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2023 Pitch Competition
Over $75,000 in Prizes!

Applications are closed for IdeaFunding 2023

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A "pitch" is a 3 minute story of a company. It provides all the basics of who, what, why, and how an idea will succeed. IdeaFunding's annual pitch competition provides an opportunity for Arizona companies to share their stories with our community for a chance to win a number of cash prizes including a $25,000 grand prize on the main stage.


To participate, each company must submit an application and participate in the training and "down-rounds". Applicants will advance through multiple rounds as selected by a panel of qualified judges and mentors and will go head to head for a chance to pitch live at the grand finale of IdeaFunding on November 9th during the TENWEST Impact Festival at the Tucson Convention Center.  

2023 prizes include a main stage cash award of $25,000 plus a year of incubation at UACI valued at over $10,000, multiple $2,500 awards for industry vertical rooms and special prizes, such as the Social Impact Prize, the Adelante Arizona Prize, and the People's Choice Award. 

Join in on the excitement and inspiration of innovation happening in 3 minutes or less and apply today! 

Applications for IdeaFunding 2023 are now closed.

IdeaFunding is Presented by:

Pitch Competition Co-Led by:

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Pitch Competition Overview

Eligibility Requirements:

  • IdeaFunding is open to companies of any industry.

  • Applicant must be the owner, principal, or general manager or member of the leadership team of the applying business.

  • Your company must be a primarily Arizona company to participate. 

  • Your company must be an “early stage” company to participate (please read Rules & Regulations for further clarification). 

  • You must have a business account and formal entity to receive funding. 

  • At least one founding member of your company must be over the age of 18. 

  • Prior IdeaFunding participants are eligible to compete again with the exception of any main stage finalists. 

Application Requirements:

  • Entries that do not comply with instructions fully will not be accepted. 

  • All questions must be answered in their entirety.

  • Applicants must meet all eligibility requirements.

  • You will be required to describe non-sensitive information about your business plan. This information will be shared with the Startup Tucson and UACI teams in addition to our volunteer mentors and judges. 

  • Applications are due by August 30, 2023 at 10:00pm AZ Time (MT)

Training & Pitch Expectations:

  • All teams selected to participate are required to attend IdeaFunding Pitch Training & down-selects. You must ensure that you or someone from your team will be available to participate in the following key dates of the competition (full schedule below).

  • The application process involves an initial selection and two additional down-selects. 

  • Applicants will be notified no later than August 31st if they have been accepted into IdeaFunding. 

  • Applicants will participate in the initial training and the first down-select. Not all applicants will be selected to continue after the first down-select. 

  • Feedback from judges will not be provided during the first down-select. Collective feedback from judges will be provided for the second down-select. 

  • UACI will confirm all eligibility for companies selected to advance to the second down-select. 

  • The second down-select will determine which companies are selected to compete for the main stage prize and which companies are selected to compete for the additional prizes on the day of IdeaFunding. Not all first down-selected companies will be selected for the final day. If not selected for the main stage, company will not be competing for the main prize. 

  • Initial training, first-down selects and office hours will occur online on zoom. 

  • The second down-select will occur in-person at The Refinery at UA Tech Parks: The Bridges on October 4th and 5th. You must attend one of the two final down-select sessions.

  • A member of your company’s leadership team must be the individual that presents.

  • The same member of your team that presents on Oct 4/5 is the individual that must present on the day of IdeaFunding. 

  • Companies selected to advance after the second down-select will be asked to re-opt in to confirm understanding of their advancement and the prizes they will be eligible for on the day of IdeaFunding (breakout pitch rooms vs. Main Stage).

  • After re-opting in, individuals that drop-out without an excuse or do not show up to pitch on the day of IdeaFunding will not be eligible to compete in any future IdeaFunding pitch competitions. 

  • You will have access to mentors and advisors to assist you in developing your pitch throughout the process.

  • All pitches throughout the training and down-selects and on the final day of IdeaFunding will be 3 minutes with 3 minutes QA with the judges. 

  • External judges will help to select companies for the first and second down-selects and the final day competitions. These judges will use a rubric.  

  • All applicants selected for down-select must have a pitch deck (max 10 pages) by the date of the first down-select and use this deck for all down-selects and the final competition if selected to advance. Pitch decks may be changed throughout the process. For the final competition, decks must be submitted to organizers by the stated deadline. All final decks should be submitted in PDF format. 

  • Animation, video and audio pitch components are not supported. Props and product samples are allowed provided they do not interfere with staging components. 

  • IdeaFunding includes various prize levels. Based on down-selects, not all companies will be eligible for all prizes.

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Training Schedule
August 30th
Applications Close
August 31st
Applicants notified of advancement
September 6th
Pitch Training & Orientation (Required) Location: Zoom Time: 4pm-6pm MT
September 10th
Initial Pitch Decks due by 11:59p for First Down-Select
September 13th
First Down-Select (Required) Location: Zoom Time: 4pm-6:30pm MT
September 14th
Startup Drinks: IdeaFunding Edition with UACI (not required) Location: The Refinery at The Bridges Time: 5:30pm-6:30pm MT
September 16th
First Down-Select Applicants notified of advancement
Week of September 18th
Office Hours with UACI Mentors/Team (Required) Location: Zoom Time: Flexible booking of Individual Slots
October 1st
Second Down-Select Pitch Decks Due (Required) - Decks must be submitted in PDF Format by 11:59p on October 1st.
October 4th or 5th*
Second Down-Select and Main Stage Selection (Required) Location: The Refinery at The Bridges Time: 4pm-6:30pm MT *Teams will choose to attend on the 4th or the 5th. Survey to sign-up for date sent after first down-select.
October 6th
Finalists notified of advancement
October 9th - November 2nd
Additional Optional Office Hours and Pitch Prep for Finalists as scheduled with Startup Tucson and UACI
November 9th
IdeaFunding Final Pitch Competition (Required) Location: Tucson Convention Center Time: Various times from 9am - 8pm Includes Main Stage Pitch Competition and Vertical Pitch Rooms

*This Pitch Competition does not constitute “general advertising and general solicitation.” This event is not for offering and selling company securities to qualified investors.  No mention or solicitation of investment funds or equity can be discussed at any time, in compliance with the Securities Act of 1933 and the updated policies of SEC Rule 148. IdeaFunding organizers reserve the right to remove any team from the IdeaFunding Pitch Competition at any time.

Training Schedule
2023 Pitch Prizes

The top 5 companies selected from the 2nd down-select on October 4 and 5th will compete on the Main Stage at IdeaFunding on November 9th. Main Stage prizes include:

Grand Prize:
$25,000 CASH
+ 1 Yr Incubation at 

Sponsored by:

= $35,000 TOTAL
2nd Prize:
$5,000 CASH
+ 1 Yr Incubation at 
= $15,000 TOTAL
People's Choice:
$1,000 CASH
Industry Rooms:

20 additional applicants will be selected to advance from the 2nd down-select and grouped to compete into similar industry verticals. 2022 categories are included below but may be modified slightly based on final pool of companies.

Consumer Product
ADditional Prizes:

All 25 companies selected to advance to pitch as part of IdeaFunding on November 9th are eligible for the following special prizes subject to an additional video application. These prizes are selected by juries from the applications themselves and awarded at IdeaFunding but are not judges on the day of pitches.

Adelante Arizona Prize:

This prize supports diverse founders, such as women-owned and BIPOC-owned companies. 

Sponsored by:

Social Impact Prize:

This prize supports companies with an exceptional social and community impact. 

Sponsored by:

Tech Launch Arizona Liftoff Prize:

Award for the Best University of Arizona Related Startup

This prize supports companies founded by at least one University of Arizona student, faculty, staff member, or alumus, OR founded to commercialize an innovation developed by a UArizona student, faculty, or staff member that has demonstrated success.

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Funding for this Prize is supported by Startup Tucson:

Tucson Foodie Artisan Food Prize:

Award for the Best Up-and-coming Local Food Artisan or Purveyor

This prize supports locally-owned craft food and beverage artisans and purveyors from the Southern Arizona community. Applicants must be actively selling in the market and must have all necessary licenses in place (cottage, etc.) to qualify.


Sponsored by :

Cox Sustainability Prize

Award for Best Environmentally Sustainable Company

This prize supports companies working to solve a problem related to improving environmental sustainability. Applicants must be working on solving a problem related to improving environmental sustainability.

Sponsored by :

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We are able to provide high caliber experience at a low cost to entrepreneurs through the generosity of our partners and sponsors. Consider joining us and building your brand by sponsoring a track, a pitch competition, or a prize. We can work creatively for your budget and messaging goals.


Contact for more information. 


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