Thinking about participating in PITCH? See what this co-founder had to say about her PITCH experience, how it benefitted her company and the advice she has for new participants.  

By Dana Rosenberg  (PITCH Competition Coordinator, Women 2.0)

The time has come! Our annual PITCH Competition San Francisco is just around the corner and we’re thrilled to announce that we are now accepting applications. If you’re an early-stage startup with a female founder and less than $1 million in funding, we want to hear from you! Applications are open through January 10, 2014.

PITCH gives you the opportunity to pitch on stage February 13-14th, helping expose your startup to influencers and investors across the country. Past PITCH startup competition finalists have gone on to raise $1.2 million in seed funding, join the ranks of 500 Startups and Y Combinator, and be acquired by the likes of Yahoo!

To learn more about the opportunity, and what PITCH could mean for your company, hear from one of our prior participants, Jill Sherman below.

Jill Sherman, CEO and co-founder of Modalyst


Jill Sherman is the CEO and co-founder of Modalyst, spent over 12 years working in luxury fashion. Most recently she was running the MiuMiu Visual Department at Prada USA and Asia Pacific, accountable for the strategic development of the brand’s image and expansion within all boutique and wholesale accounts throughout the United States and Asia. Prior to Prada, Jill worked at Harvey Nichols managing the Buying Team, at Vogue Magazine as a Fashion Assistant in the Accessories Department, and at Italian Vogue as a Stylist Assistant on the photoshoots. Jill has lived and worked in China for 5 years and holds an MBA from MIT Sloan and BA from Tufts University.


Why did you decide to apply to PITCH?
I have been wowed by entrepreneurs reported on by Women 2.0 for years. Each article is testament to the incredible community and network of women in technology across the world, and I actively use the site as a resource for ideas and inspiration. When I heard of PITCH SF, I had to try my luck and applied. This was especially interesting for us at Modalyst, as we are based in New York City, so speaking at a San Francisco conference opened up new opportunities.


How did pitching as a finalist impact you or your company?
Imagine a room filled with 1,000 of San Francisco’s smartest business women and most talented entrepreneurs. There is nothing more exhilarating (and admittedly, intimidating!) When we pitched Modalyst at Women 2.0, we had only launched our private beta a few weeks earlier. Introducing our company at such a large conference gave us early momentum. In fact, we are growing nearly 30% month-over-month, all through word-of-mouth. I believe that speaking at such a conference of influence has given our business a viral effect on customer acquisition and has helped us secure interesting partnerships.


What was your favorite part of the experience?
Meeting the other Finalists! Although we only had a few days together at the conference, I have grown quite close with a few of the other teams and we have all remained cheerleaders for each other’s success as milestones are reported in the press. Having friends go through similar experiences at the same time eases the tensions of growing from an early startup to a funded company.


What’s one piece of advice you have for future applicants or finalists?
Make your company pitch memorable. This is a fantastic opportunity to be heard – dress it up with pizzazz, add a little humor, and have some fun. Use this experience to attract people to your company, whether or not it is a support network of fellow Finalists, investor interest, or potential partnerships.

Apply to PITCH today. Learn about some other awesome conference ticket types here.

dana_rosenber_profile_imgDana Rosenberg is Director of Business Development at Rock Health. She manages strategic partnerships and sponsorships across the incubator, events and research. Prior to Rock Health, Dana led user acquisition, engagement, marketing and PR at HealthTap and was a consultant at Easton Associates, a healthcare strategy consulting firm. Follow her on Twitter at @DanaRosenberg.