1871 is hosting a three-round pitch competition, in which early stage Black-led tech startups will pitch their company for a chance to win cash prizes and equity opportunities from our notable VC partners.
Awards & funding
• $30k minimum committed prize money will be awarded at the final event. Prize money will consist of both cash and equity investments from our supporting VC partners
• Top 5 finalists will receive free virtual membership to 1871 for 6-months
Black founders and innovators need the following to enter the BLKtech Pitch Competition:
- A deep understanding of the problem they seek to solve and for whom
- Clear definition of their user and key value propositions
- Developed a highly effective go-to-market strategy and have tested and verified these strategies
- Clear and defined business model that ties into the overall strategy of the business
- Show traction with your business through customers success
- Applicants are no longer eligible if you have already closed a series A funding round
Closed for 2023
The applicants are screened and the top 20 are notified if they are to move onto the semi-finals. The competition is open to non-members, across the US. See eligibility before applying.
The top 20 founders will pitch virtually 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.
Top 5 finalists will participate by pitching [hybrid options available] to a panel of judges consisting of business leaders and major VC’s in our network for funding & awards.
Our BLKtech initiative supports Black entrepreneurs & leaders with regular programming, tailored resources, mentorship, & community designed to help them embrace their unique strengths & break down the barriers they face.
In 2020, venture capital investors funneled $150 billion to startups. But only ~1% of those funds were distributed to Black founders, despite the rapid growth of Black entrepreneurship. There is a vast and growing funding gap!
This event activates our community of early stage startups, corporate partners, venture capitalists and the wider tech ecosystem. As a collective, we aim to deepen the pool of funds that Black founders can access.
Learn more about our affinity programs under BLKtech—BLKtech leaders & BLKtech founders.