Bases for the competition
*$10,000 for each startup for a total of $100,000. The ads are part of a non-cash strategic partnership between Startup Icon and ooVoo.
The ads will be co-branded with Startup Icon and will redirect the people to the Startup’s profile of Startup Icon where they can sign up on the startup’s platform.
By: Aleksandra Bulatskaya
It’s a fact that Silicon Valley is still seen as a pinnacle of startup culture around the world but due to financial hardships faced by most startups it has been difficult for them to gain access to its many recourses, until now. A new startup pitching competition has created framework for a global startup community and a few international entrepreneurs are surprising even startup veterans with their persistence and drive.
Forty-eight hours before this interview, Alberto and Oscar Alvarez decided to fly to California, from Panama City, Panama to attend the Startup Idol wrap-up party on Tuesday, May 1, at the Pure Lounge in Sunnyvale, Calif. Little did they know that by acquiring the most users via the contest they had won the “Golden Ticket” wild card entry into the finals.
“We originally thought this (Startup Idol) up as a marketing tool for my company, Agora Technologies but I soon realized that what we should be doing is helping startups build traction, gain users and succeed as business people,” said Startup Idol Founder and Agora Technologies CEO, Andrew Prell who was shocked by the mere presence of international entries and especially taken aback by the Alvarez brothers bold decision to fly out to California on a whim.
Startup pitching competitions are nothing new in Silicon Valley. It’s a familiar routine of honing the basic elevator pitch. Many such competitions require entrants to pay anywhere from $50 to $6,000 simply for presenting. For a lucky few, investment in their venture by the judges is the ultimate prize but most entrants come away with just another pitch.
Startup Idol separates itself from the traditional competitions by ensuring that each of the competitors reap some rewards. Ideally, each competitor gains 100,000 viable users at the end of the five-week competition in addition to constructive feedback on their pitch.
Although no advertising or promotion aside from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were used for the event, Startup Idol’s splash page gained 350,000 views one month after Prell posted it.
Upon hearing of Prell’s idea, sponsorships poured-in from the startup community with WeVideo providing a video editing engine through the contestant’s remote pitches, BeInToo providing the Gamification layer and the Hacker Dojo in Mountain View, Calif. giving access to developers.
Benefits from entering the competition have clearly been reaped by the Alvarez brothers whose venture, GoGetIt.com is now the fifth member of the Final Four via the Golden Ticket wildcard. “We were the only Latin American startup to enter the completion,“ said Alberto, head of Go Get It’s marketing. “We had zero users, nobody knew who we were. Now we are up to 200,000 users and growing.”
They stumbled upon Startup Idol through an Internet search. Once they realized that Startup Idol made it possible for them to pitch to Silicon Valley influencers remotely and they jumped at the chance. “This competition has made Silicon Valley accessible to people like us, who would have no access to this world otherwise,” said Oscar.
Axar Kharebov, a startup insider and CEO of InfoMeters said the global reach of the competition would be a huge asset for an exchange of fresh ideas in Silicon Valley. ”If you know the startup scene well enough after a while it becomes a routine of the same people pitching the same ideas; international competitors bring new concepts.”
Bucking the male dominated startup stereotype, this season’s strongest showing is boasted by female entrepreneurs, who made up just four out of sixty-four entries and are now three entries of the Final Four. The Final Four includes, My Tab. CheckInOn.Me, Best Buzz, The Sales Contest and GoGetIt .com as the wild card.
“We want to recreate this competition on regional level so that once people are entering, they would have already been vetted by the local community and are prepared to fight competitors who are also at the top of their game,” said Prell.
“We have a man from China willing to translate the competition to all Chinese languages and dialects, Alberto and Oscar wanting to take over Latin America in addition to two dozen other international VC’s wanting to bring this to their home countries or towns.”
The Alvarez brothers say that helping bring their experience to the Latin America’s startup community is their ultimate goal in addition to making GoGetIt.com a success. “It’s very challenging for startups in Latin America, there’s nothing like Silicon Valley there and that’s why we want to build a community with resources to show everyone that yes, you can do this!”
With involvement and passion from people like the Alvarez brothers it’s clear to see that as Agora Startup Idol prepares for the upcoming second season, the competition has already accomplished the goal of creating a valuable resource for startups from San Jose to Panama City and beyond.
For more about Agora Startup Idol visit: http://agorastartupidol.com/
HOW COOL IS THIS!
Vitual Pich contest with a Virtual set!
We are getting better the closer we get to the Finals (& the WRAPUP PARTY!!)
We hid a promo code for a free party ticket somewhere in the video - can you find it???
Startups Celebrate Ultimate Battle in High Style May 1
Agora Startup Idol is wrapping up its 1st season with an awe inspiring group of Startups that battled it out to get a spot in the coveted Starting 64 on April 3rd – 6th. 32 survived to make it to April 10th and 11th. The survivors where cut in half for the Sweet 16 on April 17th. Only two from every heat moved on to the Elite 8 on April 24th. Only 4 will make it to the Finals on May 1st to present to our esteemed panel of judges. After the broadcast, the crew is going to break down at Hacker Dojo and head over to Pure Lounge at 146 s. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale, CA.
Come celebrate the conclusion of the first season with the cast, crew, local contestants and as many of the Judges as we can round up.
We will webcast the “People’s Choice Awards” from the party!
We have fought through 20 heats so far to make it through the Starting 64 and the surviving 32. We are now down to the Sweet 16 Tuesday April 17th at 1pm PDT on www.AgoraStartupIdol.com.
Heat 1 @ 1pm PST
Heat 2 @ 2pm PST
Heat 3 @ 3pm PST
Heat 4 @ 4pm PST
Please login and click the “Subscribe” button to help them win.
The company with the most subscribers through the system earns a “Golden Ticket” to the finals!
The goal is to get them 100,000 subscribers by May 1st, and that begins with you. If you like any of the startups use the share buttons (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) to share them with your social groups.
Wow what a week!
We now know why no one has ever done this before.
But we are committed to work out all the kinks to make this a quality event. The upside is the process is working! People are getting traction and feedback and interacting with professional judges.
The Startup Idol team has worked day and night improving the entire process. Thanks to all who are pitching in to help, we know are going to more to a more professional broadcast tool – Wirecast.
This will allow us to get rid of the bain of my existence a HDMI switch that adds many issues from lag to audio issues etc. And if all goes well we will be able to use the green screen and add into some of the videos people have submitted.
Good luck all – the Surviving 32 , 4/10 & 4/11 at 1pm - 5:30 PST, should be a great show. I want to see how these companies have incorporated in the feedback the judges gave them and what they think of the process.
Remember this only works if whoever watches or read this – go to these companies profiles on AgoraStartupIdol.com, subscribe to them, try them out and bring their friends to do the same.
Thank you – lets get ready to rumble!
We have selected the AgoraStartupIdol.com’ Starting 64 for our 1st season.
Who is seeded #1, who is #64 and why.
Come get rewards from BeInToo.com by watching them compete live on April 3rd- May 1st at 1pm PDT
Getting through the Selection of the Starting 64 was a Murphy’s law in action –“anything that can go wrong will go wrong!” and it did. Good news is we now are fixing the issues and will have a great broadcast on Tuesday April 3, at 1pm PDT.
Thanks to all the volunteers who are helping!
We are helping great companies succeed through traction.
If you have a page up on a crowd sourcing site you want to give a boost, it is a valid entry into AgoraStartupIdol. So if you have a video up and want traction, please sign up and BeInToo, WeVideo and Agora will drive users there and reward them for trying you out.
Agora Startup Idol is proud to be a supporter of the Crowd Funding Bill (The JOBS Act) which just passed the Senate and is expected to become law soon. If, by some miracle, it becomes law before, or during AgoraStartupIdol.com’s first event, Startup contestants can shift their pitches from highlighting their product’s benefits to broadcasting their own Crowd Funding efforts through their pitch on AgoraStartupIdol.
Come support Global Startups! This should get very interesting due to the impending Crowd Funding Bill.
If you love helping Startups, re-post this!
Launched AgoraStartupIdol.com at SXSW. Met hundreds of great people i the startup eco system.
Interviewed Eric Strait of TechHustlers.com at SXSW. He is helping people in the startup eco system. Check them out and help Startups succeed!
We are new and open minded. Just figuring out what works and doesn’t. If you feel this is good for your project, come on in and bring your friends.
“Want to be inspired?” was what I woke up to this morning from
I watched it and now I am ready for the day to help other Startups with Startup Idol.
Save Hacker Dojo!
Talking with Katy Levinson, Director of Hacker Dojo.
We talked about Hacker Dojo’s phenomenal Internet connection and why Agora is hosting its Command Center and Studio for the Daily Wrap up show there. We also address why we only have 25 studio audience tickets available for every day of broadcast. http://agorastartupidol.eventbrite.com/
Katy gives an overview of some of the fundraising efforts you can join to help them raise the $250,000 they need to keep bringing you great large events.
So go to HackerDojo.com and click on “Save the Dojo”