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UT Austin Hosts $50,000 Graduate Student Pitch Competition at SXSW

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WHAT: The University of Texas at Austin will host PitchTexas, a graduate student pitch competition.

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, March 8. The preliminary round runs from 9 to 10:30 a.m. The final round runs from 5 to 6 p.m. at SXSW Interactive at Hilton Austin Hotel, Salon J. The Longhorn Band will lead the winning team from the Hilton Austin Hotel to HandleBar on East Fifth Street at 6:15 p.m.

WHERE: Robert B. Rowling Hall at the McCombs School Business, 300 W. Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd. for the preliminary round, and Hilton Austin, Salon J for the finals.

MEDIA: The event is open to the public.

BACKGROUND: The University of Texas presents the sixth annual 2019 SXSW Graduate Startup Pitch competition, with prize money of $50,000. Sixteen teams will compete for the largest cash prize in history, with $35,000 to the first-place winner, $10,000 for second place and $5,000 for the third prize.

The competition has captured global interest from schools such as Harvard University, Yale University and the London Business School. Teams will present their startup ideas to a panel of industry judges, including UT President Gregory L. Fenves; Heather Brunner, CEO and chairwoman at WP Engine; and Rod Favaron, former chairman at CEO at Spreadfast. Judges will decide the winning team and who they want to invest in based on the potential success of the idea, the overall presentation and the professionalism of the team. 2018 winners included Lapovations, Brandefy, and Leaf, a blockchain money transfer platform for refugees.

PitchTexas Schedule is as follows:

  • 9 to 10:30 a.m.: Preliminary round
  • 11 a.m. to noon: Lunch with contestants and judges
  • 5 to 6 p.m.: Final round at SXSW
  • 6:15 p.m.: Longhorn Band leads the winning team and crowd from the Hilton Austin Hotel to the official SXSW PitchTexas after-party at HandleBar on East Fifth Street.

PitchTexas was started and is run by the Texas McCombs MBA Entrepreneurship Society, a graduate student organization at The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.