Pitch Night going Shark Tank style, offering cash

Peak Venture Group’s Pitch Night just got edgier.

PVG joined with El Pomar Institute for Innovation and Commercialization to make the upcoming Pitch Night more like the popular television series, “Shark Tank” with a $500 cash prize for the night’s best startup pitch.

“Shark Tank” style Pitch Night is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus, Berger Hall.

PVG started monthly Pitch Nights in September 2011 as a way for Colorado Springs entrepreneurs to have a shot at making a five-minute pitch on their startup idea before a group of business leaders and even angel investors and the audience has a chance to ask questions and give feedback. The event is modeled after a similar entrepreneur event in Boulder.

Now, the local group is stepping it up. They will bring in investors to serve on a panel of judges, who will grill entrepreneurs about their next-big-thing startup idea.

“El Pomar is putting up the money through EPIIC,” said Etienne Hardre, PVG member and organizer of Pitch Night. “They are also providing one UCCS student team. And we are bringing down official judges — It will be “Shark Tank”- style.”

In the TV show “Shark Tank,” a panel of entrepreneurs and business executives called “Sharks” consider offers from other entrepreneurs seeking investments for their business or product

At Pitch Night, entrepreneurs will have five minutes to pitch their startup ideas to the panel of four entrepreneurs and investors. The panel will provide feedback to presenters, ask tough business questions and then decide who is worthy of the $500 prize.

PVG is accepting pitch ideas until 5 p.m. Feb. 1 at Pitch Night  or email pitch night ideas to letmepitch@pitchnight.org.

“It’s kind of best of the best — there will be people there who have pitched before,” Hardre said. “They are welcome to apply. And, we’ve got a half-dozen new applications from startups we haven’t seen before.”