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$20,000 Hardware Pitch Competition Launched in Detroit

by Lisa Diggs

Lawrence Technological University’s (LTU) Centrepolis Accelerator and Planet M are looking for the next great ideas in hardware development. The two entities are teaming up for a pitch competition that will take place in conjunction with the Hardware Tech Summit, scheduled for June 19, 2019 at the Lexus Velodrome in Detroit.

"The competition provides cash prizes and free services for innovative hardware start-ups and small manufacturers in and out of the mobility space," said Dan Radomski, Centrepolis Accelerator Director, in a statement.

Two cash prizes are up for grabs, totaling $20,000. One prize is $10,000 for Best Michigan Hardware Company, sponsored by LTU Centrepolis Accelerator. The other $10,000 is for Best Hardware Mobility Company, sponsored by Planet M.

Interested companies may enter online. Applications are due by May 31, 2019. Finalists will be notified on June 7, and invited to participate in the Final Pitch Competition at the summit on June 19.

Finalists will be asked to present a 3-minute business pitch, and be prepared for up to 3 minutes of questioning from the judges afterward. Winners will be announced on the spot at the conclusion of the event. The top three finalists will receive support services, and the winners in each category will receive the cash prizes.

Here are the eligibility requirements:

(1) Applicant businesses must be majority owned and/or managed by a person age 18 or older who is not related to any current LTU Centrepolis Accelerator or PlanetM employee.
(2) Companies must have a “hardware” physical product or hardware mobility innovation.  
(3) Preference for companies that can demonstrate the following:

  • Products/processes with strong market potential and defensible intellectual property (IP).
  • Proof of concepts or prototypes seeking market validation and production scaling. 
  •  Existing funding to support product/process development and launch.
  • Management teams that are coachable, demonstrate a strong work ethic and passion for their mission.

(4) Submissions must be the original work of the applicant. LTU Centrepolis Accelerator or PlanetM reserves the right to reject or disqualify any entry for reasons including, but not limited to:

  •  Violates local, state or federal law and/or appears to be unethical in nature;
  • Does not follow application directions or submits an incomplete application;
  • Does not meet the eligibility requirements; or
  • Individual is discovered to not be a full, active and leading member of the business.

(5) If selected as a finalist, the applicant must pitch in person to be considered
(6) To receive the $10,000 LTU Centrepolis Accelerator prize, the applicant must be a Michigan based business.  The award prize will be provided in the form of grant to be utilized for product and/or business development services.

(7) To receive the $10,000 PlanetM: Best Hardware Mobility Company prize, the applicant can be located outside the state of Michigan but must agree to work with PlanetM to explore opportunities to conduct business in Michigan. 


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