HR Tech 2019: Start-ups shine at Pitchfest

The second group of 10 HR tech products competing for a $25,000 prize took the stage Wednesday morning at the HR Technology Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas. The solutions are among 30 new technologies in this year’s Pitchfest, a showcase of some of the hottest new HR tech solutions on the market.

HRE at HR TECH: Follow along for full conference coverage here.

Two finalists–Icon Savings Plan, which provides low-cost retirement-savings plans, and Leena AI, which builds virtual assistants that answer HR questions –were picked by judges Ilona Jankovich, Jeanne Achille and Jason Corsello, whose votes counted for 70% and were combined with a 30% vote from the audience. Prior to the finalists’ unveiling, each of this morning’s 10 competitors had three minutes to “pitch” their product, followed by two minutes of questions and answers from the judges.

The first round kicked off last night with a rousing welcome from opening keynoter Barbara Corcoran, and the third round, when another two finalists will be picked, is slated for this afternoon–before tomorrow’s big unveiling of the winner.

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More than 100 start-ups applied to compete in this year’s Pitchfest. Event emcee Sarah Brennan, founder of Accelir Insights, noted that this year’s Pitchfest competitors are more dynamic than ever, representing the full gamut of the HR function.

“That’s really exciting for us as companies and technologists trying to change the future of work,” she said.

Check out many of the new products being showcased at the expo at the Start-Up Pavilion, open on the HR Tech expo floor through Thursday afternoon.

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Jen Colletta
Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at