Lyft Offers More Details On Lyft Pitch – Washington D.C.
Lyft recently launched a ‘Shark Tank’ style competition for drivers who have a business idea. The competition will offer over $30,000 prizes, as well as mentorship from successful professionals.
Lyft was kind enough to make Kate Glantz, Lyft’s Regional Marketing Manager for the Mid-Atlantic region, who joined Lyft from Seed Spot, available to answer some of Rideshare Central’s questions about the new competition. Her answers are below.
What will the boot camp involve, and about how long will it be? Will it primarily focus on the preparation and pitch aspect, or will other areas be covered (finance, materials sourcing, technologies the start up could take advantage of, etc..)?
KG: The eight finalists will attend a full-day, intensive business bootcamp and elevator pitch clinic in DC, which will focus on: accessing different types of capital, building a social media presence, understanding the sales funnel, among other topics. The next day, they will be able to take professional headshots and participate in a photo and video shoot showcasing their business ideas.
What was the catalyst for this idea? Was it from drivers occasionally pitching ideas, or just stories about drivers who have been able to synergise driving Lyft with another business?
KG: Every single one of our drivers is driving with Lyft to help them reach some kind of personal or financial goal, whether that is saving to put a downpayment on a house, planning a vacation, paying the monthly bills, or funding their business. One in five Lyft drivers identifies as an entrepreneur. Driving is often the first step toward opening a restaurant, launching an online store, or making extra cash while dreaming up a business. We developed “Lyft Pitch” not only to help provide a funding boost for their ideas, but to provide them with exposure and mentorship from VCs and other successful business people.
Does Lyft have a venture arm, or is Lyft considering starting one, and if so, will it be involved in the process?
KG: Lyft does not currently have a venture division. “Lyft Pitch” is a program we saw the opportunity to launch in the Mid-Atlantic region as a way to embrace our own entrepreneurial spirit while supporting our local drivers to reach their goals both on and off the road. We hope to expand the program nationally next year.
Will Lyft be partnering with other organizations in this endeavor, and in what capacity?
KG: Intuit and General Assembly are sponsors of “Lyft Pitch.” The finalist whose pitch is voted the audience favorite will receive the Intuit Prosperity Award, along with $5,000 in cash. General Assembly will give all competition applicants a $25 credit and each finalist a $100 credit to classes and workshops, while the winner will be awarded a free part-time class.
A diverse group of regional partners from the startup ecosystem are offering support for the competition in varying capacities, including: reviewing applications, promoting the event to their networks, providing mentoring, and leading workshops during the bootcamp. These partners include: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Washington DC Economic Partnership, Startup Virginia, ETC Baltimore, Halcyon Incubator, Black Girl Ventures, and the Vinetta Project.
Does Lyft have a specific selection criteria in mind? Are they looking for ideas related to rideshare and on demand, or is the contest pretty open ended in that regard?
KG: “Lyft Pitch” was not designed to source ideas related to Lyft’s business, but to support drivers in their personal endeavors. Finalists will be selected from a range of industries based on the creativity of their idea, their traction to date, how they differentiate from their competition, and the impact their concept will have on the community.
Lyft is looking to expand the program to more markets next year. Is Lyft also considering adding other features to the contest in the future (incubator for the winners, a conference centered around the contest etc.)?
We will consider adding new components to the competition should we expand the program next year. For now, we are focused on fostering the ingenuity of the tens of thousands of Mid-Atlantic drivers who are working hard to launch a business but may not otherwise have access to the relationships and mentorship to jumpstart their ideas.
How To Enter Lyft Pitch
If you’re a resident of Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C., you can submit an application to Lyft Pitch at lyftpitch.co.
However, you’ll need to hurry as the application deadline is October 21st, 2018!