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Tech Firms Compete to Pitch Perfect

If you’re an entrepreneur with an early-stage technology company and want to see if your investor presentation has the right stuff, you should think about applying for the 2011 Five-Minute Pitch Contest held by the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Venture Forum.

The pitch contest is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to get focused exposure for their business,” said Daniel Young, a technology specialist with co-sponsor Wolf Greenfield & Sacks, a Boston intellectual property law firm. “We are excited about introducing a mentorship program this year to assist entrepreneurs with refining their pitch.”

Applications, which must be submitted by April 29, will be evaluated anonymously by a group of area business leaders. Ten finalists will be invited to compete at the Venture Forum's final meeting of the season on June 14 and will receive mentoring from experts and will compete for a monetary prize.

Although the competition is held in central Massachusetts, it is open to applicants from any part of the country, organizers said.

In the final round, each company will have five minutes to pitch its business to a panel of expert judges and a large WPI Venture Forum audience. Companies will be evaluated on the strength of their business model, application of innovation, market opportunity, competitive advantage and quality, breadth and experience of their leadership team.

Companies in this year’s competition will be in proud company. Previous entrants have included Resolute Marine Energy, whose technology is designed to harvest energy from ocean waves, and Owl Power, whose Vegawatt cogeneration system converts restaurant waste cooking oil into fuel that generates electricity and lowers utility bills.

“Our fifth annual Pitch Contest is a key part of our commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and the growth of technology-based businesses,” said Gina Betti, administrative director of WPI Venture Forum.

“Among case presenters, I’d say our superstars of recent note are Mass Megawatts and Moobella,” Betti told BusinessNewsDaily.

Mass Megawatts develops wind power technology while Moobella manufactures machines that create ice cream on demand.

"Having a powerful, targeted message that is appealing to prospective investors and customers is essential to the success of any business,” said Justin Nesbit, an attorney with co-sponsor Gesmer Updegrove, a Boston law firm for technology companies and emerging businesses.  “This pitch contest offers a tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs to develop their pitch and deliver it in front of a receptive audience."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.