venture capitalists.


Prior to the competition, TiE Sydney charter members will run pitching workshops and provide feedback.


Participants will have just three minutes to pitch their venture to investors for funding, with an additional two minutes for a question-and-answer session.


Only “a handful” of entrepreneurs will be selected for the finals. The judging panel will be made up of angels, venture capitalists, TiE Sydney charter members and successful entrepreneurs.


However, all entrants must be members of TiE Sydney.


TiE Sydney president and charter member Dilip Rao (pictured above) told StartupSmart the pitching competition will probably attract between 30 and 40 entrants.


But according to Rao, the pitching competition is not the main focus of the event.


“The purpose of it is really the learning and the workshops prior… It’s not just about the presentation. It’s also about what’s the underlying idea,” Rao says.


“It will be an open competition, which means really no eligibility criteria, other than the fact you want to do something with this idea.”


Rao says there is a reason why entrants are required to be members of TiE Sydney.


“We had people who came in for a competition and we never saw them again. What we’re really trying to do is improve the quality of entrepreneurs by them engaging with us [on an ongoing basis],” he says.


According to Fiona Anson, whose business HireMeUp won the 2012 TiE Women’s Pitching Competition, travelling to Silicon Valley and attending TiEcon was a “game-changer”.


“We realised that the model we had could be so much more,” Anson said in a statement.


“[We] got to mix with the movers and shakers in the tech world to learn where we needed to be heading, not only to provide a compelling solution for our users but also a compelling investment opportunity for investors.


“As a result, 12 months on, we’ve secured capital (with more on the way), have a world-first, disruptive mobile solution about to launch and have a world of opportunity at our feet.”


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