Rise of the Rest $100K Pitch Competition: FAQ

Where can I apply?

Are there application entry fees?
No. The application to the pitch competition is completely free.

What do I need to do to apply?

  • Complete the pitch application (~20 minutes)
  • Submit a pitch deck (suggested template here)

Where and when are the tour stops? *specific pitch competition venues will be announced at a later date

  • Monday, April 20 | Wichita, KS
  • Tuesday, April 21 | Tulsa, OK
  • Wednesday, April 22 | Oklahoma City, OK
  • Thursday, April 23 | Northwest Arkansas, AR
  • Friday, April 24 | St. Louis, MO

Where does my startup need to be headquartered?

  • Monday, April 20 | Wichita, KS à any early-stage startup based in Kansas
  • Tuesday, April 21 | Tulsa, OK à any early-stage startup based in Oklahoma
  • Wednesday, April 22 | Oklahoma City, OK à any early-stage startup based in Oklahoma
  • Thursday, April 23 | Northwest Arkansas, AR à any early-stage startup based in Arkansas
  • Friday, April 24 | St. Louis, MO à anywhere in the United States and its territories

St. Louis: For our St. Louis pitch competition (4/24), startups located anywhere in the United States and its territories are invited to apply provided the company has a core focus that relates to AgTech or the Future of Food or adjacent focus areas that support them or take advantage of associated data (see more below). Startups based in Missouri who fit this description are also eligible to apply.
Note: you may only apply to pitch in one city. Since Tulsa and Oklahoma City are both located in Oklahoma, you may choose either city if you are a startup HQ’d in the state. There is no advantage to applying in one city versus another.

What are the benefits to applying?

  • All applicants will have their companies reviewed by the Rise of the Rest investment team
  • All applicants will receive access to educational information on building a successful startup
  • All applicants will be considered for inclusion in some part of the Rise of the Rest tour day, even if you are not selected as a pitch competition finalist
  • The chance to be selected as one of 8 finalists per city, where you will pitch your business in front of several hundred people
  • The chance to receive a $100,000 investment from the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund and become an official portfolio company of Rise of the Rest

How Does a Rise of the Rest Tour Day work?
The Rise of the Rest Tour delegation (led by Steve Case and the ROTR Seed Fund partners) spend a full day in each city on the tour, meeting with and learning from entrepreneurs, business leaders, elected officials, startup support organizers, and other stakeholders in each local innovation economy. Each day begins with a leadership breakfast, then includes a series of site visits around the city, and concludes with the “main event” – which centers around the pitch competition and is open to the public (RSVP required).  All finalists will be invited to join the invite-only Leadership Breakfast on the tour day. Applicants who are not selected to pitch may be invited to participate in other aspects of a tour day.

What types of startups should apply to pitch?
All innovative startups are encouraged to apply. Applicants are not limited to a single sector or industry. Eligible startups have a product/service that’s live or in beta form and has measurable performance indicators such as revenue, customers, successful beta results, etc. We encourage pre-seed, seed stage, and series A stage companies to apply. In certain instances, “pre-revenue” companies may be selected to pitch if the company is building an advanced technology solution.

Our pitch competition in St. Louis will be open to companies whose core focus relates to AgTech or the Future of Food or adjacent focus areas that support them or take advantage of associated data. We are looking for companies from around the United States that are working on innovative ideas and business models that address critical problems relating to these industries, their partners and their customers.

Companies working in the AgTech or Future of Food sectors may have any of the following focus areas:

  • Crop protection and input management
  • Precision agriculture
  • Agriculture marketplace and fintech
  • Indoor agriculture
  • Sensors and smart farm equipment
  • Imagery
  • Animal technologies
  • Plant science
  • Future of food

This list is non-exhaustive, so if you are working on another breakthrough, feel free to apply for a chance to pitch our investment team in St. Louis.

What types of tax-structure does my company need to have to be eligible? (C-Corp vs. B-Corp vs. S-Corp vs. LLC)
Because we will make our investment through our Rise of the Rest Seed Fund II, LP (“ROTR Fund”), we do not accept any applicants that are taxed as S-corporations. If your company is a C-Corp, LLC, or B-Corp you are eligible to apply.

Is my startup eligible to apply if it has raised money already?
Yes. You are encouraged to apply. However, if your company (or a company you’d like to recommend) has already raised capital at a pre-money valuation (or note valuation cap) that is higher than $15M, you are not eligible to apply for the pitch competition. However, the ROTR team would love to learn more about your business and explore featuring you/your company during a different part of the Rise of the Rest tour day in your city. Please email mark.rucci@revolution.com to tell us more.

What stage startups should apply?
Startups that have recently raised, are currently raising or planning to raise an early-stage round in the next 6-12 months are eligible.  We define “early stage” as angel, seed, Series A.

If you have never raised any outside capital you are also still eligible to apply.

When is the application deadline?
Monday, February 24, 2020 by 11:59 PM EST

Can I start my application, save, and come back later?
Yes, by creating a login with our pitch application platform, you will be able to start an application and return to it later.

What is the review process?
A team of ROTR Seed Fund investment professionals review all applications.

Companies are judged on:
Bold Idea — Does the idea “swing for the fences” and have the potential to disrupt a big industry or even change the world? What type of problem are you solving?
Market – How big is the addressable market for your company? Are you disrupting an existing market and/or creating a new one?
Team — Does the team have the skills, leadership, track record, and commitment to move forward on this idea?
Execution — Are there strong early indicators of customer growth, revenue, or other measurable traction? Have you demonstrated product-market fit? What is the strategy for product development, marketing, sales, and growth?
Business Model — Has a revenue model been defined and is it realistic and sustainable?

Do I have to include a pitch deck in my application?

Do I have to include a video in my application?
No, but it is highly recommended. We encourage you to post a video that is either a demo or a 60-second clip of the founder(s) explaining what the company does. We find it’s helpful to hear directly from you, and we aren’t looking for high production quality. You can include a link to a video you have posted on your website or a link to a hidden video on YouTube.

Do I have to include a reference in my application?
No, but it is highly recommended. If you received the invitation to apply from a local accelerator, co-work space or fund with which you are affiliated, we suggest you list that organization and your primary point of contact there as your reference.

What happens at the pitch competition?
If selected, you will pitch your company in front of a panel of judges, including Steve Case. One representative of your company will give a 4-minute presentation, followed by 3 minutes of Q&A from our judges. Following the presentation, the judges will deliberate and announce the winner of a $100,000 investment. The event is free and open to the public; friends and family are invited to attend. Check www.events.revolution.com for the opportunity to RSVP.

Can more than one-person pitch per company?
No, only one founder is permitted to pitch. We permit a co-founder to join on stage for Q&A. 

If I am not selected as a finalist, can I still attend in the event?
Yes! The pitch and is free to attend, but space is limited. We encourage you to RSVP at www.events.revolution.com

What are the terms of the investment?

  • ROTR Seed Fund invests into priced rounds (preferred equity only; no common equity), Convertible Notes or SAFES (each with an appropriate discount and valuation cap).
  • ROTR will invest into the open investment round of the winning company..  In some instances, companies may have recently closed an investment round that can be re-opened to accommodate the ROTR investment.
  • The Company must permit ROTR Seed Fund to close on its investment within 90 days of the pitch competition date.
  • The investment syndicate must include at least one other institutional investor or angel group whose investment amount is equal to or larger than ROTR’s $100K proposed investment.
  • ROTR will fund its investment if the company has at least 50% of the open round also closed within that time frame (Example: Company is raising $2M; 90 days out from the ROTR pitch competition, the Company has secured and closed $1M of the $2M; in this instance ROTR will fund its commitment).
  • ROTR does not invest in S-Corps.

The investment is subject to standard due diligence procedures and compliance with standard ROTR Seed Fund administrative and reporting requirements.  To complete legal diligence, we review materials such as financing documents, corporate formation documents, cap tables, and general fundraising data room materials.  We also may complete a basic background check on all founders in the portfolio.

When will finalists be notified?
The finalists will be notified by Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

If I am selected as a finalist, what happens next?

  • Confirm within 24 hours that you are available to pitch in your city on the date the tour stops in your city.
  • Be available from 12PM—5PM the day prior to the pitch competition.
  • Be available from 8AM—7PM the day of the pitch competition.
    • Pitch finalists are invited to participate in other Rise of the Rest tour programming in the morning, then have mandatory pitch rehearsal session mid-day. The main event is 3PM—7PM, with the pitch competition occurring from 5:00PM—6:30PM.
  • Submit a final pitch deck for the competition, subject to ROTR specifications on content and slide count. (A template will be provided for your convenience)
  • Sign a release, granting Rise of the Rest permission to use your company and persons affiliated with your company in promotional and press materials for the tour. 


  • You will receive pitch coaching, courtesy of Rise of the Rest. This is a required prep session.
  • You will receive special access to a series of pre-event educational sessions on a variety of topics related to building a startup, courtesy of Rise of the Rest and some select partners. These sessions will be accessible remotely and conducted via invite-only webinar.
  • You will be invited to join a group call to review the terms of the investment should you win and to answer any general questions about the pitch process.
  • You will meet with a member of the ROTR investment team in your city at some point during the week of March 30, 2020. More details to follow.

What types of companies have won in the past?
Learn more about the winners of the ROTR 8.0 pitch competitions here. You can view the entire Rise of the Rest Seed Fund portfolio of companies here.

How long will it take to apply?
The application should only take 20-30 minutes to complete, and you can start the application, save, and return to the page later. To prepare, see below for application questions:



Rise of the Rest city where you are applying to pitch: *

  • Monday, April 20 | Wichita, KS à any early-stage startup based in Kansas
  • Tuesday, April 21 | Tulsa, OK à any early-stage startup based in Oklahoma
  • Wednesday, April 22 | Oklahoma City, OK à any early-stage startup based in Oklahoma
  • Thursday, April 23 | Northwest Arkansas, AR à any early-stage startup based in Arkansas
  • Friday, April 24 | St. Louis, MO à anywhere in the United States and its territories (must be AgTech or Future of Food focused)

Note: you may only apply to pitch in one city. Since Tulsa and Oklahoma City are both located in Oklahoma, you may choose either city if you are a startup HQ’d in the state. There is no advantage to applying in one city versus another.

Company name: * 

Company website:*

Company industry:*

Founding month / year: *

Your name: *

Your email: * 

Your position in the company: * 

Phone number: * 

LinkedIn profile: * (e.g. http://www.linkedin.com/in/janedoe)

Do you plan to pitch on stage? If no, please list the name and LinkedIn profile of the person pitching: *

Number of employees in the company:*

To date, how much money has your company raised:*

(Please include angel, friends & family, institutional capital, and any non-dilutive funding. If you currently have an open round that is not closed, do not include that.)


Please explain what your company does in one short, succinct sentence.

“X company is a B2B marketplace connecting purchasers of widgets with global manufacturers of widgets” or “X company is an app-based, on-demand medical transportation company.”


In one short paragraph, please explain why your company is positioned for scalable success.

Include details like the problem you are solving, customers you are serving, market opportunity, and how you make money. Limit 200 words.


In bullet point format, please share some key metrics and indicators of your progress to date.

As applicable, include revenue or other performance metrics, user data, customer traction, key partnerships, patents, and any other key information you think is important.


How have you funded the company to date and what are your current fundraising goals?

Provide a short timeline that includes date of funding, type of funding, and notable investors. Please also list any accolades or non-dilutive funding such as pitch competition wins, accelerator participation, and/or grants.


Tell us about the team you have assembled with detail on your executive leadership team and plans for upcoming hires.

How is the team uniquely qualified to build this company? Limit 200 words.


What are the key objectives and target milestones you are focused on achieving over the next year?

This can include product developments, customer acquisition, revenue goals, R&D, or market expansion.  If any of the objectives require a new team member please specify.  Limit 200 words.

REFERENCES (recommended)

Please list 1-2 references who can speak to your experience and/or your company.

References can include investors, angels, advisors, mentors, or professors/university representatives. Please provide name, title, company, and email address.


Pitch deck (required)

Acceptable file types: pdf, mp4, mov, ppt, pptx, avi, mpg, 3gp, flv, webm, wmv, mkv, m4v.

Link to demo or company video (optional)

Please upload a brief video describing your company and vision. Examples of videos include: a past pitch competition, a product demo from your website, or a private YouTube link of the founder speaking about the company.

Note: eight companies will be selected to pitch in each city, but through the pitch application process, we learn a lot about your company and experience. We may invite you to participate in another part of the day or provide your contact information to other Revolution partners and startup support organizations.