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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Challenge Updates

Don't Forget! Finalist Submissions Due TOMORROW- 2/20 by 11:59 PM

Feb. 19, 2018, 5 a.m. PST by Natalie Betts

Make sure you complete and submit your finalist application on HeroX by tomorrow, Tuesday, February 20th at 11:59 PM Central time. No submissions will be accepted after this deadline, and teams not submitting will not be considered to advance to the finals.

As you fill out the finalist application, keep the judging criteria in mind. And if you feel stuck, keep the prizes that await you in mind to push you through the finish line.

Finalists will be announced on Friday, February 23rd.

Questions? Check here, check the FAQ, post a question in the forum, or .

Important Update Regarding Stillage Reuse

Feb. 16, 2018, 10:12 a.m. PST by Natalie Betts

Austin Resource Recovery had a 3rd-party testing laboratory perform analysis on stillage from Still Austin Whiskey after concern about possible high concentrations of copper within the stillage. Results of the testing are available in the "Resources" tab. The presence of copper does not mean the material cannot be reused. Competitors should be mindful of the presence of copper in the material and consult the appropriate authorities in order to ensure that the end use and disposal of waste or byproduct of the material complies with environmental and health standards.

An example of a use requirement is a  Land Application Permit at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) (Form 10411 and Form 10055). Additional sources of requirements, depending on desired future use, are available from the Texas Department of Agriculture and Texas Department of Health and Human Services. Technical experts are available at the applicable regulating agency to assist you with your reuse plans.

Please if you have any questions or concerns. 

Prize Spotlight: Coaching & Education

Feb. 12, 2018, 10 p.m. PST by Natalie Betts

Hello Competitors,

You're in the final stretch! As you push through this last week of idea refinement before you submit, keep in mind the rewards that await. On top of the cash prizes of $7,500-$12,500 for each winner, both award winners will receive ongoing guidance and support from local experts.

Both winners will receive a coaching session from Assemble to make progress on a current challenge, learn something new, and get a sense of how you could better design collaboration with your team. 

Both winners will also be able to sit down with a loan officer at American Bank to review financials and understand what the winner would need to do in order to be bankable. 

In addition, the Seed Stage winner will receive a two free small business skills classes from the City of Austin Small Business Program. And once they are ready to promote their new business, the Seed Stage winner can take advantage of a $250 promotional materials package from BuildASign.

Learn more about all the prizes available at

Good luck!

Reminder: Group Mentoring Session- Last Chance to Register

Feb. 11, 2018, 6 a.m. PST by Natalie Betts

Hello Competitors,

The Group Mentoring Session will be held tomorrow, February 12th from 6PM-8:30PM at the Entrepreneur Center of Austin, located at 4029 S Capital of Texas Hwy Austin, TX 78704. This session is optional but highly encouraged. It is a great chance to get feedback on your idea before you submit your finalist application next week.

You must register to attend the group mentoring session through Eventbrite (Password = reverse2018). Registration will close at the end of the day today.

Please RSVP only if you can commit to attending. We're asking mentors to volunteer their evening to meet with competitors and we want to have an accurate attendee count beforehand.

The agenda for the group mentoring will be as follows:

  • 6:00-6:15 Welcome and overview of the evening’s agenda and format
  • 6:15-6:25 Mentor Introductions
  • 6:25-6:30 Break out into groups
  • 6:30-7:15 Round I: Three minute pitches*, three minutes Q&A, four minutes of constructive feedback
  • 7:15-7:20 Competitors rotate to different group of mentors
  • 7:20-8:05 Round II: Three minute pitches*, three minutes Q&A, four minutes of constructive feedback
  • 8:05 – 8:20 Recount learnings and close

Suggested pitch format (alternative formats okay):

  • Competitor and company/brand/ etc. introduction (10- 20 seconds)
  • Environmental (zero-waste) challenge overview (30 seconds)
  • Product concept and business model overview (30 – 60 seconds)
  • Target customer description ( 30 – 45 seconds)
  • Call to action (what do you want from your audience) and close (15 – 25 seconds)

*If selected as a finalist, you will have 6 minutes to pitch in front of the [Re]Verse Pitch judges. The shorter pitches during this session facilitates more opportunities for feedback and are a helpful step in determining what to focus or clarify in your 6 minute pitch.

Have you contacted an expert [Re]Verse Pitch advisor yet?

Feb. 9, 2018, 6 a.m. PST by Natalie Betts

Don't forget: in addition to your awesome mentors, there are expert advisors standing by to help you with your finalist application. Our advisors include a scientific glassblower, a company CEO, City of Austin and Travis County sustainability officials, and a global textile industry non-profit representative, a digital markering expert, and a logistics operations lead.

Make the most of this opportunity by asking them questions that will strengthen your finalist application! Advisor contact sheets were emailed to you with your mentor introduction, and advisor bios are available here (scroll to Advisors section). 

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