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FETC Pitchfest FAQ

What are the categories for Pitchfest 2024?

Immersive Tech - Technologies that create distinct experiences by merging the physical world with digital or simulated reality. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are two principal types of immersive technologies.
Coding, Robotics & STEM - Technologies that introduce and/or facilitate the learning of computer programming, science, robotics, technology, engineering, and mathematics concepts and experiences.
Learning Management System - Technologies that help teachers and administrators manage and deploy content and online coursework.
Social-emotional Learning - Technologies that help students learn and apply social, emotional, and related skills, attitudes, behaviors, and values. This includes thoughts, feelings, and actions in ways that enable them to succeed.
Language Learning - Technology that supports students' proficiency in a targeted language through interactive, meaningful, and cognitively engaging learning experiences.
Early Childhood Learning - Technology that serves children in the preschool years and is designed to improve learning and future academic performance and social-emotional learning.
Online Courses - Technology that delivers a set of instructional experiences and lessons to students using the internet as the delivery system for interaction, learning, and dialogue.
Wild Card - Technologies that do not fit squarely in other categories but fundamentally solve education-related issues in new and innovative ways.

What are the eligibility requirements for startups applying?

  • Pitchfest is open to early-stage startups in the education market.
  • Startups must be established with a management team and public-facing website, able to convey a sustainable business model and demonstrate user traction, engagement, and adoption metrics or strategy.
  • Startups that have raised over $8 million in funds from combined funding sources at the time of application are ineligible.
  • Startups may only enter one product or service to Pitchfest.
  • The product or service must fall into one of the Pitchfest categories.
  • The presenter of the selected startup must attend one Pitchfest coaching session.

When is the application deadline?
The application deadline is October 20, 2023, at 11:59 pm EST.

What does it cost to apply to Pitchfest?
Application Fee: $95.
Note: If a startup purchases a booth in the Startup Pavilion, their Pitchfest application fee will be credited toward their booth purchase cost.

Who is involved in Pitchfest?
The input of FETC staff and key contributors (Coaches, Qualifiers, Advisory Board, Finalists, and Judges) to Pitchfest helps ensure that as many voices as possible have an opportunity to be involved in the event.

We are bootstrapping our startup. Can we apply to have this application fee reduced?
Please email to discuss this further.

How will I know if I have been selected to participate?
All applicants will receive an email notification indicating whether or not they have been selected to participate in Pitchfest.

How many products/services can I submit to Pitchfest?
Each startup will be allowed to submit only one product/service at this year's event. Startups who enter more than one product/service will not be eligible to participate.

How are the products/services screened?
A technology and education experts committee will screen each application to ensure they meet all requirements and review each entry to decide which products or services are the most innovative.

Should my startup create a video about our product or service for the online application process?
We encourage you to include a direct link to a video that could further illuminate your product or service for the selection committee.

Will I receive a registration to FETC if I am selected?
Startups selected as Pitchfest Finalists will receive two (2) complimentary Premium registrations for FETC 2024. These complimentary registrations must be assigned to specific individuals presenting at the event. We cannot issue a refund if you have already registered for FETC.

What if I am not selected as a Pitchfest finalist, but I would still like to attend FETC?
You will receive a complimentary Basic registration if you are not accepted as a Pitchfest Finalist.

What type of payment is accepted for participation?
Application fees are accepted online by credit or debit card through the Pitchfest Application Page.

When will selected startups receive notification?
Pitchfest Finalist and Alternates will be notified by November 6, 2023.

How long will my Pitchfest presentation be?
Each startup will receive:

  • 1 minute for set up
  • 3 minutes to pitch
  • 6 minutes of Judges' Q&A

During the presentation to the judges, how many people can be on stage presenting?
Each participating startup will have only one representative presenting to the judges.

What are the key judging criteria when reviewing startups' online application process?
The evaluation of each application is based on many factors, but the five following criteria are the most important:

  • Creativity (originality of idea);
  • Potential (longevity, actualization, and profitability of idea);
  • Impact (How much does the product or service currently or has the potential to significantly move the needle in providing students with better access to education);
  • Traction (Market traction with regards to sales, users, and marketing exposure);

Who are the Pitchfest judges?
Each judge is a district administrator, teacher, parent, investor, or industry expert. There will be a minimum of three panelists judging each category.

What about my intellectual property?
You, the applicant, are solely responsible for protecting your intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, copyright, trade secrets, etc.) in your idea. If you think you have intellectual property rights or you might want to patent your idea someday, it is strongly recommended that you consult an attorney before disclosing this information in your application.

Applicants are expected to submit a compelling presentation without disclosing critical intellectual property. By applying, you acknowledge that applying for Pitchfest could disclose your intellectual property if such information is included.

FETC is not in a position to protect or advise you on your intellectual property rights and does not take any responsibility for doing so. Additionally, FETC does not require non-disclosure agreements or other confidentiality obligations from anyone involved in the Pitchfest process.

Can I talk about fundraising in my presentation?
Participating startups should not mention their fundraising activities and plans in their presentations and presentation materials. Examples include: whether the startup is fundraising, how much a startup has raised, financial projections, and terms of the offering. Please reserve all conversations about fundraising for private one-on-one meetings with known accredited investors.

Due to the new rules under the JOBS Act regarding general solicitation, FETC requires that participating startups rely upon SEC Rule 506(b) (i.e., not use the event's general solicitation to offer or sell securities). FETC strongly encourages you to become familiar with the new rules under the JOBS Act and to consult experienced legal counsel about applicable securities regulations. By participating in Pitchfest, you agree that FETC does not give investment legal advice and that you are responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable securities laws.

How many winners will there be?
There will be one winner in each category. Winners will be announced at the end of the event.

What will the winners receive?
Winners from each category will receive the following:

  • A Special Pitchfest 2024 Winner Badge (Digital) & Trophy
  • Exclusive Article and Sponsored Content Ad In District Administration Magazine ($1,800 value)
  • 1 Dedicated FETC Social Post
  • Partner Email Blast ($5,000 value)

Can I get a refund of my application or registration fee?
No refund will be given to any application that has been submitted. If you have any concerns regarding our fees and/or the application process, please contact before applying. If you register to attend before being notified by FETC of your status as an applicant to Pitchfest, you will not be eligible for a refund.