HR tech Number of the Day: Pitchfest prize


The pandemic, along with the increased expectations for DE&I and other shifts that have taken place over the last year, are driving innovation in the HR technology space. That means, more than ever, the market is crowded, competitive and, most of all, exciting.

Those realities will be on display at Pitchfest, a live competition among 30 innovative new HR tech solutions during next month’s HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas. The winner will receive a $25,000 prize donated by Randstad Innovation Fund, as well as booth space at next year’s HR Tech. The second-place finisher will win the $5,000 Talent Experience prize.

What it means to HR leaders

A recent survey of senior HR leaders by Lyra Health, Boston University and Future Workplace found a significant shift in executives’ priorities, with mental health, DE&I, leadership development, employee experience and remote management all ranking at the top of their lists–areas where supportive technology is exploding.

As industry analyst Josh Bersin said at the Spring HR Tech Conference, the theme for HR technology this year will not be recovery, but rather transformation–and HR leaders need to stay clued in to where the innovation is happening in order to keep up with the demand for tech transformation. At HR Tech, attendees can see innovation in action at Pitchfest, which is held on the expo floor and draws a large crowd of spectators who can participate in audience voting, which is combined with selections from a panel of expert judges.

The competition will feature three rounds of 10, three-minute demos, with the top two vote-getters in each round competing in a final matchup on Sept. 30.

If you’re one of the 30 startups selected to compete, Ben Brooks, CEO of PILOT, the 2019 Pitchfest winner, recently shared with HRE some words of wisdom. For instance, make sure you rehearse repeatedly for your demo, limit industry jargon and do your research–on previous winners and through feedback-gathering about your own product.

And, actively participate in all rounds as a spectator. “[By watching the other rounds], I got to see what they did, where they tripped up, their pitfalls, hear the judges,” Brooks says. “You have to give a very pithy [pitch], like you’re on sort of a cable news show and you’re on a panel and you’ve got to get that point in. I didn’t know that in advance, but by watching, we learned that.”

To learn more about Pitchfest and register for the HR Tech Conference, click here.

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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