Pitch Competitions

Offering promising startups, engaged with partnered colleges and universities, the opportunity to secure foundational capital needed to launch their businesses.

The Pitch Competitions

Elevate Nexus Pitch Competitions are organized into four competitions:
Regional Pre-Seed
Statewide Pre-Seed
Regional Seed
Statewide Seed

Pre-seed investments are for startups seeking funds to build a minimum viable product. Seed investments are for companies that are further along and are building and testing the processes that will be used to ultimately scale the business. It is up to the business to review the eligibility criteria below and determine if they should apply for a Pre-Seed or Seed Pitch Competition.

Applicants are not required to have participated in the pre-seed category prior to applying for the seed category. Applicants who have previously applied for one category may reapply in the same category or apply to a different category in subsequent competitions.

Businesses should select the region in which the business is headquartered. Winners of regional pitch competitions are eligible to pitch at the statewide competition for the same category they won.

Schedule by Location

Following each application acceptance period, applications will be reviewed, and finalists will be selected. All applicants will be notified the status of their application once decisions have been made. At that time, finalists will be notified exactly how many minutes they will have to present their pitch deck and accept questions from judges. Finalists will be notified with a cutoff date to make updates to their pitch deck prior to presenting. Updates though must remain within the application guidelines.

Fall 2022 Regional Pitch Competition
Applications Accepted October 14, 2022
Application Due Date October 31, 2022
Finalists Selected November 4, 2022
Northern Pitch Competition November 15, 2022
Central Pitch Competition November 16, 2022
Southern Pitch Competition November 17, 2022
Spring 2021 Regional Pitch Competition Statewide 2021 Pitch Competition
Applications Accepted April 12, 2021 June 21, 2021
Application Due Date April 23, 2021 July 2, 2021
Finalists Selected April 27, 2021 July 9, 2021
Northern Pitch Competition May 18, 2021
Central Pitch Competition May 19, 2021
Southern Pitch Competition May 20, 2021
Statewide Pitch Competition August 12, 2021
Fall 2021 Regional Pitch Competition
Applications Accepted October 11, 2021
Application Due Date October 22, 2021
Finalists Selected October 29, 2021
Northern Pitch Competition November 16, 2021
Central Pitch Competition November 17, 2021
Southern Pitch Competition November 18, 2021

Eligibility Criteria

Regional Pre-Seed Criteria

Investments should be used for early-stage product or service development- essentially, for preparing the company to maximize its future fundraising opportunities via the assembly and testing of a coordinated, effective core team and the building of a minimum viable product (MVP) that goes beyond a prototype.

To be considered, companies must:

  • Be Indiana based
  • Have a total addressable market of over $500M
  • Have a unique value proposition
  • Have a committed team with ambition to create a venture-backed, high-growth, enterprise
  • Preferably, be engaged with a college or university participating in the Elevate Nexus program
  • Be available to present the company pitch deck in front of an audience to a panel of judges.
Statewide Pre-Seed Criteria

To be considered, companies must:

  • Fulfill all Regional Pre-Seed Criteria outlined above
  • Have won a Regional Pre-Seed Investment
Regional Seed Criteria

Investments should be used for companies that have already validated their value proposition and are developing the levers with which they will define how their businesses will ultimately scale via an infusion of venture capital. It is not necessary to have received a pre-seed investment to be eligible for a seed investment.

To be considered, companies must:

  • Fulfill all regional pre-seed requirements outlined above
  • Have completed an MVP, or if selling in a government regulated field (i.e requires FDA, USDA approval) the company should have a viable plan toward developing a completed prototype or trial results
  • Have conducted customer discovery, and preferably, gone through a formal customer discovery process
  • Start to demonstrate professional operations by adding expertise as managers, board members and/or advisors
  • Preferably, have validated the company’s value proposition by generating early revenue, securing signed contracts, and/or established strategic partnerships with entities that will license or buy the company’s intellectual property upon future development
  • May have, or are in the process of, raising capital
Statewide Seed Criteria

To be considered, companies must:

  • Fulfill all Regional Seed Criteria outlined above
  • Have won a Regional Seed Investment

Investment Terms

Elevate Nexus pitch competition investments are convertible notes with a 20% discount, 8% interest, and a 3-year maturity. Pre-Seed Regional and Statewide investments carry a $1.5M cap while the Seed Regional and Statewide investments have a $3M cap. Terms could be negotiable, subject to an evaluation from the Elevate Ventures investment committee if the business is currently in the process of raising a round with commitments already made.

Companies are only considered winners once a term sheet is accepted.

Application Specifications

Applicants must submit their pitch deck and executive summary following the exact specifications outlined below. Failure to do so will lead to immediate disqualification.

1. Pitch Deck

Provide a pitch deck following the exact order and number of slides below:

  1. Title Slide
  2. Team
  3. The Problem
  4. The Solution
  5. Market Size
  6. Competition
  7. Business Model
  8. Marketing and Sales
  9. Three-Year Milestones
  10. Ask and Use of Funds

2. Executive Summary

Provide a one-page executive summary covering the following topics in the exact order listed below:

  1. Team
  2. Problem
  3. Solution
  4. Market Size
  5. Competition
  6. Business Model
  7. Marketing and Sales
  8. Progress to Date
  9. Future Milestones

Three participating regions

Each Regional Competition takes place in North, Central, and South Indiana at both pre-seed and seed levels. At the conclusion of each competition, nine pre-seed companies (three per region) will receive a $20,000 investment, and six seed companies (two per region) will receive an $80,000 investment for a total of $660K invested.

Northern Region Counties

Adams, Allen, Benton, Blackford, Carroll, Cass, DeKalb, Elkhart, Fulton, Grant, Howard, Huntington, Jasper, Jay, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Lake, LaPorte, Marshall, Miami, Newton, Noble, Poter, Pulaski, St. Joseph, Starke, Steuben, Wabash, Wells, White, and Whitley counties

Central Region Counties

Boone, Clinton, Delaware, Fayette, Fountain, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Henry, Johnson, Madison, Marion, Montgomery, Morgan, Parke, Putnam, Randolph, Rush, Shelby, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Union, Vermillion, Warren, and Wayne counties

Southern Region Counties

Bartholomew, Brown, Clark, Clay, Crawford, Daviess, Dearborn, Decatur, Dubois, Floyd, Franklin, Gibson, Greene, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Know, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Ohio, Orange, Owen, Perry, Pike, Posey, Ripley, Scott, Spencer, Sullivan, Switzerland, Vanderburgh, Vigo, Warrick, and Washington counties