Startups to head downtown for unorthodox drive-in pitch night


It’s going to be unfamiliar.

It’s going to be a challenge.

But at least it’s going to be a pitch night, an event that helps young companies gain much-needed exposure.

Starter Studio has partnered with Project Orlando, the Orlando Economic Partnership and Spectrum for the first-ever drive-in pitch night.

“We racked our brains trying to figure out a creative way to do this,” Starter Studio executive director Lilian Myers said.

A pitch night is born

The pitch night will start in downtown Orlando at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 18, at The Vanguard, 578 N. Orange Ave. REGISTER HERE

The event will feature prerecorded pitches on a movie screen in the parking lot. It will be broadcast on a dedicated FM band.

A q-and-a session will follow each of the pitches, with those who attend able to send questions via text message.

The creative approach, of course, is an effort to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

Myers said several organizations in the community had been hoping to come up with a way to help startups in the pandemic.

That’s where the drive-in idea materialized.

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After all, Starter Studio has in the past hosted its own pitch nights for companies in the space’s accelerator program.

Why feedback matters to startups

The feedback at these events can often help a young company refine its pitch, Myers said.

“It’s invaluable,” she said. “It’s also virtually impossible to do one by one when you can’t gather.”

Project Orlando organizer Devan Deratany said restarting a community staple like pitch nights is all about the entrepreneurs.

It’s important that these founders continue building relationships and showcasing their ideas, she said. “We wanted to offer a creative and safe environment to bring together the Orlando Tech community and honestly, just give everyone a break from the world of webinars.”

Coronavirus pandemic brought any gathering to a screeching halt in March.

Since then, startups have received feedback remotely, for the most part.

Myers said just hosting something like the Drive-In Pitch Night could be beneficial to the startups.

“The most important thing for them is to continue to tune the highest-level message to any ear,” she said. “We have to reimagine how this works.”

As Orlando’s tech ecosystem continues to assess how coronavirus will affect it long term, Myers said the core of the effort remains the same.

“We want to be more intentional about connections,” she said. “We are making these things happen in an entirely different way but it’s happening.”


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    • Hey there, I’d reach out to the groups that are involved in the planning. I know they had said they hoped to do this before the end of year but I’m not involved in the discussions.

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