Congratulations to Powwater and Mountainist, 2019 Pitch Day Award Winners
Last Thursday night, nearly 300 people gathered for Pitch Day at the Center for the Arts to cheer on six passionate entrepreneurs as they pitched their businesses for cash prizes. Every presenter was articulate, concise, and well-prepared. Panelist Deborah Benton remarked that she has judged many big-city competitions and Silicon Couloir's Pitch Day was of the same caliber as competitions in major tech hubs.
Both the Panelists Choice Award and the Bob Arndt Community Caretaker Award went to Powwater, a social impact company that sells high-end water bottles and cups with 50% of profits directed to clean water projects around the globe. The prizes brought a total of $8,500 in cash and an opportunity to participate in TEAMS, Silicon Couloir's mentoring program.
“We are deeply appreciative of the Silicon Couloir team, the panelists, and our fellow contestants for a terrific night. Working with Silicon Couloir was a fantastic experience. The coaching was top notch, " says Powwater Co-Founder and presenter Jack Hartpence. "Winning pitch day was a monumental stride for our team. We believe firmly in the power of business to spark positive change, and it was validating to know that the panelists agreed."
True to our core values, we have pledged our Community Award prize money to invest in a water project in Bangladesh through our partner, Shishir. We are very proud to play a part in this community. And we are thrilled to continue our relationship with Silicon Couloir indefinitely through the TEAMS program!”
The audience choice award went to Mountainist, an online company that rents curated outdoor action sports apparel and protective gear to women. The Audience Choice Award carries a $2,500 cash prize as well as six months of access to The Cowork Space. Says Founder and presenter Tana Hoffman, "We were honored to be named the Audience Choice Award winner! After rehearsing for three weeks straight, the real win was being able to present Mountainist just as we had envisioned it. We told our story in 8 minutes, and from the comments we received, we know it resonated with people. The award was the icing on the cake. Thank you to everyone who came to support us! "
Thank you to everyone who helped make Pitch Day possible: our volunteer coaches and panelists, sponsors, audience, and of course, our wonderful presenters.
Shark Tank, Teton Style. Pitch Day empowers entrepreneurs who are already on their way to growing sustainable businesses by offering a platform to gain experience, and feedback that will help hone their ideas. This free annual event at the Center for the Arts in Jackson, Wyoming, features a select handful of local entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas for cash prizes to a panel of experienced investors, and a general audience of several hundred. This event supports the need for local start-up, and early stage entrepreneurs to take their ideas to the next level and gain valuable experience from the effort.
Selected entrepreneurs will have three coaching sessions with a team of successful entrepreneurs and business operators leading up to the main event. Coaching is a critical feature of the program, as it helps entrepreneurs understand and highlight insights and information investors need to evaluate a deal. Coaching also provides an avenue for more seasoned entrepreneurs to give back to the community.
Additionally, this event inspires audience members to take the next step in bringing their own entrepreneurial dreams to fruition.
Pitch Day 2019
Mark your calendar for Silicon Couloir’s 8th Annual Pitch Day, our signature event of the year. Held at the Center for the Arts in Jackson, Wyoming on September 5th from 4-7 PM, Pitch Day features local entrepreneurs showcasing their businesses to a large and interested audience of over 250 attendees. Cash prizes will be awarded in a number of categories.
Free to attend and open to the public, Pitch Day stars a select group of innovative and creative companies developing in the Teton region. This event supports local entrepreneurs to showcase and promote their business or idea.
Selected entrepreneurs will have three coaching sessions with a team of successful and experienced business experts leading up to the main event. Coaching is a critical feature of the program, as it helps entrepreneurs hone their delivery and synthesize the information that is most likely to interest attendees.
Pitch Day is a celebration of the highly successful entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Tetons. We hope to inspire audience members and others in our community to dream up or begin their own entrepreneurial journey.
The applicant pool this year was the strongest in the event’s history, with 13 passionate entrepreneurs vying for six spaces. After much thought and deliberation from the Selection Committee, Silicon Couloir is proud to announce a diverse and compelling group of finalists.
This year our presenters are:
Our Panelists are:
Deborah Benton is the founding partner of Kaktus Capital, an investment vehicle focused on early-stage branded consumer companies and consumer tech. A seasoned consumer retail executive with a specific passion for industries focused on women, she brings many years of operational, strategic and investment management experience at the highest level to the portfolio companies.
Prior to Kaktus Capital, Deborah served as President and Chief Operating Officer for Nasty Gal, the preeminent online women’s fashion retailer for the millennial set. In 2012, Nasty Gal was named one of the fastest growing retailers in the country. During her tenure, Nasty Gal revenues grew almost 400% and Deborah effectively built out the team and infrastructure required to support such explosive growth. Prior to Nasty Gal, Deborah was the Chief Operating Officer of ShoeDazzle, an innovative online women’s fashion footwear company whose revenue grew from launch to almost $100M in just a few years. Earlier in her career, Deborah was Executive Vice President, Operations and Inside Sales, for Teleflora, a leading provider of consumer and florist products and services. Deborah is a Board Director for Leaf Group (NYSE: LEAF), Carbon38 and The Bouqs, and a past Board Director for TomboyX. She is an avid supporter and mentor of women in business and over 75% of her portfolio investments have female founders.
Deborah holds both an undergraduate degree in Health and an MBA from Queen’s University, Canada. Born in Malawi, Africa, Deborah is both a UK and Canadian citizen and now resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons.
DAVID G. BROWN
David G. Brown is an early stage venture capital and private equity investor; he invests his own account. From 1998 until 2013, he was the Managing Partner of Oak Hill Venture Partners. From 1993 until 2013, he served as a Vice President of Keystone, LP (formerly known as the Robert M. Bass Company), Mr. Bass’ family office. He is a Member of Headwater Partners I and II, intellectual property investment funds. He has invested in more than 60 companies and funds since 1993. Mr. Brown is a founding investor and currently serves on the board of directors of four private companies. Mr. Brown possesses broad experience in social media, SaaS, communications services, financial services and clean technology markets.
Prior to joining Keystone, he worked at Salomon Brothers Inc where he was a Vice President in the Corporate Finance Department. Mr. Brown is also active in several charities and non-profit organizations. He currently serves on the board of Bowdoin College and Teton Science School. He is the past Chair of NatureBridge, a leading environmental science education program for youth.
Mr. Brown holds a B.A. degree from Bowdoin College and an M.B.A. from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration.
Vivian is the entrepreneurial services coordinator at the Wyoming Business Council, coordinating, developing and maintaining programs that support Wyoming entrepreneurs and startups. Originally from Norway, she moved to Laramie several years ago, to complete her education in renewable energy and energy management MBA. She started working at Bright Agrotech when they were a maturing startup, before moving on to Plenty in an enterprise sales strategy role. The knowledge and perspectives gained by working at those companies really motivated her to continue to work in the startup and entrepreneurial space. She enjoys all that Wyoming has to offer and working towards providing better opportunity for others who want to remain in the state.
Carter is a Co-Founder of Bison Interests and serves as Chief Executive Officer. As the CEO, Carter is responsible for overseeing client relationships, working with prospective clients, and building and managing Bison. Carter has almost 20 years of experience working with clients, building a business, and leading a team. Carter’s work as a Teach for America Corps Member in Compton, California and his Acton MBA education inspired him to start LEAD- a year-round program working with underserved middle school students in Houston, Texas and preparing them for leadership and success in high school and beyond. Carter graduated from Southern Methodist University on a leadership scholarship.
Christy is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she earned a B.S. from the McIntire School of Commerce (with distinction Betta Gamma Sigma) in 1990 and an M.B.A. from the Darden Graduate School of Business as a Shermet Scholar in 1994. She worked for Bank of America in their investment banking group and for J.P. Morgan in Morgan Capital, investing in late stage ventures. Her experience also includes acquisition work with Landmark Communications, a privately media company headquartered in Norfolk, VA, specializing in newspaper publishing, Internet publishing, software and data centers. She considers herself a lifelong learner and an avid supporter of entrepreneurial pursuits. Putting her money to work, she is also an angel investor. She moved to Jackson January 2018 and is pleased to join the Silicon Couloir community.
Dakin Sloss is Founder and General Partner of Prime Movers Lab, where he invests in breakthrough scientific inventions transforming billions of lives. He also served as the founding CEO of Tachyus, where he built the leading prescriptive analytics company in the oil and gas industry. Tachyus’ breakthrough technology synthesizes machine learning and physics to dramatically increase production and reduce costs.
Dakin also co-founded OpenGov, where as CEO he recruited the core team, secured millions in angel funding and venture capital, arranged the initial pilot partnerships, and launched the world’s most advanced smart government platform. Before OpenGov, he built California Common Sense, the premiere California open data and government watchdog non-profit. Dakin earned a BS in Mathematics from Stanford University in 2011. In 2016, Dakin was recognized as the featured Forbes 30 Under 30 energy entrepreneur. In 2017, he was named as a San Francisco Business Times 40 Under 40 honoree.