Ten local startups pitched at The John G. Watson Quick Pitch competition on Wednesday night, where 3 startups walked away with $75,000 in cash prizes.
The John G. Watson Quick Pitch competition is the biggest startup pitch event in the city, with three nonprofits joining forces this year to boost the event’s profile and prizes. Founded 10 years ago by angel investor group Tech Coast Angels, Quick Pitch nearly predates the startup scene itself.
The event used to award winners a small cash prize, but has significantly increased the winnings in recent years. In 2017, the San Diego Venture Group joined forces with Tech Coast Angels, and this year Cox Business was added to the sponsor club.
Both groups used to put on pitch events of their own, but decided to contribute their resources to Quick Pitch instead. Together, they increased the prize this year by $25,000, and brought in a record number of attendees. Mike Krenn, president of the San Diego Venture Group, said he had to cut off registration at 680 people. The event’s organizers didn’t expect all of those people who registered to turn out, but the venue (which seats over 500) had attendees spilling out of the auditorium.
The three finalists won prize money based on ratings from the panel judges. The first place winner was pain management medical device company Neuralace Medical, taking home the $50,000 check. Second place went to artificial intelligence-powered moving app Yembo, winning $10,000. And taking home the bronze was cancer test developer Lynx Bio, which took home a $5,000 check.
Yembo also won the audience favorite vote, snagging an extra $10,000 check for earning the loudest cheers at the event.
This year’s finalists included:
The Atlas Marketplace: A Poway company that provides online community for city officials to share projects and ideas.
CB Therapeutics: A San Diego company that’s producing cannabinoids like THC and CBD from yeast. Co-founder and CEO:
DoWhop: A San Diego company that’s built an online marketplace for people to find and book group activities and excursions. Founder and CEO: Rae Lietzau
Evasyst: An Irvine-based social platform for e-sports.
Galley Solutions: A San Diego platform for restaurants to help manage kitchen ingredients and workflow.
Left: A Los Angeles-based software solution for group travel organizations.Wright
LynxBio: A San Diego company developing cancer tests.
NeuraLace Medical: A San Diego company that makes a medical device for pain management that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerves.
OnePitch: A San Diego company that provides a platform for publicists to share their pitches with journalists all in one place.
Yembo: A San Diego company that builds AI computer vision technology, which can quickly identify items using camera and video and log them in an inventory for professional moving services.