Startup of the Year FAQ

We’ve been touring the world hosting regional startup competitions and conducting online startup competitions, to find the world’s most innovative early stage companies. Regional and online winners get the chance to compete in the Startup of the Year Competition finals at Innovate Celebrate conference in San Francisco in October 2018.

What is the criteria to be accepted into the Startup of the Year Program?

We look for product excellence first, as well as a diversity in product ideas, teams, and geography. We will only accept companies that have received no more than $4 MM in funding, are fewer than 4 years old, and have a live product/service that is in operation (it can be beta, but we must be able to see it).

How do I apply to participate in the Startup of the Year Program?

Please learn more about the competition and apply here. The application will be open until April 30, 2018. If you have any questions while completing your application, please reach out to Lori Thiel at

How will the Startup of the Year Competition work?

1. Apply before April 30, 2018
2. Our internal staff will review and select the most promising startups to include in an online or regional competition.
3. Our staff, selected judges, and readers will vote for the most promising startups. The reader’s poll will kick off during this time.
4. The top 100 companies from that round will be invited to the semifinals at Innovate Celebrate in San Francisco, CA where they will pitch to a variety of expert investor judges.  The judges will score the startups and the top five will pitch a smaller panel of investors judges, and the audience, at Innovate Celebrate. There, a final champion will be selected!

What are the rules/guidelines for the Startup of the Year Online Competition?

You must complete your application on time – before April 30, 2018!

Bring your A game! We want to see the best startup teams from around the world at our Semifinals at Innovate Celebrate.

When will I be notified that my company has been accepted into the final competition at Innovate Celebrate?

The TechCo team will contact all invited startups by mid-July, 2018.

What are the competition prizes?

We are finalizing the prize details, but you can learn more about our past competition’s $250,000 worth of prizes, here.

What else do I need to know? 

All program details can be found on our Startup of the Year Program website.