Startup casting call: GeekWire’s Elevator Pitch competition returns for a second season

Participants in GeekWire’s Elevator Pitch season one take a ride in the historic Smith Tower elevators. (GeekWire Photo / Dan Delong)

Some startups go up, others go down.

We’re back for another season of GeekWire’s Elevator Pitch video series, where entrepreneurs compete for startup glory … on the 48-second ride to the top of Seattle’s landmark Smith Tower.

GeekWire is thrilled to be partnering with PACCAR as the title sponsor of season two of our Elevator Pitch. The Bellevue, Wash.-based truck maker, known for iconic brands such as Kenworth and Peterbilt, is infusing innovation into its operations, and as part of that we’ve picked four core areas this season where a dozen lucky entrepreneurs will compete. Those areas are:

  • Environmental Impact
  • IoT/Sensors
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Mobility/Transportation

Now, here’s the fun part. If you are an entrepreneur with the next great idea in one of those four areas, make sure to apply to the Elevator Pitch by submitting your application with the subject line — I Want to Pitch on the Elevator Pitch — to me at Just include the following information:

  • Company
  • Names of founder(s)
  • Pitch person (CEO or founders only)
  • Elevator Pitch category
  • Founding date
  • Company website
  • Number of employees
  • Funding level
  • Your one sentence business pitch
  • Why you’ve got what it takes to win The Elevator Pitch
  • Any video clips of you talking about your business (not required)

We’ll select three up-and-coming entrepreneurs in each of the four categories, with filming taking place from 7:30 a.m. to noon, August 19 and 20 at Smith Tower.

The four winners from each of the categories will advance to the Elevator Pitch finals at the GeekWire Summit, taking place at the new Hyatt Regency in downtown Seattle on Oct. 8-9. The Summit is GeekWire’s highest profile event, with 1,000 business, tech and scientific leaders in the audience. Speakers this year include Microsoft president Brad Smith; Outreach CEO Manny Medina; Convoy CEO Dan Lewis; Auth0 CEO Eugenio Pace; and former NFL wide receiver Doug Baldwin Jr., as well as a venture capital panel featuring Amy Bohutinsky of TCV, Megan Quinn of Spark Capital, and Hope Cochran of Madrona Venture Group.

GeekWire’s John Cook, left, speaks with Elevator Pitch finalists at the 2018 GeekWire Summit. . (GeekWire Photo / Dan DeLong)

We are looking for entrepreneurs who have seen a bit of traction with their technology, perhaps pre-revenue but with an actual product on the market or in the works. Typically, Elevator Pitch startups are operating in the seed to Series B financing range, though we also love bootstrapped stories where entrepreneurs have built their companies foregoing outside capital.

We’re also excited to announce that T.A. McCann of Pioneer Square Labs and Heather Redman of Flying Fish Partners will return as judges for season two, joined by PACCAR Chief Technology Officer Kyle Quinn and Darrin Siver, the senior vice president of PACCAR’S Peterbilt line of trucks.

Last year, the Elevator Pitch competition was fast moving and fun, culminating in an on-stage pitch off at the GeekWire Summit where Jonathan Kumar of Samaritan, who is building an app that brings a giving solution to the unsheltered, took home the top prize. Kwame Boler of NEU, who is rolling out on-demand cleaning services to Airbnb properties, received the Geek’s Choice audience award.

So, what are you waiting for? Jump on board, and join us for The Elevator Pitch!