Last week, MySwimPro competed in the Techweek Launch competition at Merchandise Mart in Chicago. 126 other startups pitched in the annual technology conferenced that is focused on featuring the most innovative tech startups and entrepreneurs impacting the world. Adam and I were thrilled to showcase what we’ve been working on and share the progress we’ve made as a company since our last Techweek appearance in Detroit just two months prior!
Hundreds of startups flocked to Chicago from around the world to pitch their vision to leading venture capitalists, the media and tech enthusiasts. Techweek brings together a diverse breadth of companies including startups innovating on transportation, personal finance, enterprise software and healthcare. The format for the launch competition was simple. Pitch to a series of anonymous judges in the expo on Thursday. The top 16 semi-finalists would then pitch to a panel of judges the following day and were announced that evening. On Friday, the top 5 would be selected as Finalists to pitch to the judging panel and the winner walks away with $85k in cash and prizes!
Just like preparing for a swimming competition, we clearly defined measurable goals before attending the Techweek Launch championships. We intended to:
- Improve our judging scores from Detroit
- Practice pitching
- Grow our network in the Chicago tech community
- Have fun
Judges evaluated startups by their ability to present their team and clearly define the problem, market opportunity, and solution they’ve created. Traction and strategy were also important components of the pitch. We presented the company several hundred times in the two days of the launch competition!
Adam and I stole the show with our white blazers. We also brought attention to our booth with the swim cap and goggles that we displayed on our round-table. Some attendees thought:
“Is that Google glass for swim goggles?”
A lot of people were intrigued by our Apple Watch app that we had on display. The wearable market is growing quickly, and the functioning Apple Watch App Adam produced at our inaugural Internal hackathon definitely generated buzz around our booth! We were even lucky enough to meet a gentleman who swims 3x/week with his Apple watch. You can read more about our Internal hackathon from Adam’s post here.
Once the judging totals were in, our scores were high enough to advance our team to the semi-finals, where I got to pitch shark-tank style to a panel of judges on the K&L Gates stage. Although we did not secure the glorious trophy, we successfully achieved our goals, and look forward to sharing our progress since the launch competition.
As former collegiate swimmers, we had the itch to go for a dip in beautiful Lake Michigan. After Techweek, we headed to Ohio Street beach for a mid-day open water swim with our friend Christian. The water was in the low 60s, and neither of us wore body suits! We swam out against the current, and came back feeling like superheros with the current. We spotted a number of fellow open water swimmers and triathletes getting in their weekend swim. In total, we swam about a mile along the magnificent Chicago shoreline!
Techweek in Chicago was a great opportunity for Adam and I, and I’m already looking forward to our next adventure!