Venture Madness 2019 - Invest Southwest

Invest Southwest Announces Venture Madness 2019 Competition for the Valley’s Most Promising Companies

Call for entries opens December 14, 2018 with $60,000 in cash prizes, and exclusive access to the Southwest’s most active institutional and angel investors

PHOENIX (Nov. 19, 2018) – Invest Southwest today announces the call for applications for the 2019 Venture Madness Conference will begin December 14, 2018 and run through January 10, 2019. Companies gaining market traction are encouraged to apply to compete as one of 24-36 entrants who will live-pitch their unique value for a chance to win a portion of the $60,000 cash prizes, mentorship from seasoned entrepreneurs, executives and investors and exclusive access to active institutional and angel investor judges and attendees from throughout the Southwest.

“Venture Madness is the go-to competition for startups and emerging growth companies who have proven initial market demand and are eager to advance to the next level,” says Ryan Edwards, 2019 chairman of Invest Southwest and managing director of technology banking at Silicon Valley Bank. “Venture Madness connects growing companies with investors to create key relationships that often result in accelerating their growth. We even see applicants that don’t win still make incredibly meaningful connections and gain invaluable exposure that helps advance their growth and funding objectives down the road–so there’s a lot of benefit to applying and getting to the live event overall.”

The upcoming event will open with a networking reception the night of Feb. 27, 2019 at Galvanize Phoenix, and a one-day pitch event the following day at Events on Jackson, in the historic warehouse district of Downtown Phoenix. The 24-36 applicants that make it through the two initial judging rounds in January will win a spot to participate in the live event, and pitch their way to victory against other contenders in their category.

This year’s six categories are:

  • SaaS / Software in process of developing product, validating market demand and generating consistent revenue
  • Deep Tech/Hardware/IoTbuilding physical products or hardware/software products
  • Institutional Tech (Fintech, Blockchain, Cyber, Ed Tech) – in process of developing technology, validating market fit and generating consistent revenue
  • Growth growing technology companies across categories generating a minimum of $3MM in annual revenue
  • Biotech/Healthcare/Life Scienceshealthcare and life sciences companies with a pre- or post-FDA / regulatory approval offering solutions designed to improve health and quality of life
  • Consumertechnology companies delivering products/services to individuals and/or households via software or mobile devices

The annual event is presented in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority and attracts the most renowned venture capital, angel and institutional investors as well as community focused sponsors and CEOs from the region.

The finalists will be announced the week of January 28, 2019. Each will partake in expert mentor sessions throughout February in preparation for the event

“We’re proud of the fact that Invest Southwest has helped raise over $300 million for startups since inception, and our signature event is a big part of that,” said Karen Katzorke, executive director of Invest Southwest. “One of the best aspects of the competition and this organization is that it brings our entrepreneurial community together. It’s really the ‘connective tissue’ that creates mutually beneficial relationships across key audiences.”

To apply for Venture Madness starting on December 14, please visit the Venture Madness website. Interested companies can also register now for a free Get Ready Seminar on December 7, designed to help companies hone their application and pitch for the Venture Madness competition. If you are interested in sponsorship, please visit the Venture Madness sponsorship webpage to download the 2019 sponsor toolkit or to apply to become a sponsor. Companies can also contact Karen Katzorke at, with any questions.

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