Almost every entrepreneur (82%) starts a company to solve a problem.
The Kauffman Foundation has uncovered exceptionally high vision and commitment among those who move an idea to the market. Innovators are motivated by a desire to make a difference in the world and see their business as a way to do it. The ones most likely to succeed also report a passion for the problem they're solving.
Tom Brady opened the eMerge Americas conference in Miami with his observation about challenges and opportunities. It was spot on. Over the two days of the conference, 100 entrepreneurs proved that through the right lens, problems and challenges are potent fodder for creativity, tenacity, intellect, and engineering. They proudly presented and pitched their innovative businesses with a mix of excitement and exhaustion.
BIP Ventures' massive presence at the conference culminated in a special eMerge Showcase x Startup Showdown Pitch Competition. We put on the live pitch competition in partnership with eMerge and Florida Funders. It was a standing-room-only event, which meant that the five passionate, problem-driven founders who earned their spot on stage pitched their ideas to an audience of thousands.
Their journey to the stage was almost as impressive as their pitches. Three hundred startups applied to be part of eMerge. One hundred were selected to attend the conference and exhibit their businesses in 'Startup Alley.' And through a series of pitches (university, early-stage, and late-stage qualifying rounds), five earned their spot as a finalist for the eMerge Showcase x Startup Showdown Pitch Competition. They were:
These tenacious problem-solvers shared their businesses with the audience and three high-caliber judges: Dr. Paul Judge (Open Opportunity Fund), Felecia Hatcher (Black Ambition), and Ryan Whittemore (Florida Funders). The stakes were high - a $420,000 investment prize.
Words of Wisdom from Soarce Co-founder and COO Mason Mincey
[video width="3840" height="2160" mp4="https://panoramic.vc/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Masons-Story-Clip.mp4"][/video]
Why Startup Showdown?
BIP Ventures is a team of builders, doers, and problem-solvers who believe in pursuing opportunities and solving problems. More than that, we believe in people who identify a problem or opportunity and have the courage and diligence to do what it takes to take it forward. These aren't dreamers or 'wantrepreneurs.' They are entrepreneurs who understand the honor of trying and failing and striving to build and grow a thriving company.
We share their passion for solving vexing challenges. We respect how difficult it is to launch and scale a business. Through pitch events, tailored advisory offerings like Performance Engineering, and proprietary technology that supplies actual performance data our portfolio companies can use to build strategy, we are investing in them. Entrepreneurs like Milton from Soarce prove through their actions that they are willing to commit everything they have to advance a market-defining business. So are we.
Startup Showdown and events like eMerge and Venture Atlanta are forums and resources entrepreneurs need to achieve their vision of success. Over almost two decades of investing in innovators, we have seen that the combination of mentoring, a public platform, and strong private capital investment capacity is necessary to help founders increase (and often accelerate) the odds of a successful outcome.
BIP Ventures is passionate about supporting the health and growth of every member of the innovation community. The resilience of this economy is one of the challenges (opportunities!) that launched our company 17 years ago and has continued to move us forward. Like the innovators we have the privilege to partner with, we're unwavering in our determination and heads down, doing the work.
Check out our social feed for highlights from eMerge.
Apply to pitch at Startup Showdown.
Dig into our blog to capture a wealth of information and education from SMEs across the BIP Ventures team on topics ranging from establishing KPIs and ICPs to knowing how to hire and retain the absolute right people.
*Credit: David Sutta Photography and Films