Pitch Perfect: North Texas Events Boosting Entrepreneurial Ideas

From formalized accelerator pitch days for startups to events encouraging social innovation, here are the notable events helping bring ideas to reality in North Texas.

Here’s a list of some of the notable pitch events last year. Check DallasInnovates.com for upcoming dates for 2018.


CodeLaunch is the seed accelerator and startup expo in Dallas-Fort Worth at which individuals pitch their app ideas to investors, learn about the entrepreneurial industry, and compete to win seed funding. The event will be Aug. 1 in Frisco. During a five-minute pitch, five competitors present their ideas before a panel of judges. Judges take a brief recess following the presentations to determine the winners. Once the winners are announced, the Startup Expo begins. You can network with investors, venture capitalists, and the entrepreneurial community.

Tech Wildcatters

The Dallas-based accelerator funds and mentors early stage startups. It developed a five-stage process called The Gauntlet in which each stage focuses on a different element of a company’s lifecycle. The Gauntlet was introduced in 2016. Visit the accelerator’s website here.

Fort Worth Business Plan

The annual Fort Worth Business Plan Competition is open to all Tarrant County businesses and startups with annual revenues of no more than $500,000. The Fort Worth Business Assistance Center is the host of the event, which is presented by Capital One.

Tech Titans Venture Forum

Richardson-based Tech Titans is a North Texas technology association that represents more than 250,000 employees through its 300 member partnerships. It collaborates with a wide range of companies from startups to Fortune 500s. The forum is aimed at bridging conversations between investors and startups, which Tech Titans hopes will lead to Series A or B, multi-million-dollar investments down the road. 

Smart Cities Gigabit Reverse Pitch

The winning application concepts for the second Smart Gigabit Cities Application Challenge will be announced Feb. 28 on the Telecom Corridor website. The program is open to DFW area entrepreneurs, university researchers, developers, startups, and early stage companies. The challenge offers software developers two, $10,000 awards for apps that utilize gigabit bandwidth and/or low latency solutions that solve community issues. The deadline for applications was Jan. 24.

Grow DeSoto: Entrepreneur Pitch Day

Grow DeSoto: Entrepreneur Pitch Day provided small business owners an opportunity to pitch their products, services, and ideas in front of a panel of judges and audience members for a chance to secure a spot in the Grow DeSoto Business Incubator, which took over a vacant store front in the Brookhollow Shopping Center. Entrepreneurs interested in space in the incubator will need to submit a registration application through the incubator’s website.

REVTECH Accelerator: Tech Trends

RevTech, the mentor-driven retail accelerator has moved into a 13,000-square-foot coworking space at Dallas’ Walnut Glen Tower, about a mile from NorthPark Center. The accelerator program offers a 12-week program to advance technology in the retail and grocery industries. It had operated from The Dallas Entrepreneur Center since starting in 2012. The Tech Trends in Retail pitch event is scheduled for April 5.


Health Wildcatters

Dallas-based Health Wildcatters is a mentor-driven, seed fund accelerator that conducts a 12-week program for the selected health-care startups. The program culminates in a “Pitch Day” at the historic Majestic Theatre in downtown Dallas. For more information, go to the Health Wildcatters website.

Healthcare Dealmakers

Each year, the Polsinelli law firm holds the Healthcare Dealmakers conference — the premier forum for health-care providers, their sources of capital, and their advisers to discuss the challenges and opportunities of making deals in the health-care services marketplace. Health-care services leaders from across the country assemble to talk about the innovation and M&A activity that will define the future of the health-care industry. The conference includes a pitch competition supported by Health Wildcatters. The event this year will be May 16-17. 


OneUp the Pitch

OneUp the Pitch showcases five social entrepreneur alumni from United Way’s GroundFloor who will compete for $100,000 before a live audience and a panel of judges. It will be from 7-9 p.m. April 12 at the Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St. in Dallas. The competitors will be Center for Employment Opportunities, Education Open Doors, First3Years, ScholarShot, and Youth With Faces. 


bigBANG! is Dallas’ longest-running event for social innovation. It focuses on driving deeper conversations and innovative solutions for positive change in the city. It was started by Social Venture Partners Dallas. Past events have tackled social justice and racial inequality, and impact investing.

TREC Shark Tank

Modeled after the hit ABC show Shark Tank, the pitch event puts real estate entrepreneurs in from of investors to pitch their projects. The event is scheduled for Sept. 27, with more details to come. Last year’s event featured projects pitched to benefit South Dallas.

EARTHx Pitch

The EarthX Pitch is a competition that features four divisions focused on conservation and sustainability projects. Last year, it awarded $41,000 in prize money. The four categories are Veteran, Nonprofit, Academic, and Civic groups.

Kernel Live!

Kernel Live! was inspired by the Shark Tank TV show and funded by the United Way of Tarrant County. In it, finalists pitch creative solutions to critical social issues before judges and a live audience. 


SMU Big Ideas and Business Plan Contests

The Big iDeas Pitch Contest and Big iDeas Business Plan contests are annual events. The Pitch Contest is held on the Friday of the SMU Family Weekend Friday in the fall. The Big iDeas Business Plan Competition is held on the Friday of Engaged Learning Week, typically the first full week of February. In the pitch contest, undergraduates have the opportunity to pitch their big ideas, win $1,000 in prize money, three months to build a prototype, and take part in the Demo Day Fair in February.

University of Texas at Dallas Big Idea Competition

The UT Dallas Big Idea Competition — formerly the Business Idea Competition — is open to all UTD students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members. The competition, held by the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, gives participants the opportunity to develop and present business ideas while competing for cash and scholarship prizes. Last November, NeuroRehab VR won the $15,000 first-place prize and received the $2,500 Diversity and Inclusion Award. Watch for the 2018 competition information on the UTD website.

Pitch UTA

Pitch UTA is a Shark Tank-style elevator pitch competition. Students of all majors can present their entrepreneurial ideas during a 120-second pitch to sell their concept to a panel of judges, investors, and venture capitalists. Finalists will compete for a grand prize of $10,000, and the top two winners will receive an all-interactive SXSW registration. The event is Feb. 23, and applications are open.

TCU Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Competition 

The TCU Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Competition is an annual competition for undergraduate students globally to pitch plans for businesses, products, or services that are profitable while benefitting the environment, the community, or a specific population. The competition is presented by the Neeley Entrepreneurial Center and will held April 6-7 at TCU. The deadline to apply is Feb. 28.

UNT Music Entrepreneurship Competition

The competition is an opportunity to promote student engagement, entrepreneurial thinking, and innovative action, in which students prepare music business plans utilizing a variety of resources including online business-plan writing tutorials, existing entrepreneurship courses, competition workshops, and faculty mentorship, according to UNT. More than $18,000 in cash prizes will go to the top competitors. The competition will be April 21-22.  It is open to all College of Music students. UNT students outside of the College of Music may be eligible as long as they are working in partnership with a College of Music student.

MegaFutures@MegaFest Pitch Contest

The MegaFutures@MegaFest entrepreneurial pitch competition gave students in grades sixth through 12th the opportunity to be their own bosses and possibly win some of $50,000 in prize money. Last year, the MegaFest event was held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, but has moved this year to the Potter’s House.


Dallas New Tech

Dallas New Tech is one of North Texas’ longest-running monthly showcase events for new companies and technologies. New Tech is held at 6 p.m., the first Tuesday of each month at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young St., in Dallas. The next event will be Feb. 6. In the event, four to five local companies present for five minutes, followed by five minutes of Q&A from audience members. 

1 Million Cups

1 Million Cups is a national organization developed by the Kauffman Foundation, that is based on the idea that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee. It’s a free program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs with their communities. Meetings are held locally in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Frisco. For more information, go here.

Dallas Society of Play’s Monthly Show & Play

The Dallas Society of Play in Addison is a semi-monthly meet-up that brings together game creators, or aspiring game creators, to meet, share, and learn about indie game development. Find out more information here.

Founders Live

The Founders Live movement includes live-streamed 99-second startup pitch competitions held in select cities, including Dallas at NoD Coworking, 17290 Preston Road, that create local founder celebrities and bursts open additional pockets of creativity and entrepreneurial activity. Visit the Dallas event’s Facebook page here.


IgniteDFW is a volunteer-run speaker series in which individuals from a variety of backgrounds speak on a variety of subject matters. Each speaker gets five minutes of stage time. The next event in Dallas will be March 13 at Deep Ellum Art Co. The Fort Worth event will be Oct. 16, at a venue to be named later.

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