Bloomington-based business incubator and coworking space The Mill is expanding its lineup of pitch competitions for Indiana-based startups. The nonprofit says it is launching a second Crossroads Pitch Competition, which will take place in the spring. The Mill’s signature competition is held in the fall.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, The Mill’s Head of Accelerator Programming Andy Lehman explained why the organization is adding the new event.
“It’s just nuts. There’s so much happening in the startup community across the state,” said Lehman. “We just want to do our part to help to help support it and really see it as that steppingstone.”
The winner of Crossroads receives a prize package of cash and in-kind services valued at over $10,000, as well as priority consideration to pitch at Elevate Ventures’ Nexus Pitch Competition for the chance to win up to $80,000 more.
“Fast access to capital is essential to startup growth,” said Lehman. “Founders can’t afford to wait a whole year for the next Crossroads. We’re adding a spring event to expand the window of opportunity and grow Indiana’s innovation economy.”
Past winners include ArcticRX, a reusable, refrigerated shipping pod that may solve a global problem of transporting vaccines to remote areas. It won top honors last fall.
The fall 2020 winner was Stagetime, a networking platform for the performing arts. Because of its win at the Crossroads competition, Stagetime went on to close a $1.55 million seed round.
“I think that’s validation for us that what we’re doing is is helpful and supportive, and that we’re able to see that success post competition<” said Lehman.
Lehman says the fall competition used receives 50 contestants, but the list is pared to 30 competitors. He hopes to draw a similar number for the new spring competition, which is now taking applications. The deadline to enter is January 31.
To compete at Crossroads, startups must be based in Indiana and have annual recurring revenue of under $250,000. Applicants submit an executive summary, a pitch deck, and a 3-5 minute pitch video.
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