Friday, 29 August 2014

EUROPE’S LARGEST START-UP COMPETITION LAUNCHED

The Coca-Cola Company to Sponsor PITCH 2014 to Uncover Innovative Start-ups from Around the World

Web Summit, the world’s fastest growing tech conference, today announced a new sponsorship with The Coca-Cola Company for PITCH 2014, the largest international start-up competition held annually in Europe, to support global innovation.

The Web Summit Dublin will also expand its PITCH competition this year, which will see 200 start-ups pitch their ideas in front of judges, including well-known entrepreneurs, investors and journalists in Dublin starting on November 4, 2014 until November 6, 2014. Previous judges of PITCH have included Aaron Levie, founder of Box, Phil Libin of Evernote, Michael Birch of Monkey Inferno, Kevin Rose of Google Ventures, Shakil Khan of Spotify and Jawed Karim, founder of YouTube. 

The start-up competition at the Web Summit is one of Europe’s most prestigious awards with a high-level of entries. Only last week 2012 winner, connected home innovators SmartThings were acquired by Samsung for $200,000 million. SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson spoke highly of the value of the award to his company as it emerged from stealth mode at the event and used it as a launch, “It’s probably one of the best attended conferences in terms of depth of the audience and there’s so many hot connections you can make.”

Guy Wollaert, Coca-Cola’s chief technical and innovation officer, and David Butler, vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as Emmanuel Seuge, vice president of global alliances and ventures, will speak at the conference and judge this year’s PITCH competition. The Coca-Cola Company will award the PITCH winners with both cash and
Coca-Cola experience prizes. The two winning teams will be flown to the Company’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, to meet with executives for strategy sessions on their startup and will be exposed to additional capabilities and resources unique to the global scale and reach of The Coca-Cola Company.

Last year, start-ups based in more than 90 countries submitted thousands of applications to compete for a chance to win a $100,000 prize. Last year’s winners were Import.io, a data extraction company from London, and SmartThings.

“The world is changing all around us, and we therefore must change with the world to continue to thrive as a business,” said Guy Wollaert, chief technical and innovation officer at The Coca‑Cola Company. We’re already active in the global startup community through a number of business platforms but we’re always seeking new ways to continue to push the boundaries and stay at the edge of innovation. The Summit and its PITCH competition is the best place to be in this space, and we’re excited to be a part of this year’s event.”

The Summit Dublin’s founder Paddy Cosgrave said, “PITCH is going to be bigger and of a higher quality than ever this year with 200 finalists pitching this November. Some of these startups are fundamentally changing the world with their ideas. I can also think of no better sponsorship to help share and support those ideas than with Coca-Cola and the world’s fastest growing tech festival.”