Founder Institute Colorado launches Elevation Pitch competition for idea-stage entrepreneurs

June 23, 2021


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The Colorado chapter of the Founder Institute (FI), the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator, has launched an online elevator pitch competition aimed at helping idea-stage entrepreneurs in the Mountain West region improve their ideas and start putting them into action.

The community-driven Elevation Pitch, which is being organized in conjunction with transactional and business law firm Bold Legal, is open for free to anyone with an idea or a startup with less than $10,000 in total revenue or investment.

To be eligible, participants should reside in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Montana, Idaho, or Nevada and submit a public video that is less than 2 minutes long by July 2.

The top pitches, picked by audience voting and competition judging, will then take part in the Elevation Pitch Demo Day. The live online event, which will be broadcast to hundreds of attendees and judged by top startup leaders, will help participants receive significant exposure and promotion across different platforms.

Founder Institute’s co-founder Jonathan Greechan (Image source: LinkedIn)

The top-ranked pitch from the Demo Day will be crowned the Elevation Pitch Champion, winning $1000 in cash from Bold Legal, $1000 in cash from and a Fellowship to the FI Colorado, and a host of resources and mentorship opportunities to help them along their entrepreneurial journey.

Participants get free resources and are invited to join “Idea Jam” online workshops to improve their ideas, learn the best practices of pitching, watch how experts analyze and critique new businesses, and receive constructive feedback. Finalists also get personalized coaching to hone their pitches leading up to the Demo Day.

“With entrepreneurship, the hardest step is usually the first. We’ve designed this competition, and all of the free educational events and prizes, to give people with great ideas the feedback and mentorship needed to get off their butts and start building,” Jonathan Greechan, co-founder of the Founder Institute, said in comments to The Sociable.

Spencer Ingram of West Slope Works, a network for West Slope job seekers, says this is the perfect “judgment-free space” for idea-havers.

“Events like Elevation Pitch are critical to advancing entrepreneurship in our communities because it creates a judgment-free space for people bubbling with ideas, but who may not yet identify as an entrepreneur.”

Delaney Keating, executive director of Startup Colorado, believes the contest provides a great platform to see if an idea is viable while supporting the larger entrepreneurial community.

Diane Bailey, director of Founder Institute Colorado (Image source: LinkedIn)

“We can’t have startups or strong small business communities without bold ideas. Idea-stage pitch events like Elevation Pitch are essential to celebrating the catalytic moment of a potentially viable idea and our creative capacity as human beings,” she said.

Diane Bailey, director of Founder Institute Colorado and founder of, sees a “big gap” in resources to help people turn their ideas into tangible businesses and is confident that Elevation Pitch will “inspire people to do that in a really fun way.”

FI’s co-founder Greechan and Bailey will judge the pitches alongside highly accomplished business people, among whom are:

  • Marc Nager, partner at Greater Colorado Venture Fund, co-founder of Startup Weekend, former CEO of UP Global and chief community officer at Techstars
  • Peter Adams, executive director at Rockies Venture Club, managing partner at Rockies Venture Fund and Pandemic Impact Fund
  • Shea Gerhardt, founder and CEO of Buderflys and PurdyLabs
  • Gary Gaessler, Community Builder at Nylas, co-founder of Cloud Elements

The organizers of Elevation Pitch have partnered with a wider range of entities, including Startup Colorado, Greater Colorado Venture Fund, Technical Integrity, Adattivo, West Slope Works, Finmark, ScreenSpace, BrandShine Creative Services, Athena Digital, TrueNode, COVENTURE, Publicize, Rockies Venture Club, Nylas, Buderflys, The Walden Agency, Greater Colorado Pitch Series, and GAN.

To learn more and apply to the pitch competition, visit The deadline for submission is July 2nd.

Disclosure: This article features a member of an Espacio portfolio company.


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