Now Is the Time to ‘Get in the Ring’: Pitch Competition Application Opens for U.S. Entrepreneurs

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Kauffman Foundation hosts U.S. competition and first-ever North American ‘Startup Clash’ finals, sponsored by Sprint; Winner heads to international competition in the Netherlands, a signature event of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

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Applications are now open for U.S. entrepreneurs to compete in the second annual Get in the Ring: The American Startup Clash competition hosted by the Kauffman Foundation. Entrepreneurs have until Aug. 15 to apply at for the chance to pitch their companies against the most promising startups in the country, the continent and, possibly, the world.

Get in the Ring is a pitch competition founded in 2009 by the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship in the Netherlands to bring the world’s most promising entrepreneurs together with those who can help them succeed and to inspire others to start their entrepreneurial journeys. In just five years, the competition has grown to include more than 60 countries.

Up to 20 U.S. semifinalists will be selected from among all written applications received to submit a three-minute application/pitch video. Judges will review the videos to select five national finalists.

This year, five U.S. finalists will go on to compete against five finalists from Mexico and five from Canada in the first-ever North American Startup Clash, also hosted by the Kauffman Foundation and sponsored by Sprint. All 15 national finalists will travel expense-paid to Kansas City, Mo., on Nov. 6, where they will receive educational presentation coaching, national and international exposure, and networking opportunities with leading entrepreneurship experts before competing in a preliminary round. A panel of judges will narrow the national finalists down to eight North American finalists.

The North American champion will be crowned at an exciting primetime event in which the entrepreneurs literally step in a boxing ring for a verbal sparring match to determine the best startup. It will be held at the historic Midland Theatre in downtown Kansas City, Mo., on Nov. 7, 2014. An esteemed panel of judges — including Brad Keywell, cofounder of Groupon and managing director of Lightbank, and Mark Hasebroock, serial entrepreneur and founder of Dundee Venture Capital — will evaluate the startups on criteria such as team composition, revenue model and business plan. The North American champion will then travel to the Netherlands for the global finals for a chance at prizes, exposure and the opportunity for angel funding.

Any entrepreneur meeting the following criteria is eligible to apply for the U.S. competition:

  •     The startup is not more than five years old.
  •     The founder is a United States citizen and proficient in the English language.
  •     The startup is a scalable and innovative business idea or model.
  •     The entrepreneur has a valid passport and is able and willing to travel to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, for the international finals.
  •     The entrepreneur is seeking funding of up to $1 million (if he or she wins the North American competition and his or her startup is determined to be worthy of funding by investor judges at the Rotterdam finals).

Winners from seven global regions — North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe and Southern Europe — will then advance to the international Get in the Ring finals in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, for a chance to secure angel investment of more than $1 million. The 2013 U.S. winner, EyeVerify founder Toby Rush, won the global title.

More information about the American and North American Get in the Ring competitions is available at; more information about the international Get in the Ring competition is available at Also follow Get in the Ring on Twitter at @GITR_GEW and on Facebook at

About the Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works with partners to advance entrepreneurship in America and improve the education of children and youth. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo. For more information, visit, and follow the Foundation on and

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Neil Neumeyer

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Goldin Solutions
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