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VIRTUAL Expo Pitch Competition

You’ve worked really hard to solve a problem or bring something good to the world. It doesn’t have to end here. You can make it real and have an impact in the world. We’re here to help you do that. Share your passion and expertise with us by entering the 2020 EXPO Video Pitch Competition. We’re going to award $5,000 in prizes and offer additional coaching and support to help you bring your work to life.


Submit your pitch

Tips and Tricks for Killer Pitches

If you’ve never pitched something before (or even if you have), watch this handy training video full of tips and tricks and examples from some REALLY good (and a few less good) pitches.

Tips and Tricks Video

Submission Guidelines

  • A video (up to 5 minutes) of you presenting your work, pitching how it can have a positive impact in the world (commercially and/or socially), and what you think you need to make it real.
  • Complete the Google Form embedded above and below. Make sure to include a link to your video.
  • Entries are due by NOON EDT on Thursday, April 9, 2020.
  • Submissions will be organized into “Flights” of 6-10 submissions (equal number per flight). Winners of each flight will advance to the finals.
  • Finalists announced ~ April 16
  • Winners announced ~ April 23

Finals Judges


Bethany George

As Managing Director and top contributor in Rev1’s venture capital investments group, Bethany brings leadership and remarkable deal-making capacity, vetting dozens of startups for investment annually. Due in large part to her achievements, Rev1 has scaled from investing $4.1M in 18 companies in 2014 to $15.1M in 35 companies in 2019.  Beyond her role at Rev1, Bethany is the founding Executive Chair of NextGen, a venture capital collective of 85+ investors representing 70+ funds with $5B+ AUM.  The group is a community of professionals within the venture capital industry whose mission is to cultivate, promote and retain the next generation of early stage investment professionals interested in investing in the Midwest.  NextGen has shared 400+ unique deals since Bethany fostered the launch of the group ~2 years ago. She also co-chaired the launch of the mentorship program in 2019.


Ed Kurtz

Soon after they graduated, Ed Kurtz (BBS’74) and Bernie (Schrader) Kurtz (BSJ-74) were married in Ohio.  They packed up their Camaro, said goodbye to everybody at the wedding and headed west to California.  Little did Ed know that he would start up or acquire eight separate businesses in the Golden State during his forty-six-year career.

As a leading solopreneur, Ed became one of the largest and most knowledgeable rice brokers in the country.  Along with his son in law, they now supply a large variety of food items to distributors, manufacturers and food banks throughout the United States.



Jill Raderstorf

Jill oversees our Student Experience Program, which introduces more than 100 students annually to venture capital and entrepreneurship through shadow days, week long boot camps, and internships, both at Ohio Innovation Fund and our startup companies. She collaborates with The Ohio State University Integrated Business and Engineering program, Ohio University Cutler Scholars program, Kent State University Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation program, and Kenyon College’s STEM Scholars program, which includes speaking engagements, group visits, and other student-focused programming.
Jill also ensures the highest quality standards for all due diligence, leveraging her former work as a risk management examiner at the FDIC. She provides portfolio management oversight and analysis, leveraging her work as a senior underwriter at JP Morgan, where she managed a $3 billion debt portfolio.
Jill earned a BSBA magna cum laude from Creighton University, an MBA from The Ohio State University, and was named a Columbus Business First 40 Under 40 honoree in 2019.
Jill serves on the board of the following OIF companies: EmployStream.

Rob Painter

Rob Painter

Rob is presently co-founder and acting COO of I2Pure (inventors of the only 24-hour hand sanitizer moving to production) and the acting CTO of OptIn (a career management platform for hourly workers now supporting workforce challenges in the time of COVID-19 and aiding in their return to work during the months ahead). Rob was a founding partner at Razor’s Edge Ventures, an early to growth-stage venture capital fund focused on investing in dual use technology businesses that offer mission impact to the U.S. Defense and Intelligence Community. Rob serves on the Board of Directors for Ursa Space Systems, SignalFrame, I2Pure, LoudounSTEAM, and Coastal AI Ventures and also serves on the Board of Advisors for Edgybees, Hawkeye 360, Aurtro, OptIn, Aelius Exploitation Technologies, and Vizzario. Rob is a senior fellow and special advisor to the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and serves as a fellow and EIR of the Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and the OU Center for Entrepreneurship. Within the past quarter Rob was selected as a senior mentor and advisor for the 2020 Techstars Air Force Accelerator class and the 2020 Techstars Allied Space Accelerator class. By way of background, Rob was previously was a senior business product manager at Google, where he supported all product lines within Google Geo and In deploying technology for global humanitarian assistance and disaster response activities sponsored by Google. Rob was also the Chief Technologist and senior executive for Google Federal. Prior to Google, he was Director of Technology Assessment at In-Q-Tel, the strategic private equity firm of the U.S. intelligence community. In addition, Rob is excited to note that his entrepreneurial experience grew considerably while at Ohio University where he co-founded Encompass Technologies, a K-through-12 desktop mapping company created to infuse computer-aided, hands-on geography education into classrooms throughout the U.S. Rob is a very proud Bobcat having earned a bachelor’s degree in geography and computer science from Ohio University.

Judging Criteria

  • Quality of presentation – video, visuals, communication, engagement, clarity.
  • Quality of pitch content – how effectively do you answer the following questions:
    • Why you are doing this work?
    • What problem are you trying to solve for whom?
    • How will you do it (through what product or service)?
    • How is it unique?
    • How big is the opportunity?
    • What does success look like and what do you need to get there?
  • Potential for impact – magnitude of potential commercial or social impact, balanced with feasibility.


    •    First Place: $3,000
    •    Second Place: $1,000
    •    Third Place: $500 (two awards)

Pitch prize sponsors:

Pitch Sponsors
Expo Logo 2020

Voice Thread Training:

There are lots of different ways you could produce a 5-minute pitch video. In the tutorial, Paul Benedict demonstrates how you can use VoiceThread to create a pitch video using slides (i.e. PowerPoint) and how to allow for more than one team member to present. You don’t have to do it this way. This is just a way you could do it. Please note that if you have multiple presenters, your video commentary will play sequentially. You can also review your video and re-record it as many times as you’d like before submitting.


Submit your pitch

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us at ce@ohio.edu. looking forward to seeing your pitches!