4 things to know in #MiamiTech: Q&A on Rise of the Rest $100K pitch contest & more


1 Have questions? Rise of the Rest has answers about its upcoming contest

The Rise of the Rest tour is coming to Miami May 2 as part of its weeklong Florida tour that also includes Tampa, Orlando, the Space Coast and Puerto Rico. Steve Case’s Revolution puts on the tours — the organization has visited 38 cities so far — to highlight startups and innovation outside the established tech hubs. In each city, Rise of the Rest will host a pitch competition, and the winner in each city will receive a $100,000 investment from Revolution. There will be free events in each city on the tour.

Because the deadline to enter the pitch competition is right around the corner – March 11 — Revolution’s Mark Rucci answered questions in an AMA in Tampa. Here I will bring you highlights from the session.

First and foremost, here are a few basics:

Where to apply: https://riseoftherest.submittable.com/submit . There are no entry fees.

Deadline: March 11

For the Miami event, any startup within 100 miles can apply.  

And here’s an FAQ:  https://www.revolution.com/rise-rest-100k-pitch-competition-

Here’s a recap of the AMA:

Q. What will make my entry stand out?

A. What @RiseOfRest looks for:

Do you have a bold idea that swings for the fences?

Can the idea scale & create jobs?

Does your team have the know-how?

Do you have traction to back it up?

Is your revenue model real & sustainable.

Q. What stage of startups can compete?

A. Pre-seed, seed or Series A.

To date, @RiseOfRest has invested in more than 116 companies in 60+ cities in 2 dozen industries. Our core thesis is geographic, so we look for companies in all industries and verticals, including non-pure tech startups.

Q. What are the terms of the $100k investment prize?

A. If the winner currently has an open round of funding, #RiseofRest will target participation in that round, provided that the round is for preferred equity or convertible securities convertible into preferred equity.

If the company is not currently fundraising outside of the competition, @RiseOfRest will invest via a convertible note: 18-month maturity; 6% simple interest; 20% discount and valuation cap. ROTR also requires certain information rights & participation rights in future rounds.

Investment is subject to standard due diligence procedures and compliance with standard ROTR Seed Fund administrative and reporting requirements.

Q. Will feedback be given live at the pitch event?

A. Each of the 8 finalists will get 4 mins on stage to pitch + 3 mins of Q&A with our judges who will be evaluating all the companies. Those questions should give you a good sense of how the judges are thinking about the company from an investment perspective.

Q. Does Revolution offer feedback even if the startup doesn’t win?

A. Since we are hosting pitch competitions in all 5 cities on tour, the team isn’t able to give feedback on every application. But, we will work with the top 8 finalists in each city in preparation for the pitch, including professional pitch coaching from @GoogleStartups.

Q. Does founder diversity play into the selection process?

A. Great Q! We all know: 75% of VC investment goes to just 3 states, less than 10% goes to women, & less than 1% goes to African American founders. It’s important that we level the playing field by backing entrepreneurs building great companies no matter who they are.

Q. What are some of the companies that have won in the past and what do they do?

A. Take a look at @FreightWaves based in Chattanooga, TN. They were a winner of the $100K pitch competition during ROTR 7.0 & just announced a new round of funding this month — a $21M Series B.

Q. What can all of Florida learn from ecosystems where Rise of the Rest has been?

A. You’ll hear @SteveCase quote this phrase often: if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. It’s important that ecosystems all across Florida & Puerto Rico are working together to create strong regional network density that fuels success.

[Read our previous story about the Rise of the Rest here]

2 Office Depot, Alibaba team up in move that could help small businesses

Office Depot and e-commerce giant Alibaba.com announced Monday they would create an online store to connect Office Depot’s 10 million small business customers with Alibaba’s global network of suppliers, the Sun Sentinel reported.

The new site, alibaba.com/officedepot,  will provide U.S. small businesses with the opportunity to sell their products worldwide or source manufacturers through Alibaba, a global network with 150,000 suppliers, the companies said. Alibaba customers will get exclusive deals from Boca Raton-based Office Depot. Read more here.

3 Impact Miami taking applications for cohort

The third Impact Miami cohort for local, early-stage entrepreneurs who are tackling social and environmental challenges is now open for applications.  

Impact Miami is a Business Model Validation Lab in partnership with Uncharted hosted at the Idea Center of Miami Dade College. The Business Model Validation Lab accelerator is designed to do one thing: provide entrepreneurs with a step-by-step methodology to rapidly and systematically validate their venture’s business model 

The deadline to apply for the 3rd cohort of Impact Miami is March 28. Find out more here: https://theideacenter.co/impactmiami/

4 More startup news

Whereby.us co-founder and CEO Chris Sopher was featured on Jason Calacanis’ podcast, This Week in Startups. Whereby.us was one of four startups featurued, all startups that Calacanis’s syndicate has invested in. … Miami-founded startup HYP3R was named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in the Travel category this year, the second time in a row HYP3R has made the list. The startup is now based in San Francisco. .. Fort Lauderdale-based Tippy, a digital tipping app for salons and spas, has partnered with SalonCentric, a subsidiary of beauty giant L’Oréal. The distributor’s 600-person sales force will begin pushing Tippy’s service to salons and spas across the nation, the South Florida Business Journal reported.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter and email her at [email protected]

Nancy Dahlberg