March 21, 2024 - 10:03 am

TCNewTech pitch competition returns with University Showdown event

By 20Fathoms

20Fathoms is pleased to announce that the next TCNewTech pitch competition will be held Tuesday, Apr. 23, from 4 – 7 pm at the City Opera House in Traverse City. Part of Northern Michigan Startup Week, the “University Showdown” pitch competition will feature students from universities throughout Michigan competing for prize packages including cash and startup services.

The 2024 event marks the third annual University Showdown event. Previous winners were Brendan Wang, Founder & CEO of CAPNOS, from Michigan State University in 2022 and Jordan Craven, CEO & Co-Founder of The Fitting Room by Sizeologic from Michigan Tech University in 2023.

“We’re thrilled to bring TCNewTech back to the community with the University Showdown which has been a highlight of Northern Michigan Startup Week each year,” said Eric Roberts, Executive Director of 20Fathoms. “The pitches are impressive and inspiring – it’s really exciting to showcase the student-led startups coming out of Michigan universities right now. I can’t think of a better way to relaunch TCNewTech.”

The pitch competition is for idea-stage entrepreneurs and student-owned early-stage startups and is open to current students and recent graduates from Michigan-based colleges and universities. Preference will be given to those businesses in the healthcare-tech (or related fields) arena, to coincide with Northern Michigan Startup Week’s Rural Health Innovation theme. For detailed application criteria and instructions, visit the TCNewTech Pitch Application form. The pitch application deadline is Mar. 29.

New this year, 20Fathoms will be hosting a Startup Expo in the lobby of the City Opera House featuring startup service providers. Businesses interested in an expo booth can visit the Expo Booth Request Form for additional information. The deadline to request a booth is Apr. 3.

Founded in 2015 by local entrepreneur Russell Schindler as a way to connect local tech professionals, TCNewTech quickly became the backbone of the region’s growing startup community and innovation culture. In early 2024, TCNewTech became a program fully owned and operated by 20Fathoms. Under 20Fathoms, TCNewTech pitch competitions will offer larger prizes, a panel of expert judges in addition to the audience favorite vote, and wrap-around startup resources for entrepreneurs.

Northern Michigan Startup Week 2024

The TCNewTech University Showdown is one of many events occurring during Northern Michigan Startup Week. Happening Apr. 22-25, Northern Michigan Startup Week is an annual event celebrating entrepreneurship, innovation, and the growing startup community in Northern Michigan. The theme of the 2024 event is Rural Health Innovation. Northern Michigan Startup Week is organized by Traverse Connect in partnership with 20Fathoms, Central Michigan University, Michigan State University Conquer Accelerator, MiSTEM Network, Northern Michigan Angels, Northwest Education Services, and Northwestern Michigan College.

In addition to the TCNewTech University Showdown, 20Fathoms is also hosting The 20Fathoms Launch Awards & Celebration on Apr. 24 during Northern Michigan Startup Week. Happening at Bonobo Winery, this event is a celebration of the innovators, entrepreneurs, and supporters of the region’s startup ecosystem.