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Innovation & Job News

Second annual SwitchPitch event brings pitches from sports and media

Demian Perry, director of mobile for NPR, pitches his project to a room full of startups at SwitchPitch

D.C.'s second annual SwitchPitch was held yesterday at Arena Stage in Southwest. The reverse pitch event, which invites large corporations to spend five minutes pitching a project to startups, is produced by District-based B2C accelerator Exhilarator. NPR, PBS, The Washington Post, Monumental Sports and Washington's football team were among the corporations presenting challenges yesterday.
Yesterday's event is the fourth SwitchPitch overall; Michael Goldstein, CEO of Exhilarator, has produced other events in New York and Miami as well as last year's D.C. event. Twelve deals have been signed from the first two events, resulting in $1.2 million in revenue for startups, he said. 

The projects themselves ran the gamut of data analytics projects, video rendering issues, and general PR challenges. NPR wants to create a "Pandora for news" and is looking for analytics help in "parsing the data, creating actionable insights," protecting data and sharing it in two directions.

Monumental Sports
, the company that owns the Washington Wizards, Capitals, Mystics and Verizon Center, needs help reducing rendering times for their many video feeds. The Washington Post wants to get ahead of the curve and be able to predict what content will go viral before it happens. PBS wants help creating a digital marketing strategy. And Washington's football team is looking to improve fans' game-day experiences, both inside the stadium and virtually.
Following the presentation of the projects, startups head online to submit their solutions to the projects presented. Those who attended SwitchPitch yesterday can submit their solutions for free; any other startups interested submitting can pay $95 per project submission. Goldstein estimated that last year, 20 companies submitted for every one project pitched and the process of a company choosing a startup to work with took about two months.

The online submission portal is new for this year's SwitchPitch event in D.C. Last year, all follow-up took place offline, and Goldstein says that moving some of the process online has facilitated more business taking place between startups and corporations.
"Things are different from five years ago," Goldstein said. "We are innovating faster, and the cost to innovate is less." 

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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