By Rebecca Lipon (Application & Judges Coordinator, PITCH Competition 2012)
Pitching your early-stage startup is hard work — and investigating funding sources is a serious task for those who want to go big.

There is no secret sauce for startup success, but early exposure to VCs is a key component in getting investment and iterating on your product. With the mission of increasing the number of female founders starting startups, Women 2.0 created a path for women to gain feedback, coaching, and exposure to the best venture capital firms and startup executives.

This is the Women 2.0 PITCH Startup Competition.
What is PITCH and why should you apply?

  1. Apply for FREE to PITCH thanks to a Bing sponsorship. The first 100 applications will be free thanks to Bing!
  2. PITCH is essentially a business model competition for early-stage startups with at least one female on the founding team that have a beta product and less than a million in funding.
  3. PITCH applications are reviewed by VCs, connecting you to the best firms in the world and feedback on whether or not your team, product, and target market match what VCs are looking for at this time. A number of connections have been made between applicants and judges in previous PITCH competitions.
  4. PITCH Finalists are invited to present live at the 2012 Women 2.0 PITCH Conference in front of a VC judging panel and live audience. Finalists receive personalized coaching, practice sessions, feedback and guidance from a team of experienced professionals.

How do I get ready to apply for PITCH?

  • Got an idea but no product? Attend a Startup Weekend or similar hackathon to sell your idea to people and get it prototyped (ie. create a minimum viable product). If you can’t find the resources to build a prototype, do some paper prototyping.
  • Got a product? Is it in beta stage? Want to take it to the next level? Apply for Women 2.0 PITCH Startup Competition for a chance to be one of the lucky finalists onstage pitching in front of VCs and a live audience at the annual Women 2.0 Conference.

The competition is open to early-stage ventures from around the world from web to mobile, from double bottom line businesses to connected devices. To be eligible, your startup must be in beta stage, have received less than a million in funding, have a technical co-founder, and have at least one female on the founding team.

Bing is sponsoring Women 2.0 PITCH, so the first 100 applications for the competition will be FREE of charge!

Applicants compete for the opportunity to pitch their venture onstage at Women 2.0’s Annual PITCH Conference to a judging panel of investors and audience on February 14, 2012.

Applicants and finalists gain exposure and access to investors. Get your startup in front of the Women 2.0 community of influencers and entrepreneurs! Judges hail from Accel Partners, True Ventures, Shasta Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Blue Run Ventures, Good Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, CMEA Capital, Illuminate Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, Mexican.VC and more.

What are you waiting for? Deadline to apply to PITCH is November 30, 2011.

For competition details and to apply, click here.

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.
About the guest blogger: Rebecca Lipon is a product marketing manager at Synopsys, where she works to make sure the technology for verifying computer chips is state-of-the-art. A passionate advocate for women in technology, Rebecca mentors several San Francisco Bay Area non-profits and sits on the board of Spark SF, an organization promoting equality for women throughout the world. Rebecca is also the lead singer of the funk and soul band Sinister Dexter. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT. Follow her on Twitter at @rebeccalipon.