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Innovation & Job News

Startup Jackpot event to give away $10K to best problem-solving idea

When a handful of D.C. entrepreneurs set out to create an event that would bring the most value, they decided it should incorporate peer-to-peer networking, learning — oh, and giving away some money.

The pot o’ gold at the first Startup Jackpot event on April 13 will be $10,000, given away to the start-up with an idea or problem that would most benefit from a cash infusion.

“The idea is they’re not just pitching their idea. They’re pitching their problem and why the money would be helpful in solving it,” said Noah Karesh, co-founder of Feastly, Inc., one of the event organizers. His start-up uses technology to connect D.C. eaters to cooks opening up their homes.

The money comes from admissions to the event — which range from $45 to attend to $250 for investors’ tickets — and from a handful of event sponsors, including Pillsbury Law, Microsoft Outlook and Relay Foods.

Karesh, who organized the event with entrepreneurs from Eventstir, Startup Weekend DC and GradeNinja, said one goal of the Startup Jackpot is to help bridge the gap of financial resources and to “spark more of an entrepreneur ecosystem in D.C.”

Organizers also want the event to be a learning opportunity, one that focuses not just on well-polished pitches but on real entrepreneurs sharing the real mistakes they’ve made.

“We really wanted to talk about failure and celebrate it and look at it in terms of the scientific aspect — that failure creates more advancements,” Karesh said.

Speakers at the event hail from big startups like Twitter and Etsy as well as locally grown companies like Contactually and Relay Foods. Eric Koester of Zaarly will talk about all the things he’s done wrong (according to the not-for-print title of his speech).

The event will be held at Canvas Co/work on the 3rd floor at 1203 19th St. NW. There are still openings for innovators looking to pitch their ideas, who can register online.

Read more articles by Whitney Pipkin.

Whitney Pipkin is a freelance journalist who covers food, agriculture, and the environment and lives in Alexandria, Va. She writes about food, etc. at thinkabouteat.com.
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