From an initial field of more than 100 HR tech startups, a young company named Manifest delivered a compelling presentation Thursday to win the closely watched Pitchfest competition—and its $25,000 prize from the Randstad Innovation Fund—at the HR Technology Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas.
Manifest, which helps employers digitally consolidate employees’ 401(k) funds and other retirement accounts, received accolades from Pitchfest judges for the likelihood it would succeed and truly solve an existing business problem, said Michel Stokvis, a Pitchfest judge and senior director of the Randstad Innovation Fund.
Ian McGuire, head of partnerships and operations at Manifest, said the company is one of just a few that helps employees transfer 401(k) accounts to new employers digitally rather than manually.
Manifest may apply some of its winnings to sales and marketing, as well as hire more employees to fuel growth, McGuire said.
Six finalists competed Thursday, with each delivering a five-minute pitch. The other winner was TA referral solution Collabwork, named the most innovative startup using AI and won $5,000 from the Randstad Innovation Fund.
The other finalists were HR Geckos, VirgilHR, Aragorn.ai and Sholder.
Pitchfest is one of the most popular events at the conference, drawing large crowds to watch HR tech startups pitch their companies.
In addition to Stokvis, judges for the event were Steve Boese, chair of the HR Technology Conference & Exposition; Madeline Laurano, founder of Aptitude Research; Tim Sackett, president of HRU Technical Resources; Katherine Salguero, senior investment analyst of the Randstad Innovation Fund; Kim Seals, senior partner with West Monroe. George LaRocque, founder and principal analyst of WorkTech, was the event’s host, presiding over all four rounds of competition and providing data and insights.
Judges’ votes accounted for 70% of the final tally; audience votes, which were cast using a QR code, accounted for the remainder.