Established® Announces Its First Virtual Startup of the Year® Summit, Top 100 Startups & Featured Speakers

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100 of the most promising early-stage startups to compete online at the 8th annual Startup of the Year Summit on November 16-18, 2020

2020 Startup of the Year Summit

2020 Startup of the Year Summit

”Being able to peek in on the Semifinal round during Summit is going to give so many startups out there the insight into what it’s really like to pitch and answer questions for the judges” Frank Gruber, Co-CEO of Established.

For the first time in its eight year history, the Startup of the Year Summit is being held online. The new format allows for a global audience to participate in the yearly entrepreneurship conference and startup competition. At the Summit event, the Established team brings startups together with the corporate partners, customers, startup enthusiasts, seasoned mentors and advisers, and investors who make up the crucial ecosystem of support for every startup. One of the highlights of the Summit is the Top 100 competition. It is the culmination of a year-long, worldwide search for diverse early-stage startups. The Semifinalists pitch for the 2020 Startup of the Year title and up to $20K in potential investment from Established Ventures. The Top 5 Finalists will be announced at 3:30 (ET) on Wednesday, November 18th and will go directly into their Pitches. The Awards Ceremony follows their pitches and is open to all.

COVID-19’s impact on large gatherings and events has posed a challenge for early-stage businesses that typically rely on networking, in-person coaching, and travel to meet with investors. The Established team pivoted their startup events into a virtual format. By holding four Startup of the Year pop-up pitch events online in 2020, the team was able to draw attention to applicants for the program and connect them with virtual Office Hours throughout the year.

“I think a really interesting aspect of this year’s Startup of the Year competition is going to be the ability to watch many of the semifinals pitches. We’ve never done this before at Startup of the Year - normally, the Top 100 pitch to judges in closed-door sessions, and only the Top 5 Finalists pitch live in front of our audience. Being able to peek in on the Semifinal round during Summit is going to give so many startups out there the insight into what it’s really like to pitch and answer questions for the judges,” said Frank Gruber, Co-CEO of Established.

The Top 100 list includes startups solving some of the most interesting problems including technology platforms for social justice, public safety robots, diversifying hiring, education breakthroughs, molecular biology, home security, sustainable waste upcycling, health and medical advances, lending, mental health, and so many more.

In order to help all Top 100 startups boost their social profile and gain exposure before the event, Startup of the Year holds a People’s Choice online poll, which is live now at By visiting the poll, anyone can learn more about each startup in the competition, and vote for their favorites across the different industry categories. The list of the Top 100 Startups from the 2020 Startup of the Year program can be found here:

“This year’s headlining sponsor is the top-level domain .US, who is helping us find the most promising startup led by a US military veteran with an additional $10,000 non-dilutive cash prize,” added Jen Consalvo, Co-CEO of Established. The Startup of the Year organizers led an expanded effort to reach entrepreneurs who are considered Veterans for this contest: active-duty, reserves, retired, or household dependents in the US military. Of the nearly one thousand applications we received, 18 of our Top 100 startups have a veteran on their founding team. The winner of the .US Veteran Startup of the Year Award will also be announced after the Top 5 Finalist pitch during the Summit Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, November 18th.

In addition to featuring 18 veterans, more than half of the Top 100 startups have a woman on the founding team, and 75% of the founding teams include founders of color. 25 different US states and 5 different international countries are represented across the Top 100.

The 2020 Summit is free for everyone. The online format allows for attendees to customize their experience. Registration is now open at Programming will include entrepreneur-focused talks with featured speakers and Ask-Me-Anything interactive sessions with knowledgeable industry professionals who have backgrounds in venture capital, media relations, government contracting, and serial startup founding.

Featured speakers include: Tim Draper (Founder, Draper Associates and Draper University; Author, Startup Hero), Mike Evans (Co-Founder, GrubHub; Founder, Fixer; Author, Hangry, Kara Goldin (Founder and CEO, Hint Water; Author, Undaunted), Rohit Bhargava (Founder, Non-Obvious Company; Author, Non-Obvious Mega Trends), Zvi Band (General Manager, Compass; Author, Success in you Sphere: Leverage the Power of Relationships to Achieve Your Business Goals), Lo Toney (Founding Managing Partner, Plexo Capital), Whitney Johnson (CEO, WLJ Advisors; Author, Disrupt Yourself and Building a Team), Sarah Evans (digital PR strategist and global brand correspondent), Marlon Nichols (Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Cross Culture Ventures), John Fein (Founder and Managing Partner, Firebrand Ventures), Carolyn Rodz (Founder and CEO of HelloAlice), Marc Nager (Co-Founder Greater Colorado Venture Fund), and more.

About Startup of the Year®
Powered by Established, the Startup of the Year program is a global competition, world-wide community, and resource to elevate startup founders. Since 2006, the Established team has discovered and supported the most promising and innovative startups from around the world via this annual competition, its Investment Community, Daily Dealflow™ newsletter, Startup of the Year Podcast, Activation Events, and more. For more about the Startup of the Year program, visit

About Established®
Established is a consultancy focused on helping organizations with their innovation, startup and communication strategies. Created by the talent responsible for building the Tech.Co brand (acquired in 2018), Established leverages decades of experience to help collaborators build their brand, engage audiences and accomplish their goals. For more about Established, visit

About .US
Registry Services, LLC, one of the largest and leading registry service providers in the world, manages the .US top-level domain, the official country-code domain for the United States of America. Since 2001, the Registry Services team and supporting infrastructure have successfully managed and operated the usTLD under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Commerce, consistently delivering a safe, secure, credible namespace with nearly 12 million domains under management. Registry Services, LLC and the usTLD are proud to support the Veteran community, who own one in ten of the country’s businesses, employ nearly 5 million American workers and produce more than $1 trillion in sales each year. A .US domain is the online place that connects cause and country to make your venture a success.

CONTACT: Jessica Boone, VP Events & Communications, Established |

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