They rode 32 seconds to the top of Seattle’s Smith Tower during the second season of GeekWire’s Elevator Pitch — and then they managed to rise even higher as winners. Now, the finalists from each of the four episodes of our business concept competition will try to come out on top at next week’s GeekWire Summit.
Entrepreneurs pitched ideas related to agriculture, transportation, AI, IoT connectivity and more, and then faced questions at the top of the historic skyscraper from our panel of judges: Flying Fish Partners co-founder Heather Redman; serial entrepreneur and Pioneer Square Labs managing director T.A. McCann; Darrin Siver, senior vice president at PACCAR; and Kyle Quinn, CTO at PACCAR.
The four finalists will square off again on stage at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Seattle, pitching in front of more than 900 business and tech leaders at the 2019 GeekWire Summit, taking place Oct. 7-9.
Check out a recap of the episode winners below, and be sure to get your Summit tickets so you can witness the finale in person.
Featuring three startups working in the AgTech/Environmental Impact area, the first episode this season was won by Keith McCall, founder and CTO of Pollen Systems, creators of agriculture and drone technology for various crops and geographies.
“Pollen represents data, visible and invisible, that pervades farms throughout the world,” McCall said in the elevator. “If you don’t collect that data, it blows away.”
In this episode focused on transportation and the mobility sector, chemical engineer Greg Newbloom beat out two other startups with his pitch for Membrion, a University of Washington spinout that makes ion membranes for use in fuel cells and water desalination systems.
“Membrion has found a solution to clean an abundant power hiding in the bottom of a beef jerky package,” Newbloom said in the elevator. “We figured out a way to transform that silica gel into a membrane that can be used to power the next generation of vehicles.”
Jinesh Varia, CEO of Industrility, beat out two other startups working around the issues of IoT connectivity, sensors and more. Varia’s Bellevue, Wash.-based startup focuses on IoT technology solutions for industrial original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
“Would you believe industrial OEMs capture only 25 percent of the after-sale revenue throughout the lifetime of the original equipment?” Varia said in the elevator. “The remaining 75 percent amounts to almost a $400 billion market … Industrility is focused on this market, which is ripe for disruption.”
In the final episode, Maria Colacurcio, CEO of Syndio Solutions, creators of a software solution to address discriminatory pay gaps, beat out two other startup CEOs making the case for why they have the best solution to solve issues using artificial intelligence and machine learning.
“Syndio is committed to eradicating unlawful pay disparities in the workplace,” Colacurcio said in the elevator. “We’re the only SaaS company licensing data-science-powered software to help companies analyze and resolve pay gaps due to gender or race.”
Now that you’re caught up on season two ahead of this year’s Summit, have a look back at the results from last year’s first season of Elevator Pitch and the finals at the 2018 GeekWire Summit.
And a big thanks to PACCAR for sponsoring season two of the Elevator Pitch, and to the Smith Tower for hosting.