Cheryl Foil of Kiddar Capital on the Value of Startup Competitions

Conor Cawley

Competition is a big part of being a startup. With limited capital, sparse media attention, and only so many customers out there, just having a great idea isn't going to cut it. You're going to have to prove your worth on a regular basis to investors, press, and everyday customers if you want to see success in the long run. Fortunately, startup competitions provide all that and more in a tightly packaged experience that could be your stepping stone to success.

“Startups, especially founders, always gain from startup competitions when they get both direct exposure to other successful companies and receive candid investor feedback,” said Cheryl Foil, the principal at Kiddar Capital in an interview with Tech.Co.

Not only do startup competitions allow you to rub shoulders with some of the most important people in your respective industry, you'll also have a chance to meet, network, and learn from your peers. You'll glean information about how to pitch, areas in need of improvement, and when you need to pull the trigger on big decisions. Even if you don't win, which is a very real possibility, the people you meet, knowledge you gain, and experiences you enjoy are more valuable than any prize that might come your way.

Cheryl Foil, Principal of Kiddar Capital

However, since you're entering a startup competition to win, when you are ready to show off your product remember that your team, your strategy, and perhaps most importantly, your tech need to be on point and explain the problems you are trying to solve for the judges.

“For me, it’s less about the company and more about the business and market,” said Foil. “A lot of startups forget, particularly when speaking to a technical investor, to drill home how technology has helped create the current window of opportunity in the market. Tech is what opens up most venture opportunities. Something can be measured that wasn’t measurable before, something can be analyzed in a new way, something can be automated affordably, or something can be connected for the first time. If the resulting value proposition is tremendous, durable, and novel, I’m captivated whether the company is 3 employees or 500.”

At Tech.Co, we understand the value of startup competitions, which is why we hold one of our own every single year at our annual conference Innovate Celebrate. We have made it our goal to be as inclusive and diverse as possible, bringing in companies from around the world founded by people that represent a wide array of cultures.  And, as a speaker, mentor, and judge of the competition, Foil couldn't agree more.

“The Startup of the Year Competition takes it to another level with their nationwide, highly inclusive focus,” said Foil. “The Startup of the Year platform gives startups access to a broad and powerful network from across the USA, and Tech.Co’s press reach accelerates market awareness. The value of this can’t be understated, particularly in markets like construction and real estate that aren’t concentrated in Silicon Valley.”

Startup of the Year

If you think you have what it takes to be the Startup of the Year, you need to apply today. Remember, the 100 startups that are chosen will be invited to join us in San Francisco, CA for Innovate Celebrate 2018, and will be on their way to startup success in no time!


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Conor is the Senior Writer for For the last five years, he’s written about everything from Kickstarter campaigns and budding startups to tech titans and innovative technologies. His extensive background in stand-up comedy made him the perfect person to host tech-centric events like Startup Night at SXSW and the Timmy Awards for Tech in Motion. You can email Conor at

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