City of Austin

2018 [Re]verse Pitch Competition

2018 [Re]verse Pitch Competition

Austin, TX event series to turn valuable raw materials leaving businesses & non-profits as waste into foundations of new social enterprises.

Challenge Overview

[Re]verse Pitch Competition

The [Re]verse Pitch Competition, through a series of events and an innovation prize, inspires  social entrepreneurs in Austin, Texas to help solve local zero waste challenges.

Entrepreneurs are used to pitching their business idea to investors, partners, and anyone they might share an elevator ride with. In this competition, the tables will turn. The [Re]Verse Pitch Competition is a social innovation program to help turn valuable raw materials that are currently leaving local businesses, non-profits, and institutions as waste into the foundation of new social enterprises. Materials leaving these organizations and entering the waste stream is the problem we're trying to solve and we're pitching to you, the social entrepreneurs of Austin, to help create a solution!

Competitors work with mentors & advisors to develop repurposing business ideas and compete for Innovation Prizes to help start this new venture.

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Frequently Asked Questions

All competitors must submit a concept statement by 11:59PM on January 25th. Submissions received after that will not be accepted. Your concept statement is a 1-2 sentence explanation of the idea you intend to pursue and the material(s) you plan to work with. This helps us with your mentor match, but you are not held to this early idea, and you can decide before the finalist submission deadline on February 20th to pivot or iterate on your original concept.

Many Seed stage businesses will be strictly in the idea or planning phase for a new business. A seed stage business isn't typically already generating revenue and is still developing a lot of their business infrastructure (website, marketing strategy, bookkeeping process, business filings, etc.)

Growth stage businesses, on the otherhand, have been generating revenue (as of January 2018) and have invested in developing the infrastructure they need to operate their business. Even if you're looking to create a new product with materials from the [Re]verse Pitch, if it's still relevant to your existing business operations, then you're still considered a growth-stage business. If you have questions about your specific situation, please email or call him at 512-974-7873 to discuss further.

You can also view more information on these categories here.

If you have a question not answered in the FAQ, we recommend that you post it in the Forum where someone will respond to you. This way, others who may have the same question will be able to see it.


Attendance by at least 1 member of each competing team at the opening pitch event is MANDATORY for advancing in the competition, and the event is in downtown Austin. Don’t let rush hour get in the way of you being eligible to win up to $12,500! Plan now for how you will get to the event, and plan to arrive between 6-6:15 pm (event starts at 6:30). There are ample public transportation options near Atlassian, and validated parking will be available in the City Hall Garage which is on Guadalupe between 2nd and Cesar Chavez.

For the [Re]verse Pitch Competition's purposes, a mentor is a generalist with a relevant business background that works exclusively with one or two competitors or teams. They're skilled at helping you turn your idea into a winning pitch and think through various aspects of starting a new businesss.


An advisor, is someone with deeper technical knowledge or expertise. For example, we have advisors with backgrounds in textiles. They understand textile materials at a deep level and can help you with specific questions about materials. Advisors are available to help answer questions by all competitors and don't work exclusively with any one competitor or team.


Check out the bios of this year's mentors and advisors at

We hope that you grow and scale your business up and realize that you may grow beyond our borders. We do not require that all the company’s investment happen in Austin as you grow, only that you establish the initial manufacturing operation and headquarters for the business you proposed in [Re]Verse Pitch within the Austin city limits.  

While we encourage you to look for local suppliers first, and using local suppliers will positively impact your economic development score (#7 in the Judging Criteria), we realize that you may need to source from beyond Austin, and this is allowed. The minimum requirement is that you make use of a byproduct material pitched during the [Re]Verse Pitch Competition as a main input to the product. As this is a waste diversion competition, we strongly encourage you to design your product or solution to divert as much of the byproduct material as possible.


Yes, but it’s quick and easy. Just click the “Join Us” button at the top of the page and follow the instructions to complete your registration. All you need to provide is your name and email address.

Yes. You must use at least 1 material pitched by the 2018 [RE]Verse Pitch Material Suppliers (see and it must be a main input in your business idea. Using more than 1 of these materials is allowed.