SwitchPitch transforms the traditional networker into a startup dealmaker

Communities / Article

Michael Goldstein, is the founder of SwitchPitch, an event supported by Knight Foundation where large companies pitch partnerships to startups.

Imagine some of the biggest companies across the country, pitching real, budget-backed projects to a crowd of carefully selected startups. Skeptics may say, “Never going to happen…” But turning the tables on a typical demo day networker is exactly what SwitchPitch is about.

On Thursday, Feb. 20, from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., some of the biggest names in business—including The Weather Channel, Young & Rubicam, Celebrity Cruise Lines and Mobifusion, among others—will take the stage at The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse to pitch their projects to the best from Miami’s startup community.

With the support of Knight Foundation, SwitchPitch is making Miami its third stop to accelerate the growth of startup communities nationwide by helping early- and middle-stage companies reach the next level of success.

In Washington, D.C., during our premier event on March 21, 2013, large, ​successful companies presented technology ​and ​marketing ​projects totaling over $200,000 to an audience of more than 350 from the startup community.  

That validated our concept: Corporations were willing to infuse the local startup ecosystem with capital-backed projects. We saw a need for this event from both sides of the aisle. Established companies frequently experience a lack of manpower or expertise to execute internal projects. However, rather than hiring a traditional vendor we found these companies were eager to forge meaningful partnerships with innovative startups looking to grow their businesses.

The roles had been reversed. Startups were finally able to take a seat in the audience and judge these well-known, high-profile companies based on their best four- to five-minute pitch. Our New York event, held Oct. 1, was even larger; 450 people from the startup community listened to companies pitch projects valued at more than $500,000.

In just a few months and two cities, we have featured speakers such as Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and D.C.-based Revolution; John Sculley, former president of PepsiCo and past CEO of Apple; and Kevin P. Ryan, founder of several companies, including Gilt Groupe and Business Insider. Companies pitching proposals have included HBO, Pitney Bowes, Time Inc., Assurant, Gannett, LivingSocial, and IBM, just to name a few.

It’s this type of jump-start SwitchPitch wants to bring to Miami’s startup ecosystem, by creating deals to generate revenue for the most innovative and forward-thinking startups.

If you are an established company looking for a great partner to get your project off the ground cost-effectively and at lightning speed—or a startup looking to accelerate business development—SwitchPitch is guaranteed to flip the script on the traditional networker.

Tickets for startups that wish to attend are available for $49 per person until Feb. 12 and $79 thereafter. For more information, visit www.switchpitch.com.