Innovation Prize Competitors: What to Expect

We’re so excited you’ve decided to compete in the 2016 [Re]Verse Pitch Competition! Here’s what to expect in the competition and when to expect it:

Now- October 11: Learn About the Byproducts

Look at the byproduct materials videos and information available at

Now-October 11: Create HeroX Account & Team; Join Slack

Create your HeroX account, so you’ll be ready to post your repurposing ideas after the pitch. To create an account, click the SIGN IN link at the top of the Home page. Then click the ‘new user’ hyperlink. Create your account by entering your first name, last name, email and password. It’s totally free to create a HeroX account.

If you will be working in a team, click here to read instructions on how to create your team within HeroX.

We have also created a Slack channel for your optional use for collaboration. If you haven't received a Slack invitation, email Lance McNeill at to get an invitation.

If you have any technical issues with HeroX or Slack, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Lance and he will help you through the process. 

October 11: Opening Pitch

Attend the opening pitch event at Atlassian, 6-8 pm, to hear from material suppliers about the byproducts with which you will create a new business concept. You will have the chance to ask questions and network with material suppliers at the event. Attendance is mandatory to advance in the competition. Make sure you get checked in at the event, and please arrive early--between 5:30 and 5:45 pm. If you are working in a team, at least one of your team members must attend this event. We prefer that one of the event-attending team members be the team creator or "Captain" when you form your team on HeroX.

October 18: Upload Short Description & Mentor Request

By October 18, post a short description of your idea (1-2 sentences is sufficient) and mentorship requests on HeroX. You may request a specific mentor (see bios of the mentors at or request specific expertise areas (sales, manufacturing, marketing, etc.). We will do our best to accommodate requests and match you with a mentor that meets your needs, but cannot guarantee you’ll receive your requested mentor.

At this stage, you are welcome (and encouraged!) to post more than one idea description and for multiple materials. However, each entrepreneur/team will be matched with one mentor only, not with one mentor per idea submitted. In addition, each entrepreneur/team will only be able to submit one idea at the finalist application stage.

October 21: Mentor Match

You’ll be matched with your mentor by this date through an email introduction.

October 21 - November 18: Refine Your Concept & Craft Your Pitch

You and your mentor will work independently to schedule mentoring sessions over these 4 weeks to refine your business idea(s). Your mentors have committed to at least 5 hours of mentoring time with you. Some mentors may be willing to meet more often or provide more feedback, but please be sensitive and respectful of their time.

During this time you also have access to the expertise of our technical advisors. You can reach out to advisors to ask specific questions about the environmental impact of your proposed idea, technical questions, get creative/aesthetic advice, etc. Use the Judging Criteria to guide your refinement process.

November 18: Finalist Application Deadline

In order to be considered to become a finalist and pitch on December 6th, your idea must pass through an initial assessment by our judges. At this stage, you’ll be asked to fill out specific questions related to the Judging Criteria.

November 21-22: Finalist Selection

Judges will score the ideas to select finalists. They will use the Judging Criteria. To encourage a diversity of material types to be represented in the finals, ideas will also be assigned points based on the material used, with 5 points being assigned to ideas using the material with the fewest ideas submitted, 4 points to ideas using the material with the second fewest ideas submitted, and so on. Judges will base their votes on the materials and information competitors upload to HeroX, so make sure you’ve addressed all the judge’s criteria in your HeroX submission.

November 23-December 6: Practice The Pitch

If you are selected as a finalist, work with your mentor to refine & practice a 6-minute pitch. Please utilize this Slide Deck Template to craft the presentation.

November 30th: Final Pitch Rehearsal

All finalists will gather for a rehearsal of the final pitch event where they will have a chance to practice their pitches and receive feedback.

December 6: Final Pitch Event

Finalists will pitch their business concepts to our judging panel and audience members at our final event. Please review the Judging Criteria which will be used to choose the winner of the Innovation Prize. All pitches will be videoed and uploaded to after the event.

Finalists will have 6 minutes to pitch, and should address each of the judging criteria areas: environmental impact, market viability, and economic development. Judges will have 4 minutes for Q&A. The winners will be announced at the event. There will be a grand prize, second prize, and People’s Choice honorable mention awarded.

December 6 & Beyond: Make Your Idea a Reality!

Whether you win an Innovation Prize or not, we hope you turn your repurposing idea into reality! You can contact Natalie Betts, the Recycling Economic Development Liaison, for assistance at and take advantage of the City of Austin’s small business start-up resources

The winner of the grand Innovation Prize will receive half of the cash prize, plus the in-kind prizes, upfront and will need to raise matching funds by August 15, 2017 in order to receive the remaining funds. See the Match Policy for more information.