Black Founder Pitch Competition

04/27/2021 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm CST Virtual

2 hours

  • Early Stage
  • DEI
  • Funding

Are you a Black founder looking for an opportunity to get the funding and support you need to drive your business forward? Pitch your company for the chance to receive investments and services from some of the leading venture firms and corporates in the Midwest.

If you're a Black founder enter today!

1871 is hosting a three-round virtual pitch competition, in which Black-led startups will pitch their company for a chance to win a cash prize and equity opportunities from our notable VC partners. Through this competition, we are excited to hear from innovative Black founders across the nation about the passion projects you’re working on and support you (and your business!) with the right funding and resources to help you move the needle. 

Please review the competition breakdown and eligibility & guidelines sections below before applying. All applications welcome – entrants do not need to be members of 1871 to qualify. Applications close 04.08.21

Applications are now closed!

Addressing the Black founder funding gap

On average, white founders begin their entrepreneurial journey with $18,000 in their pocket, while Black founders begin with $500. This is an alarming difference resulting in a 37X gap in starting capital. As part of our larger BLK•Tech initiative, 1871 continues to work on ways to close this gap, with this competition serving as an extension of our larger mission. This event activates our community of corporate partners, venture capitalists and robust ecosystem. As a collective we aim to deepen the pool of funds that Black founders can access at the friends and family level. Additionally, the top 5 finalists of this competition will receive a free virtual membership to 1871 for 6-months. Through this membership, they will have direct access to mentors, education, support and community which will empower them in ways that funding alone cannot.

Prizes 🏆 💰 🎉

In addition to building valuable connections to the best and brightest business leaders, tech entrepreneurs, and investors – participants have a chance to win the following prizes: 

  • Up to $50,000 in VC investments assigned by judging panel 
  • Up to $10,000 cash prize to the 1st place winner 
  • Top 5 finalists will receive free virtual membership to 1871 for 6-months

Event breakdown

Round 1: Nationwide open call for Black founder video submissions & applications

Round 1 is closed!

During this round, we are looking for elevator pitches from Black-led startups all across the country in video form. All videos and applications will be reviewed by our selection committee, and the top 20 companies will advance to the semi-finals. This is the first step in helping us to learn about you, your company, what problem you are trying to solve, and your plan to make your dreams a reality. 

Round 2: Semi-finalist event 

04.19.21 | 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM CST

The top 20 founders will pitch to a panel of business leaders for a chance to win a finalist spot in the next phase. Only the top 5 will advance to our finalist event. This round will be closed to the public. 

Round 3: Finalist event

04.27.21 | 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM CST

In this round, the top 5 finalists will participate in a virtual pitch to a panel of judges consisting of business leaders and major VC’s in our network. This round will be open to the public. The finalists will have the opportunity to receive up to $10,000 in cash [1st place winner], and potential VC equity funding up to $50,000 [will be assigned by the VC judges]. In addition to the monetary offerings — all 5 finalists will receive 6-months free virtual membership to 1871, which will provide additional support and resources needed to drive growth.

Our finalist event will be MCed by Trey White of iHeartMedia and include a performance from our special guest Montell Jordan!

Sponsors

Corporate

Venture Capital

Looking to join 1871?

Make sure to browse our membership pages: Early Stage, Growth Stage, Corporate Innovator, Small Business.

Due to COVID-19, our public tours are on hold. In the meantime, you can learn all about our vibrant community and the many resources 1871 provides by:

Attending an Early Stage Info Session (Weekly)

Signing up for a Growth Stage Membership Consultation