Innovation Prize Competitors: What to Expect

We’re so excited you’ve decided to compete in the 2018 [Re]Verse Pitch Competition! Here’s what to expect in the competition and when to expect it:

Now- January 17: Learn About the Byproducts & Competition Rules

Look at the byproduct materials videos and information available at Your idea must use one or more of these materials as a main input to be eligible to win this competition. This is also a good time to familiarize yourself with the available prizes, determine which award category you will be eligible to enter, and review the prize match policies (Seed and Growth- updated 1/10/18) and prize winner agreement.

Now-January 17: Create HeroX Account & Team

Create your HeroX account, so you’ll be ready to post your repurposing ideas. To create an account, click the BECOME A HERO link at the top of the [Re]Verse Pitch 2018 page. Then click the ‘new user’ hyperlink. Create your account by entering your first name, last name, email and password. It’s 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.

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

January 17: Opening Pitch

RSVP for and attend the opening pitch event at Atlassian, 6:30-8:30 pm, to hear from material suppliers about the byproducts with which you will create a 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 6:00 and 6:15 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.

January 23: Ideation Workshop

This free ideation workshop offered exclusively for [Re]Verse Pitch Competitors will equip you with knowledge and techniques to more quickly turn your ideas into revenue generating businesses. Register for this workshop by clicking here and entering the password "reverse2018." Attending this workshop is optional but highly encouraged. 

January 25: Upload Short Description & Mentor Request

By January 25, you must post a short description of your idea (1-2 sentences is sufficient) and a mentorship request on HeroX. You must meet this deadline to continue in the competition. You will also be asked to identify whether you are a Seed or Growth stage competitor. 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 allowed to post more than one idea description, and you can change or pivot your idea between this submission and your finalist application. 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.

January 26: Mentor Match

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

January 26- February 20: Refine Your Concept & Craft Your Pitch

You and your mentor will work independently to schedule mentoring sessions over these 3.5 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 or technical questions about their area of expertise. Use the Judging Criteria to guide your refinement process.

February 12: Group Mentoring Session

The [Re]verse Pitch Group Mentoring Session will help you prepare for an in-person pitch presentation. Competitors will work with mentors in a facilitated group discussion. You will leave the session more confident in how you will articulate their value propositions, customer segments and social impact. Register for the event here with password "reverse2018." Attending this session is optional but highly encouraged. 

February 20: Finalist Application Deadline

In order to be considered to become a finalist and pitch on March 7th, 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.

Finalist application scores will be comprised of the following (40 points max):

  1. The average judge score, using the Judging Criteria
  2. The material difficulty bonus points. Because there are varying degrees of difficulty related to repurposing the materials in the competition, points will be awarded to those competitors who proposes to repurpose a more challenging item, as follows:
    1. Pressboard Furniture: 5 points
    2. Oyster Shells: 4 points
    3. Wet stillage: 3 points
    4. PVC records: 2 points
    5. Safety straps: 1 points

February 21-22: Finalist Selection

Judges will score the ideas to select finalists based on the information submitted to HeroX.

    February 23-March 6: Practice The Pitch

    If you are selected as a finalist, work with your mentor to refine & practice a 6-minute pitch. You can use this Slide Deck Template to create your presentation.

    March 1: 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 from a mock judging panel of UT business school faculty and advisors.

    March 7: Final Pitch Event

    4 finalists in each category 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 winners of the Innovation Prizes. 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. Judges will have 4 minutes for Q&A. The winners will be announced at the event. 

    March 7 & 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 Program Manager, for assistance at and take advantage of the City of Austin’s small business start-up resources