Latitude59 Pitching Competition is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. For a full decade, startups have had a chance to start their journey from the stages of Latitude59. “We are really proud of that and hope the tradition will continue for a long time,” says Liisi Org, the CEO of Latitude59.
Latitude59, one of the best-known startup conferences in the region, attracts hundreds of high-quality startups, investors and VC’s each year. In 2022, we expect 300+ startups to compete at the L59 Pitching Competition. The prize fund is juicy – most noteworthily, EstBAN has set aside over €400K and their dedicated support to the best of the best. In addition, one lucky startup will be chosen to pitch on an even bigger stage as they represent the Baltic countries at the New Nordics Pitch Competition finals at Slush in November 2022.
Who should apply?
The L59 Pitching Competition is designed to give a much-needed springboard to early-stage and seed-stage startups who are ready to raise funds. “The applicants should have an innovative, scalable and repeatable business model, as well as the potential for global growth. They should have a functioning product with some traction and feedback, and a strong team,” Liisi elaborates.
Anu Oks, the Managing Director at EstBAN stresses the importance of a strong problem-solution and a product-market fit: “We don’t expect all companies to have revenue or high MRR growth but to actually run for this up to €300K investment the company needs to be ready to take the business to a new level and scale to new markets. And of course, there’s always an x-factor, the founding team makes it or breaks it.”
This year, Mait Sooaru from EstBAN is stepping up as the lead investor. Startups need to nail three key factors to charm him: “What I personally am looking for is a great team, inspired by a brilliant idea, supported by a global trend. These are the three main key factors in my opinion that will decide the success of a startup. And these are in the order of importance.”
How to win?
The competition will be tight. Only 50 applicant startups will be chosen for the next round, 10 finalists will get quality feedback and advice from EstBAN’s experts, and the top 3 will get a chance to woo the audience on the main stage of Latitude59.
Kalev Kärpuk’s startup Adact won the competition in 2020. The prize ticket of €200K and EstBAN’s support gave them a whole new perspective. “This was the entire reason why we managed to continue building the company. Pre-investment, we had a technically non-scalable product, and with the investment we managed to develop it into something that we are now able to scale. Throughout the entire year we redeveloped the product from scratch,” says Kalev.
For the benefit of future applicants, we asked Kalev Kärpuk what’s the secret to delivering a winning pitch at L59 Pitching Competition. Here’s what he had to say:
- Stage presence and passion, not numbers, wins pitching competitions. At the end of the day, delivering a great pitch only awards you a seat with the syndicate’s lead investor who, by that time, knows all about the numbers you have been presenting. Sincere passion is what investors are looking for to understand whether you can achieve those numbers.
- Every great pitch has to include at least 1 moment that generates emotion in your audience so you would be remembered. First, perfect the pitch with the “universally approved” structure and once you are 100% comfortable with this, start changing bits and pieces to include parts that make you stand out. Ask for feedback – if amongst 10 pitches no one says they remember your pitch specifically then improve it until they do.
- Finally, the best presenter in the team should do the pitching. It doesn’t have to be the CEO or a founder.
Latitude59’s landmark anniversary Pitching Competition is looking for applicants until April 15, 2022. Send in your application here and start practicing that winning pitch. Everyone is welcome to tune in for the prefinals online on May 2-6 to cheer for the top 50: Prefinals: EstBAN x Latitude59 Pitch Competition 2022.
And see you all at Latitude59 on May 19-20, 2022, to witness the top 3 startup teams delivering their magic on the big stage!
Mait Sooaru is the lead investor for L59 Pitching Competition 2022. He is an experienced business developer and an investor. For example Mait has taken a local company from Baltics to being listed in Brussels Stock Exchange at around half Unicorn value today. Currently Mait has about 40 companies in his portfolio. About one third of the portfolio are early stage or growth companies. Special areas of interest for him are FinTech, GreenTech and New Energy.