September 16, 2009

LivePitch is now CrowdPitch

As a result of some confusion between our Speedpitch and LivePitch events, we’ve changed the name of our LivePitch events to CrowdPitch.

What is a CrowdPitch?

Well… have any of you seen the new TV show on ABC called SharkTank? Well, the CrowdPitch event is a nice mix between SharkTank and American Idol. Essentially, 4-5 companies pitch their business to both a panel of 4-5 investors and a live audience of 100-200 other business owners. After the presentation, the panel will provide real-time feedback (Simon Cowell style) to the entrepreneur.

In addition, the audience plays a large role in the event: we give each member of the audience $100 of monopoly money that they can “invest” in their favorite presentation. After all the “investments” have been made, we count up the monopoly money and provide a nice $2-$5k prize pack to the winner!

What is the difference between CrowdPitch and Speedpitch?

This is a question that we get asked on a regular basis. The main difference between the 2 events is the audience. The Crowdpitch event is intended to attract a large audience — networking is an important component of the event. However, the Speedpitch event is a very exclusive/intimate event where only the 6-10 presenting companies, the 20-45 investors, and a handful of select sponsors are invited/allowed to attend.

Coming to a place near you…

I guess that I should let you know that we have announced our events for the remainder of the year and, if you are in the west, it’s likely we’ll be coming to a location near you! (If you’re out East — don’t worry, we’ll be coming their soon enough). Here is a brief overview:

September 30 – Denver – CrowdPitch
October 7 – Utah – SpeedPitch
October 14 – Boise – CrowdPitch
October 28 – Phoenix – CrowdPitch
November 4 – Utah – Social Entrepreneurship CrowdPitch
November 18 – Seattle – CrowdPitch
December 2 – Utah – SpeedPitch
December 16 – Portland – CrowdPitch

If you are interested in being a part of any of these events, let us know (send an email to members “at”

September 10, 2009

Head of Google China Leaves Post to Become Angel Investor


It was recently announced that Kai-Fu Lee, President of Google China, would be leaving this position to seek other opportunities.  Lee left Microsoft in 2005 and joined Google in an effort to increase its reach and overall popularity against popular Chinese competitor Baidu.

The biggest opportunity Lee is working on is setting up an investment fund called Innovation Works, which will invest in Chinese start-ups.  The goal of Innovation Works is to give entrepreneurs financial and other necessary support so that they can concentrate on developing cutting-edge technologies and services.  Lee says that his goal is to get companies up and running quickly so that within 9-12 months they can attract later stage investments.

Photo Courtesy NY Times

September 2, 2009

Lunch 2.0 Portland Livepitch a smashing success!

Last Wednesday FundingUniverse had the opportunity to team up with Portland Ten, NedSpace, and Stoel Rives to host Lunch 2.0 Portland Livepitch in Portland, Oregon.  Every couple of months we host a similar event and this, like the rest, was a great success.

The following five companies were selected to present their ideas to our panel of experts and a live audience during the two-hour event:

  • Bright Neighbor
  • BioAlgene
  • Optical Specialist
  • Spiritworks Software
  • JourneyGym

The panel of experts included Ashleigh Williams from Willamette Venture Group, Eric Pozzo from Oregon Angel Fund, Todd Bauman from Stoel Rives, Carolyn Duncan from Portland Ten, and FundingUniverse’s very own Brock Blake.  Each member of the panel as well as the audience was given play money to invest in the company of their choice.

JourneyGym was chosen as the winner of this event.  Their pitch peaked the interest of all in attendance and as the winners, they were offered the following prizes:

  • $500 of legal services from Stoel Rives
  • $2500 in funding consulting from FundingUniverse
  • 5 Startup Workouts and a Startup Checkup from Portland Ten

All five companies that presented were given the invaluable opportunity to practice pitching their idea as well as get great feedback from the experts.  They were also put in front of Angel Investors and VCs looking for the next big idea.

John from JourneyGym said

“I just wanted to write to thank you for scheduling the . . . Livepitch even this past Wednesday.  We appreciated the opportunity to be involved and were excited to have had JourneyGym win.  We of course look forward to working with you on your evaluation of our fundability as we work to complete our subsequent round of financing.”journeygym2

The other four companies had similar things to say and all had a great experience at this event.  Stay tuned for info about other Livepitch, Speedpitch, and online Speedpitch events happening in the near future!