From a pool of more than 75 applicants, they were whittled down to a handful – just five companies selected to pitch for $5,000 at the Make It in Brooklyn Pitch Contest held last week. They shared in common a focus on making products right here in Brooklyn – a cargo bike company, an ice cream shop, a confectioner, and two cosmetic lines.
In selecting the finalists, Jonathan Butler, founder of the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, advised the startups “to focus on profit margins, growth strategy, and use of funds,” during the two minutes they would be allotted to pitch.
When the big night arrived, nearly 150 people and our esteemed panel of judges – Butler; McKinsey & Company’s Andre Dua; Food + Tech Connect Founder Danielle Gould; Syed Rivzi of JPMorgan Chase; and Kickstarter’s Terry Romero – packed into the WeWork DUMBO Heights location to watch the pitches first-hand.
Up first, Oddfellows Ice Cream founder Mohan Kumar, who brought samples of their locally-sourced ice cream for the judging panel and talked up the uniqueness of the Williamsburg-based startup’s flavors.
Cargo Bike Collective representative Joe Sharkey followed with a demonstration of his startup’s front-loading cargo bike.
Stocked with more samples for the judges of her vegan beauty line, Mullein & Sparrow founder Anit Hora focused her pitch on the company’s expansion plans – which included global locations, like across India.
Liddabit Sweets founder Liz Gutman played up the joy of candymaking and the need for marketing dollars to help take her company to the next level.
Rounding out the pitches, Apotheke founder Chrissy Fichtl focused her pitch on the need for a new piece of machinery that would allow her soap company to increase production.
After a healthy amount of deliberation, the judges awarded Mullein & Sparrow the cash prize, along with one month of Unlimited Commons Membership from WeWork, a free Zipcar for Business membership, and a creator consultation with judge Terry Romero.
The Make It in Brooklyn pitch contests are made possible this year by a grant from JPMorgan Chase’s Small Business Forward initiative, a national program that invests in connecting small businesses to resources that help them grow faster.
Want your turn to pitch? Mark your calendars for this June and stay tuned for updates at @makeitinbk and #makeitinbk across the web.