Pitchfest showcases innovation in return at HR Tech

The annual Pitchfest competition made a mighty comeback at this year’s live HR Technology Conference & Exposition® with 33 start-ups vying for $30,000 in prize money donated by Randstad Innovation Fund, as well as booth space at next year’s HR Tech Conference.

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The competition opened to a standing-room but socially distanced crowd of attendees in the Expo Hall at the close of the first day of the 2021 HR Tech Conference in Las Vegas, excited to be back at a live event after the pandemic put a pause on Pitchfest last year.

Pitchfest judges Joanne Estrada, Chris Havrilla and George LaRocque grilled start-up entrepreneurs through an opening round featuring a number of organizations from around the globe pitching solutions that address compensation, health insurance, company culture and more.

Related: The HR tech start-up market is booming

Jody Madala and Adam Yee, co-founders of Culturora, pitch their platform to judges at the 2021 HR Technology Conference & Expo Pitchfest.

The competition features rounds of three-minute demos, with two-minute follow-up questions by the judges, whose score will contribute to 70% of their overall score. Conference-goers will also vote, contributing the remaining 30% of each startup’s overall score.

Companies surviving Day 1 and continuing on to the final round were ICC (Innovate. Coach. Consult.), an executive coaching, outplacement and leadership training firm; and Compa, a talent acquisition compensation analytics tool.

The winner will receive $25,000 plus booth space at HR Tech next year. The second-place finisher will win the $5,000 Talent Experience prize.

Ben Brooks, CEO of coaching platform Pilot, Inc., and 2019’s Pitchfest winner, said his experience in the competition was a great one.

“We wanted to do well, which was to have a good pitch,” he has said. “It wasn’t about winning and frankly if we had not come away with a check or the prize money, it would have been completely worth doing because of the experience and what we learned.”

The next round of pitches begins at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Pitchfest Theater in the Expo Hall.

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Nick Otto
Nick Otto is HRE’s former senior digital editor. He is a professional communicator with more than a decade of demonstrated accomplishments in newspaper and trade publishing. He has spent the past five years covering the employee benefits space and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida.