Invest Southwest’s Venture Madness Announces New Format for 2018

Invest Southwest  Oct. 26, 2017

Invest Southwest today announced the call for applications for the 2018 Venture Madness conference.  Beginning Oct. 26, 2017 and running through Nov. 30, 2017, companies can submit for a chance to be one of 24 entrants in a pitch competition that will net each of the four category winners a $10,000 cash prize for their business, with one lucky company taking home an additional $10,000 grand prize.

The anticipated annual event, in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority, is back in 2018 with a new one-day format featuring a fast-paced, live pitch competition to find the most promising technology companies in the Southwest. The goal in shaking up this year’s programming is to provide a more attractive schedule for outside investors to attend the event and more time for presenting companies to focus on running their businesses. Additionally, after evaluating previous years’ events, the Invest Southwest Board of Directors has decided to implement specific categories as part of Venture Madness 2018.

“Venture Madness has become an annual tradition that the entrepreneurial and investment communities look forward to,” said Nate Mortensen, Invest Southwest’s 2018 chair. “We’re excited about the changes this year and anticipate a valuable event with more opportunities for startups and investors to connect, build relationships, and learn.”

The Venture Madness conference will include a networking reception on Monday, Jan. 29, 2017, with the pitch competition taking place on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2017 at Galvanize Phoenix. The call for entries begins Oct. 26, 2017 and closes at 3 p.m. MST on Nov. 30, 2017. Six finalists in each category will be chosen to pitch live in concurrent competitions with winners selected immediately. The top four will then go on to present a second time with an overall Venture Madness Champion crowned at the close of the conference.

Categories and criteria for this year’s competition are:

SaaS Launch – open to SaaS/Software companies who are still developing their product or working to find product market fit. Revenue criteria: pre-revenue up to $250,000 in the last 6 months. Capital criteria: bootstrapped up to $500,000 raised from outside investors (friends, family, angels or VCs).

SaaS Scale – open to SaaS/Software companies who are generating consistent revenue and have found product market fit. Revenue criteria: $250,000 – $1.5 million in revenue in the last 6 months. Capital criteria: less than $3 million raised from investors.

Hardware Tech – open to companies building physical products like wearables, IoT devices, drones, robotics, 3D printing, space tech, AR/VR, Ag Tech, new materials, etc. No revenue criteria. Capital criteria: less than $3 million raised from investors.

Deep Tech – Companies working on software solutions with machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain, computational imaging and recognition, etc. No revenue criteria. Capital criteria: less than $3 million raised from investors.

Invest Southwest is also holding a free Get Ready Seminar on Nov. 2, 2017 at Galvanize Phoenix. The seminar is designed to educate applicants on what the judges are looking for in the competition’s application and pitch, as well as how to capture investor interest.

To apply for Venture Madness starting on Oct. 25, please visit the Venture Madness website. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact

Follow the latest  Venture Madness news on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

About Invest Southwest

Invest Southwest is the premier organization for connecting investors with the best and brightest ventures in the region. In addition to providing valuable information on topics important to the investment community, Invest Southwest offers year-round opportunities for investors to connect with emerging growth companies. Its signature event, Venture Madness, is a unique competition presented in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority. Venture Madness pits thoroughly evaluated, emerging companies against one another in a head-to-head competition to crown the champion of champions. Visit for more information.

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