By: Charlotte Somers
Startups, startups and more startups. That’s what HITEC’s E20X is all about. Here are six reasons why you should come hear them pitch on Monday, June 20 from 1-4 p.m.; then give them a hard time, or just take a look at their product, at the Entrepreneur 20X Pavilion on the show floor.
1. They Will Remind You Why You Love this Industry
17 is the number of excited, not jaded, intelligent problem-solvers, who are anxious to let the hospitality industry know what they’ve got that we need. Remember when you first fell in love with the hospitality industry? If you don’t, they will rekindle the old flame. Their creativity and positive attitudes are infectious. Most have been in business less than two-and-a-half years — some only five to six months — hospitality technology toddlers ready to remind you this industry is awesome and there’s no telling what’s next. The pitchers for E20X demo day:
2. Experts Don’t Lie
We have assembled a panel of 10 top-notch judges to determine the Grand Prize winner of E20X. These judges will play nice and listen to three minutes of pitches from all 17 startups — then watch the startups squirm for two to three minutes during their questions. In the end, they will select the grand poobah and winner of $5k USD. Here are the expert judges:
- Christina Cornwell, Senior Director Technology APAC at Hilton Worldwide
- David Berkus, President at Berkus Technology Ventures, LLC
- Dmitry Koltunov, CTO at ALICE
- Edward St. Onge, President Global Sales & Marketing at Flip.To
- Gregg Hopkins, President at Gregg Hopkins & Associates
- Jing Zhu, Chairperson at China Hospitality Technology Alliance (CHTA)
- Martin Thell, CIO at Scandic Hotels
- Michael Schubach, CHAE, CHTP, Hospitality Systems Consultant
- Mike Dickersbach, CHTP, MCP, NICE, CTO at Highgate Hotels
- Prakash Shukla, Managing Partner at Solarex
3. We Aren’t Throwing Them to the Wolves Without a Little Training
We added many new levels to E20X — enter E20X Mentors. All startups will spend their demo day morning in short one-on-one meetings with industry insiders and veterans. We believe these quick meetups with E20X mentors will provide a great forum to inspire and educate our startups by lending them insights, expertise and guidance. It’s a two-hour “pick-your-brain,” ask anything and everything, opportunity. More than 20 mentors will come face-to-face with eight pitchers for seven minutes. And it won’t be blind — startups will have access to the mentors’ bios so they can find the person whose expertise and experience best matches the knowledge they seek.
4. I’ll Save You a Seat
If you came to the 2015 E20X, the session was standing-room only and attendees spilled into the hallway. I hereby solemnly swear you will have a seat at E20X this year — we have 500 of them waiting for you. You showed up en masse last year and we took note. We are also giving E20X session access to all HITEC attendee and exhibitor badges this year—if you have a badge, you’re in.
5. My Team Is Bigger Than Yours
I am managing the E20X project for HITEC and all-in there are 70 people working to make E20X a can’t-miss. 70! My team may not be the biggest by HITEC standards, but we are pretty darn awesome. Lyle Worthington, CHTP, HFTP Global vice president, is our master of ceremonies and competition moderator, add to that the pitchers, mentors, judges, and our E20X 2015 Winner in Residence, Whistle, coming back to update us on how winning has impacted their startup — chances are you know someone who knows someone. So if you don’t attend, “they” will know.
6. Meet-and-Greet in More Ways Than One
New in 2016 we will have a techie-lounge space dedicated to put the pitchers directly in touch with attendees in the session room. These smart women and men entrepreneurs will be there for your questions, advice and congrats. Even better? We will also be showcasing each and every pitcher in the E20X Pavilion on the HITEC show floor during exhibit hours. HFTP has generously provided complimentary kiosks for these bootstrapped entrepreneurs to show you their innovative and transformative ideas all week. So journey down to the back of aisle 200 and you will practically run into us. While you are there, cast your vote for your favorite startup to win the new E20x Peoples Startup Award that will be announced during the closing session on Thursday.
So there you have it. There is no doubt E20X is bigger and better in 2016 — and you’ve just gotta experience it for yourself. Be there or be square!
Charlotte Somers is principal at Somers Communications Meeting & Event Planning. Contact Charlotte at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 (214) 436-6789.