City of Austin

 4,854

2020 [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.
stage:
Won
prize:
$20,000
Overview

Challenge Overview

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

Please note: This challenge is only open to individuals and businesses in Austin, TX who attended the opening pitch event on Feb. 10th.

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.

If you have questions about this competition, please email info@austinyoungchamber.org.

Guidelines

Challenge Guidelines

[Re]verse Pitch Prize Winner Agreement

The [Re]Verse Pitch Competition is being held by the City of Austin in order to further the City of Austin’s Zero Waste goals and support entrepreneurial innovation and small business growth. This Agreement is between the City of Austin and the winner of the [Re]Verse Pitch Competition.

In order to participate in the final competition of the [Re]verse Pitch, the winner must agree that if he/she wins the competition he/she will only be awarded the innovation prize and be considered eligible for the matched funding based upon the following:

I have read, understood and agree to the Prize Match Policy (attached).

I agree to register my business in the State of Texas. (For more information on options and how to register, please visit the Secretary of State’s website.)

I agree to register as a vendor with the City of Austin.

I agree to use all funds received from the Prize and Match directly toward establishing and growing the business that was pitched at the [Re]verse Pitch Competition.

I agree to establish the business operation pitched in the [Re]Verse Pitch Competition, including manufacturing, in the City of Austin.

I have read and understand the City of Austin’s Zero Waste goals and agree to strive toward aligning my business operations with those goals and those of the Environmental Protection Agency’s waste hierarchy.

Because I was awarded public funds to help solve a public challenge, I agree to track certain outputs and outcomes, such as the amount of waste my business diverts annually and I agree to report this data to the City of Austin for at least two years following the event so that the information may be shared with the public.

I agree to use all funds received from the City of Austin solely for the business operation pitched at the [Re]verse Pitch Competition and will submit a notarized affidavit attesting to that fact every year for the first two years after obtaining the City of Austin’s matched funds.

I agree to provide the City of Austin at least one written and/or video testimonial about the [Re]verse Pitch Competition and participate upon request in at least one related promotional activity, associated with the City’s Recycling Economic Development initiatives.

I agree that the distribution of any prize and/or matched funds is at the sole discretion of the City of Austin.

I affirm that I own the intellectual property needed to successfully conduct the business operation I am pitching in the [Re]Verse Pitch Competition.

I agree the City of Austin, at its discretion, may request proof that the City’s matched funds are being used solely for expenses related to the business that was pitched at the [Re]Verse Pitch Competition, [DESCRIBE SPECIFIC MATERIAL AND END USE HERE] in the City limits of Austin, Texas,  in the form of receipts for such business expenses.

I agree that if the City of Austin determines that I have violated this Agreement, the City of Austin has the right to refuse to disburse any remaining funds and may demand the return of funds previously disbursed to me. I agree that if the City of Austin demands the return of funds previously disbursed to me, I shall return them promptly.

I agree that this Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of Texas. If the final judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction invalidates any part of this Agreement, I agree that the remaining parts shall be enforced, to the extent possible, consistent with the intent of the parties as evidenced by this Agreement. To the extent allowed by Texas law, I agree that the City of Austin and I will be responsible for our own respective proportionate share of liability for damages arising out of or connected to negligent acts or omissions in connection with this Agreement, as determined by a court of competent law.

The following individuals are authorized to represent the winning company, ____________:

Primary Contact:

        Name:_________________

        Email Address: _________________

        Secondary Email Address: _________________

        Phone: _________________

        Secondary Phone: _________________

Additional Authorized Representatives:

        Name: _________________

        Email Address: _________________

        Secondary Email Address: _________________

        Phone: _________________

        Secondary Phone: _________________

        Name: _________________

        Email Address: _________________

        Secondary Email Address: _________________

        Phone: _________________

        Secondary Phone: _________________

        Name: _________________

        Email Address: _________________

        Secondary Email Address: _________________

        Phone: _________________

        Secondary Phone: _________________

I have read, understood, and agree to the above conditions.

 

[Re]Verse Pitch Competition Prize Match Policy

The winner of the [Re]Verse Pitch Competition will be selected by a panel of judges who will rate each participant based on criteria established by the City of Austin. The [Re]Verse Pitch prize is funded by the City of Austin for the municipal purpose of achieving its economic development and Zero Waste Goals. This policy warrants certain controls on the release and use of these funds to ensure that the municipal value is of equal or greater value than the financial expenditure.

To be eligible for any prize funds, the [Re]Verse Pitch winner must register as a vendor with the City of Austin and submit an invoice on company letterhead to Austin Resource Recovery[i]. The City will start to process the check for the winner for $5,000 (50% of the total prize amount) after the winner registers as a vendor and submits a completed, signed Prize Winner Agreement. Any in-kind prizes will be available to the winner directly from the in-kind sponsor at this time as well after these requirements are met. 

Different eligibility requirements apply for the matched funds for the Seed Stage and Growth Stage winners. 

Matched Funds: Seed Stage Award

To receive the remaining $5,000 in matched funds, the Competition Seed Stage winner will have until August 15, 2020, to raise at least $5,000 for the idea that they pitched at the Competition

Any amount less than $5,000 raised on or before the August 15, 2020 deadline will be matched dollar for dollar, but no funds raised after this date will be matched. Matched funds can be raised through any combination of bootstrapping (self-funded), private investment, a loan, a grant or via crowdfunding. The winner must notify Austin Circular Economy Program in writing showing proof that they raised the match requirement and are requesting the matched funding from the City of Austin on or before August 15, 2020, along with an invoice on company letterheadi.

Extensions may be granted on a case-by-case basis. Extensions must be requested in writing no later than July 30, 2020.

Additional eligibility guidelines for each fund-matching method will apply:

Bootstrapping (self-funded): The Competition winner(s) may contribute their own funds to qualify for the match. To be eligible, the winner must provide a signed letter self-certifying that he or she intends to use the contributed funds toward business expenses. In addition, the Competition winner will need to provide proof that the entire prize amount dispersed to the winner has been deposited into a separate business checking or savings account primarily associated with the business pitched at the competition. Bank statements and/or deposit slips will be required as part of that evidence. The funds must be deposited on or before August 15, 2020 to be eligible for the match. The original 50% of the prize cannot count toward the match and the winner must provide proof that they deposited the original 50% of the prize and their own funds equaling up to the remaining 50% to receive the matched funds.

Private investment: Private investment is also eligible for matched funding. The Competition winner must provide proof of the investment with an investor agreement signed by all parties involved and provide proof that the investment has been deposited into a separate business checking or savings account primarily associated with the business pitched at the competition. Bank statements and/or deposit slips will be required as part of that evidence. The funds must be deposited on or before August 15, 2020 to be eligible for the match.

Loan: To be eligible for the remaining 50% match, the Competition winner must show a letter of intent from the lending institution along with the lending institution’s contact information and/or proof that a deposit has been received by the lending institution and deposited into a separate business checking or savings account primarily associated with the business pitched at the competition. Bank statements and/or deposit slips will be required as part of that evidence. The funds must be deposited on or before August 15, 2020to be eligible for the match.

Grant: To be eligible for the remaining 50% match, the Competition winner must show written proof on or before August 15, 2020 from the grant maker that they have been selected to receive grant funding for activities related directly with the business pitched at the competition.

Crowdfunding: To be eligible for the remaining 50% match, the Competition winner may raise funds via crowdfunding. The crowdfunding campaign must end on or before August 15, 2020 and show the amount that has been raised. A link to the successful campaign, bank statements and/or deposit slips will be required as part of that evidence. The crowdfunding platform used to raise funds must be a third party organization with no business affiliation to the Competition winner.

Matched Funds: Growth Stage Award

To receive the remaining 50% of the prize amount, the Competition Growth Stage winner will have until August 15, 2020, to divert a set amount of the waste material pitched at the Competition.

The minimum diversion requirement for each of the material categories will be set at 2,000 pounds or the 3-month total of the material supplied, whichever is the lower of the two options. If the winner is able to divert at least the minimum amount by August 15, 2020 they will be eligible for the remaining 50% of the prize funds. If at least 50% of that amount is diverted by August 15, 2020, the winner will be eligible to receive $2,500. If less than 50% of the minimum amount is diverted before August 15, 2020 deadline, the winner is not eligible for any additional funding. 

Extensions may be granted on a case-by-case basis. Extensions must be requested in writing no later than July 30, 2020.

The minimum diversion requirement for the material categories is below:

Material

Diversion Requirement

Material

Diversion Requirement

Particle Board Furniture

2,000 pounds

Fabric samples

2,000 pounds

Vinyl Records

2,000 pounds

All-purpose PVC sandals

1,140 units

PVC/PET die-cute plastic sheets

2,000 pounds

 

 

If more than one material is used in the winning business idea, the material being diverted in higher quantities will be tracked for the purposes of meeting this requirement. The City of Austin reserves the right to modify the required diversion amount to better reflect a meaningful diversion target for the winner’s business idea on a case-by-case basis. 

The winner must notify the Austin Circular Economy Program in writing showing proof that they met their diversion requirement and are requesting the additional funding from the City of Austin on or before August 15, 2020, along with an invoice on company letterheadi.

Required documentation to demonstrate proof of diversion must include:

  • Written receipts, invoices, or equivalent documentation demonstration the exchange of material between the winner and the material supplier
  • Confirmation by material supplier: A signed letter from the material supplier stating that the required amount of the material pitched by the supplier in the Competition was accepted by the winner
  • Affidavit: A signed, notarized affidavit certifying that the required amount was diverted to the end use pitched by the winner in the Competition
  • Photographs: Photographs of the material as it arrives at the winner’s location and after production into the final product
  • Random site visit: The City of Austin shall have the right to randomly inspect the winner’s location to verify that diversion of the waste material is occurring

[i]Invoices should be sent to  and , with a CC to 
 

For City of Austin Employees: City of Austin Employees may compete in the competition and are eligible for the prize. However, all activities and preparation related to the competition shall take place strictly on the employee's personal time. In addition, no City resources shall be used by an employee for the [Re]verse Pitch Competition, unless that resource is available to all competitors. City employees must also confirm with their supervisor that there would be no conflicts of interest for both secondary employment or doing business with the City should they win the prize and need to register as a vendor to receive the prize funds. Prior to the submission of the semi-finalist application, City employees must have their supervisors email us at circulareconomy@austintexas.gov to confirm their approval for participation in this competition.

Timeline
Forum 4
Teams 51
Entries
Resources
FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

All competitors must submit a concept statement by 11:59PM on Tuesday, March 5th. 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 semi-finalist submission deadline on Thursday, April 4th 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 February 2020) 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 lance.mcneill@austintexas.gov 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.

Yes.

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 $10,000! Please register for the Opening Pitch Event here.

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 http://reversepitch.org/whos-who

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 (#11 & #12 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 2020 [Re]Verse Pitch Material Suppliers (see http://reversepitch.org) and it must be a main input in your business idea. Using more than 1 of these materials is allowed.

The judges will follow the 2020 [Re]Verse Pitch Judging Criteria, available here.