BLOOMINGTON – The Mill, Bloomington’s nonprofit center for entrepreneurship and coworking, announced that applications are open for Crossroads Fall 2022, one of the largest statewide pitch competitions for startups.
The fall event marks the debut of separate tracks for companies at the earliest, pre-seed stage of development and companies at the seed stage with a viable product.
“We’ve created two tracks to level the playing field for competitors,” said Andy Lehman, Head of Accelerator Programming at The Mill. “We’ve also simplified the application a bit and set up a pre-registration option so that founders can get reminders of the deadline. We’re really hoping to discover some exciting new startups from diverse founders across Indiana.”
Two tracks will create two sets of finalists, Lehman explained. The seed winner will receive a $20,000 investment from Flywheel Fund, as well as priority consideration to pitch at Elevate Ventures’ regional Nexus Pitch Competition for the chance to win up to $80,000 more. The pre-seed winner will also receive priority consideration for Nexus, as well as a $10,000 investment from Flywheel Fund.
Contestants also gain connections and exposure to the statewide ecosystem. The judges for the fall competition include over 50 investors, entrepreneurs, and business experts from across the statewide ecosystem. In addition, Crossroads winners receive ongoing mentoring from Flywheel Fund’s network.
“Past participants have told us that Crossroads created important opportunities and connections for them, even when they didn’t win,” Lehman said. “We want to make sure we’re giving Hoosier innovators broad access to the Crossroads experience.”
Robert Henschel, Chief Technology Officer for WayZada, a two-time contestant at Crossroads, commented, “The Crossroads pitch competition has really motivated us to further refine our pitch deck and continue to work on the vision of our company. Every time we pitch, we get a question from the audience that we have never gotten, and this reveals a new aspect of our business.”
Spring 2022 finalist Paradise Spreads, headed up by CEO Emily Edwards, leveraged priority access to Nexus regional finals and won a $20,000 investment from Elevate Ventures. Paradise Spreads will be competing for further investment at the Nexus state finals on Friday.
2019 Crossroads winner Ellie Symes, CEO of The Bee Corp, recalls, “Every company hits an inflection point where they transition from competing in competitions to competing for customers for big checks. Crossroads ended up being the last competition we needed to rocket our company into the competing for customers phase.”
To compete at Crossroads, startups must be based in Indiana and have annual recurring revenue of under $250,000. Applicants submit a pitch deck and a 3-5 minute pitch video. The application deadline for the fall event is September 2. Finals will be held live at The Mill in Bloomington on October 12.
The Mill launched Crossroads Pitch Competition in 2017 as a regional event. Since then, it has grown to become one of Indiana’s biggest competitions, with two competitions a year, in spring and fall. In 2021, The Mill added Crossroads Collegiate, a pitch competition exclusively for student founders. The Crossroads family of events also includes an idea competition and a white-label event platform to help other organizations and regions hold their own pitch competitions and grow Indiana’s innovation economy.
Startups can pre-register or apply to the Fall 2022 Crossroads Pitch Competition at https://www.crossroadspitch.com/.
About The Mill
The Mill (https://www.dimensionmill.org/) is southern Indiana’s largest coworking space. Its mission is to spark Bloomington’s innovation economy by launching and accelerating startups, and its vision is to become Indiana’s center of gravity for entrepreneurship.
About Crossroads Pitch Competition
Launched in 2017 as a regional event, Crossroads Pitch Competition is now one of Indiana’s biggest statewide pitch competitions. Dozens of startups from all over the state pitch to a panel of over 50 judges with expertise in entrepreneurship, business, and investing. In 2021, The Mill launched Crossroads Collegiate for Hoosier students and the Crossroads Platform to support regional pitch competitions.
About Flywheel Fund
Flywheel Fund is a member-managed capital fund for early-stage and high-potential startups based in Indiana, with special attention to startups based in Bloomington and southern Indiana and underrepresented founders. Flywheel Fund launched in 2020 and is managed by The Mill.