Opinion: Pitch night a much- needed collaboration as Orlando tech seeks new ‘normal’

Lilian Myers of Starter Studio helped pull off a successful Drive-in Pitch Night on Friday.

I need to get two things out of the way . Drive-in Pitch Night had its flaws.

Also, it did not show that pitch nights were “better than ever,” as the Meetup.com invitation boasted.

I mean, pitch nights represent my favorite startup event so that was a tough mountain to climb.

But Friday’s event was still pretty damn good.

Now, I’ll be honest. I’m not sure if I say “pretty damn good” because it felt like the first in-person startup event since 2008.

Or maybe because they adopted my idea of having people in the parking lot honk their horns as “applause.” Sorry, neighbors.

But for whatever reason, it felt great to be back among startups pitching their hearts out.

It wasn’t perfect, but …

Yes, there were hiccups.

Occasionally, there were some audio issues.

I still don’t know who won the second category (which, for some reason, slips my mind right now).

But getting out and seeing the seven startups introduce themselves, then pitch in that unorthodox setting was great.

Success! You're on the list.

It reminded me of that thing we once called “normal.”

I can’t put a timeline on it, of course.

Like everyone, I have no idea when our startup community will return to the old-school networking events.

Still, I do love that this happened and, more importantly, I love that it was successful.

I am excited to know that organizers – Project Orlando, Starter Studio and Orlando Economic Partnership – have already said they will do it again.

Most tech industry followers know that a startup’s success relies a great deal on getting their message out.

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That’s especially true early on.

In the last eight months, opportunities to do that have been rare.

But the entrepreneurs, for their part, executed as if they had been pitching in a random downtown parking lot, alongside a blow-up movie screen with a train roaring by occasionally for years.

One last thing: I have to give major props to Devan Deratany of BlueWave Resource Partners, the night’s emcee.

She kept light and kept the program moving.

I cannot overstate the importance of that when trying something new.

Any slowdown could turn off those who attend.

I imagine she has a background in public speaking, as she fluidly worked through the previously mentioned hiccups.

So, cheers to Devan.

Cheers to the organizers.

Cheers to Drive-in Pitch Night, which I hope becomes a standard in our ecosystem’s “normal” schedule.



One thought on “Opinion: Pitch night a much- needed collaboration as Orlando tech seeks new ‘normal’

  1. Thanks for the coverage, Marco! We can always count on you for candor!
    Lots of learnings from this 1st-of-a-kind event, so we’ll feel okay about the few glitches as we cast into the many unknowns of organizing something like this. We’ll definitely work hard on getting them right the next time. But boy, did it feel great to get these starters to get their messages out to a crowd of folks!

    Second place was a tie between She Plays and Pink Lotus – both women-led companies!

    Here’s to the next one!!!!

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