After a week of product run-throughs, practice pitches, and dozens of scripts it was time to compete in the local qualifier for the global Get in the Ring Pitch Competition. The winner of the competition wins a trip to Singapore to represent Colorado and the USA on a global scale. The company being pitched was Tejon Technologies Inc, a database startup that is disrupting the custom database industry with their product TejonDB. In short (nontechnical people stay with us), their product takes the reliability of SQL databases combines that with the flexibility and flare of no SQL graph/visual databases into their codeless custom database configuration studio. Think of it like Squarespace for databases bringing accessibility to custom databases for small and midsize companies by lowering the cost and time of development. Heading into the competition co-founders Paul Nielsen and Samuel Elliott understood how complex their product was and how it may not be a good fit for a flashy pitch competition.
Paul and Samuel are not new to pitch competitions and their formats. Both have been board members of the Colorado Springs non-profit Peak Startup that host programs, events, and provides resources to grow the local startup ecosystem. But this pitch competition was different. Rather than the same old one, five, or ten-minute venture style pitch the competition was formatted like a boxing match with different rounds where competitors face off head to head only allowing one team to advance. The five rounds followed the same format 1) Introduction 2) Team 3) Accomplishments 4) Business Model 5) Freestyle. Rounds one and five are one minute while rounds two, three, and four are only 30 seconds. All rounds must be completed without slides or visuals. Physical props were the only thing teams were allowed to have on stage.