You don’t need a full-fledged project to enter the Nash Hack Weekathon Pitch Competition, says Jeremy Raley, one of the organizers. All you need is a great idea.
“You see pitches and a lot of times what you see is that it has to be well polished, and ‘Shark Tank’ ready,” said Raley, who by day is membership lead for the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. “But the beauty about this is that it can be purely an idea that’s not fleshed out, but you’re excited about it.”
The deadline to apply for the pitch competition is Monday, September 24. The pitch competition itself, to be held Saturday, October 6, kicks off Nash Hack Weekathon, a free, weeklong event where developers, product managers, designers, and marketers come together to build projects in an open, community hackathon.
The pitch competition is on October 6, and will operate like a classic demo day, Raley said. Twelve ideas will be selected to pitch before three local panelists, who will use predetermined criteria to judge the entries.
The judges will select four teams to go through a week of consulting sessions for product strategy, UX design, tech stack planning and build planning. The week culminates with a 48-hour hackathon, October 19-21 at PK Pictures in Nashville.
“Each of these is cool because it’s going to integrate the local user groups and meetups to actually facilitate these sessions, but anyone can kiind of come in and check it out,” Raley said. “If you’re going to win the hackathon, in my opinion, you really want to be a participant of these consulting sessions. And the only way that you’re going to participate in these consulting sessions is if you win the pitch competition.”
To win, Raley said three things to keep in mind are:
- Clearly articulating the problem. “You could be nailing it right on the head for what the actual problem is. If I don’t understand it, I’m not going to appreciate the solution that you’re trying to build.”
- Clearly articulating the solution. “Sometimes you see somebody clearly setting up the problem and they talk about their solution and it doesn’t really have the most direct correlation, or they go way into the specifics and but it’s not understandable how they solved it.”
- Articulate the relevance of the problem. “That looks a lot like, hey, the market size is x. And there are this many people that this problem is affecting right now; that’s why my solution is relevant. Or it could be more of a time-based thing, right? Like, this law was just passed, so there’s a clear opportunity in the next three months before someone else might take advantage to get involved.”
The night itself promises to be a lot of fun, Raley said. He expects cool ideas to presented, and a community coming out to see who is presenting and what sort of ideas they have.
“The beauty of this event is not just getting selected, but it’s the chance to recruit people to your team,” Raley said. “So we’re going to invite all aspects of the tech and product and entrepreneurial community to the event in hopes that you might hear an idea that you weren’t actually planning on joining. Or maybe you were going to just join the hackathon, but you think, ‘Oh, this team sounds really cool. They’re definitely going to get selected to go through the consulting sessions, (but) I want to hop on board because my expertise in this tech language or whatever it might be.’ ”
Pitch ideas are not required to be specific to Nashville. “There’s literally no criteria about what it has to be, which is really exciting,” Raley said. “Keep that in mind as you think about what you’re presenting, and is it something that resonates with people.
“No matter if it’s Shark Tank or if it’s a pitch competition for a hackathon, it’s all about solving a problem,” Raley said. “I think people get the most excited about participating and helping with finding real solutions to problems.”
If you’re ready to apply to pitch, head on over to our pitch application!
Applications close Monday, September 24 at 7:00 pm.