• Looking to Expand Your Startup?

    You're in the right place! Learn what you'll gain from being involved with Startup of the Year.

    Meet Top Investors

    You will have the chance to network and develop relationships with Startup of the Year's community of investors, corporate innovators, mentors, and industry leaders.

    Connect with those who can propel your business forward!

    Gain Insights

    Join Startup of the Year's alumni of startups, develop valuable connections, and meet people who can help drive the success of your business.

    Get Funding

    Top 100 startups at Innovate Celebrate have an increased opportunity to connect with potential funding sources.

    Win Prizes

    Startup of the Year has a dense network of sponsors who offer their products and services to ensure the highest successes of our startups. American Airlines business points, various startup resources, media coverage, connections with nationally recognized accelerators, product & gear, and community recognition are among potential prizes.

  • Applicant Requirements

    Before you apply, please make sure your company falls in line with the application requirements detailed below. If you still have questions, please refer to our FAQ section.

    • Startups must be fewer than 6 years old at time of application
    • Startups must have no more than $5MM USD funding at time of application
    • Startups must have a live and viable product
    • Startups must be INNOVATIVE! - Make sure to describe and exhibit why your company is disruptive and exciting in your application. We are looking to learn why your company is the right company to solve the issue you are addressing.
    Deadline: May 31 (11:59 PM PST)
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    How will the Startup of the Year Competition work?

    1. Check your eligibility

    2. Apply before May 31, 2018 (11:59 PM PST)
    3. A group of select judges will review each application thoroughly and select the top 100 startups to move forward to the next round.
    4. Semifinalists will be invited to join us at Innovate Celebrate, which will take place from October 15-17 in Boston, MA. *It is important to note that startups are responsible for their own travel and lodging during Innovate Celebrate. There may be additional costs around the conference.

    5. Semifinalists will pitch to a variety of expert investor judges, who will score the startups. The Top Five will be selected. These five startups will pitch live to the Innovate Celebrate audience and to a small panel of judges. From there, the 6th Annual Startup of the Year winner will be selected.


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

    1. You must complete your application on time – before May 31, 2018 (11:59 PM PST)

    2. Rules and guidelines for pitches will be detailed here at a further date.


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

    The Startup of the Year team will contact all invited startups by mid-July, 2018. Startups that are not selected will also be notified.


    What is Vator? Why do I have a profile?

    We have teamed up with Vator (short for innovator), which is a professional network for entrepreneurs and investors, as well as a platform for entrepreneurial competitions. By applying to Startup of the Year, you will have a company profile on the site for you to maintain on your own accord, if you so choose. Your Vator profile will allow you to access your application directly. *Important - Your Vator profile will NOT be included in our application process. Startup of the Year will only be using the information provided in the "Startup of the Year" application - to assess your eligibility and overall company.


    How do I update my Startup of the Year application on Vator?

    Visit https://vator.tv/login and login to your Vator profile. You should have received a confirmation email at the time you applied with instructions to set your password. If you cannot find the email, login to https://vator.tv/login, and reset your password. Once you are logged in, you will find your application under "My Competitions."


    Is my Startup of the Year application public?

    All answers are visible only to organizers and evaluators.


    Who should I contact with questions?

    For all Startup of the Year questions, please reach out to Lori Thiel, Director of Programs - [email protected]


  • Program Process & Timeline

    To ensure your application is submitted successfully, please review the Startup of the Year program process, and take note of important deadlines.

    November 15, 2017 - May 31, 2018

    Startup applications will be accepted. There will be no deadline extensions. Deadline is 11:55 PM (PST) May 31, 2018.

    June 1 - July 15, 2018

    Startup of the Year internal team will review applications to ensure all applicants fall within the criteria. Startup of the Year's network of external judges will review and assess the applicant pool, narrowing to the Top 100 startups.

    Mid-July 2018

    Startup of the Year will extend invitations to the Top 100 Startups on moving forward to Innovate Celebrate 2018. Live polling begins for the Top 100. Make sure to share with your network!

    Fall 2018

    Innovate Celebrate and the Startup of the Year Celebration will take place this fall in Boston on Oct. 15-17th. Startups, conference attendees, judges, mentors, investors, and tech leaders will congregate for the big event. Judges will narrow down the Top 100 to the Top 5 Finalists who will present live on stage. Then, the 6th Annual Startup of the Year Winner will be announced!