We are now accepting Challenge Cup applications through 1776’s UNION network, a digital platform that offers your startup access to pitch-coaching, industry advice, and key connections with the right people to help you scale in your industry. Each applicant will receive access to UNION for the duration of their time in the competition.
One winner will be selected from each Challenge Cup Local to compete in the Global Finals at Challenge Festival in New York City. These startups will have the opportunity to share their ideas on a global stage and compete for grand prizes. At Challenge Festival, competing startups will have the opportunity to participate in mentor hours, curriculum and pitch coaching as well as make direct connections to potential funders, clients, experts, and 75 of the top startup peer-founders from around the world.
Apply below if you’re up for the Challenge.
Choose the city you want to compete in, and submit your startup!
Read more about the competition in the sections below, and get ready to share your vision on a global stage.
All startups must meet these criteria in order to apply to compete in Challenge Cup.
- Sector — Your startup must be working within one of these critical industries or emerging technologies:
- Artificial Intelligence
- For-profit — Your startup must be a for-profit business.
- Scalability — Your startup must offer a scalable product or service and be in a market with measurable traction
- Stage — Your startup must be beyond “idea stage.” Having a pilot program or an MVP in market is required. While traction may be limited, there should be identifiable traction post-launch.
- Funding — Your startup must have under $2.5MM USD in venture funding at the time of application.
- Revenue — Your startup must have less than $3MM USD in revenue booked to date.
- Location — Your startup does not need proof of regional affiliation. (If you’re based in Miami but want to compete in Dublin, go for it).
- Local level
- Through 1776’s UNION network, all competitors in Challenge Cup Locals will have access to expert advice, accelerator curriculum, pitch coaching and the ability to network with startup competitors around the world for the duration of their time in the competition.
- One (1) winner from each Local competition will advance to the Global Finals, held during the Challenge Festival in New York City from November 13-17, 2017. The winning startup will receive:
- One flight and hotel package to attend and participate in the Global Finals.
- Publicity via the 1776 website, social media channels and newsletter.
- Global Finals level
One winner from each Challenge Cup Local will travel to New York City to compete in the Global Finals at the Challenge Festival. These startups will have the opportunity to share their ideas on a global stage and compete for grand prizes. All competitors will receive:
- A round trip ticket and hotel stay in New York City to compete in the Global Finals at Challenge Festival.
- Exclusive access to 1776’s UNION network, connecting thousands of entrepreneurs, mentors, experts, investors, and startup ecosystems worldwide.
- Onsite programming at Challenge Festival as well as direct connections to potential funders, clients, mentors and 75 of the top startup founders from around the world.
Local Competition Winners
- One winner from each local competition will receive a round trip flight and hotel accommodations to participate in the Global Finals at Challenge Festival in New York City from November 13-17, 2017
- All-access pass for Challenge Festival programming
Global Final Winners
- Details on the grand prizes coming soon!
- All startups must submit an application via UNION. Select your city from the above list to apply.
- Local organizers will select 15-20 startups to compete in each Challenge Cup Local.
- These 15-20 startups will present in a live pitch competition.
- Based on the pitches and Q&A sessions, the judges will select one winning startup per local to advance to compete at the Global Finals during Challenge Festival in New York City from November 13-17, 2017.
- At each local event, each of the 15-20 selected startups will deliver a 2-minute elevator pitch, followed by a 1-minute Q&A with a panel of judges, made up of a mix of local investors and industry experts.
- The judges will select one winning startup per local to advance to the Global Finals.
- This winning startup will receive a round-trip flight and hotel accommodations to compete in the Global Finals at Challenge Festival in New York City from November 13-17, 2017.
Global Finals level
- Semifinals Round — All 75 of the winning startups will participate in the semifinals round at Challenge Festival. Each startup will deliver a 2-minute pitch with 2 minutes of Q&A with the judges.
- Final Round — 8 winners from those semifinals will advance to the final round, where each will deliver a 4-minute pitch and participate in 3 minutes of Q&A with the judges. The winners will receive grand prizes.
Challenge Cup judges will evaluate startups based on the following dimensions and potential for venture-scale returns:
- Idea — Compelling idea that could dramatically change industry dynamics
- Market — Product solves a complex problem for a specific market
- Scalability — Highly scalable business & large revenue opportunity
- Revenue — Clear revenue model (ie, transactions, subscriptions, affiliates, etc)
- Team — Small but cross functional team
- Presentation — Important to note that the judges will be evaluating this
Startup applications will close approximately 3 weeks before each Challenge Cup Local event.
Now that know you the rules of the road, apply today! We look forward to getting to know you.