Folks with ideas for mobile apps as well as other software entrepreneurs can pitch their ideas and possibly snag up to $10,000 investments through the new FUEL competition.
The competition is the latest of the Akron-area version of the Shark Tank TV show, in which entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to investors.
In the FUEL contest, finalists — in addition to negotiating for up to $10,000 investments in their ventures — also will gain quick admittance to the new Bit Factory program for early stage tech ventures that has offices inside the city’s downtown Akron business incubator, the Akron Global Business Accelerator.
The monetary awards will be in the form of Bit Factory investments in the winning ventures, emphasized James Hilton, who provides mentoring to startups at the Bit Factory and is helping to organize the FUEL competition.
“The investments are not grants,” he said. “We will be trading equity [in the winning ventures] for cash.”
The Bit Factory, a boot camp for startups, offers client companies mentoring from local tech-savvy entrepreneurs, as well as access to professionals such as lawyers who understand legal issues startups face.
In exchange for providing services, the Bit Factory takes a small equity stake in each client company, using funds from Ohio’s Third Frontier Initiative.
Hilton said he hopes the investments are large enough to inspire people “to take the jump and say, ‘I’m going to take seriously [my] developing this mobile app.’?”
He said he is hoping that college students will be among the people the contest attracts.
“We’re even willing to invest in a ‘napkin idea,’?” he said, referring to a not-fully-developed concept, sometimes scrawled out on the nearest scrap of paper.
The FUEL application deadline is Oct. 14. There is no entry fee; apply at www.fuelakron.com.
Three finalists will present their ideas at an open-to-the-public inaugural FUEL event from 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Bit Factory, in the city’s Akron Global Business Accelerator at 526 S. Main St.
The building fronts Falor Street, which runs off South Main in the former B.F. Goodrich factory complex.
At the Nov. 17 event, sponsored by the law firm Brouse McDowell, a panel made up of “sharks” will negotiate the investments, inviting the finalists to join the Bit Factory.
To register for the event, go to www.fuelakron.com.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or email@example.com. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook at www.facebook.com.