Reverse Pitch event switches it up during Startup Week Chattanooga


Reverse Pitch event switches it up during Startup Week Chattanooga

For one day next week, tables will turn on the state’s startups.

They won’t hunt for money to develop their ideas. This time, the ideas — “problems” would be a better word — will already have financial backing. The problems also will belong to other companies who need entrepreneurs to come up with ways to solve them.

The state’s first “reverse pitch” event will take place on Oct. 7, during the inaugural Startup Week Chattanooga.

Nine corporations will each present proposals to an audience of “developers, programmers, engineers, designers, marketers and hackers of all kinds,” according to Launch Tennessee, which is hosting the event.

Following the event, Launch Tennessee will host an online submission portal for candidates to pursue the projects.

“Let’s look at the problems that exist and solve them,” said Jill Van Beke, director of corporate engagement for the public-private economic development partnership focused on growing companies in Tennessee.

More than 100 people have signed up, which is near capacity for the event. Launch Tennessee will make room if more entrepreneur-minded folks want to participate.

“We want our start-up community to be focusing their resources on what the market actually needs versus what they think it needs,” Van Beke said.

Some big names in business will be looking for help, including FedEx and Blackstone Group, the investment firm. All nine companies have put out one- or two-sentence teasers on their projects.

Launch Tennessee seized on the reverse pitch idea after hearing about it in other cities, Van Beke said. The events have taken place recently in Kansas City and Washington D.C.

Contact staff writer Mitra Malek or 423-757-6406.