iSpark

Startup Demo Day & Shark Tank

Join your startup peers in a high-profile competition for connections, prizes, awareness, and potential grant money. After a 5-hour expo, startups are hand picked by our sharks and head to ‘the tank’ where anything can happen. 

November 16th, 2019*

UCONN Stamford
Welcome Center
1 University Place
Stamford, CT 06901

1:00pm-5:00pm. Demo floor is open to the general public
4:00pm-5:00pm. Sharks walk the demo floor
5:00pm-5:10pm. Sharks announce their selections to proceed
5:10pm-6:00pm. Selected startups pitch the sharks
6:00pm-7:00pm. Awards and offers
Add to Calendar

* Our current slated date. This is subject to change but is planned to occur in mid-November

For Startups

Beyond the epic prize pool you’ll get exposure to an audience that is tough to reach and often impossible to engage, ‘the sharks.’ Our SiW investor network includes serial angels and venture firms in the region.

Applications for Startups begin on June 1st and remain open through the summer. The event will be limited to approximately 30 total demo stations so be sure to enter early for the best chance to get in.

Top 5 Reasons to Participate in iSpark:

  • Awards, Prizes, and Potential Investment
  • Demo and Exhibit your startup for FREE if selected
  • Be featured broadly via SiW Website and marketing
  • Local networking and recognition
  • Meet potential investors, customers, and partners

Use or create a Gust profile to apply.

For Angels & VCs

Get ready for the region’s hottest up-and-coming startups. We work with accelerators, universities, and other programs to bring top talent into our pipeline. Our internal vetting helps to keep the event and pitch session focused and productive.

Year-to-year, your ‘chair’ remains in first-right-of-refusal status for as long as you hold it.

If you are an investor and would like to get involved or learn more please submit your interest via our Contact Page.

Award & Prize Model

PrizeDescriptionValue
Equity Investment The 'real' prize of any shark tank. These are handled in follow-up meetings scheduled at—but taking place after—the event. TBD
Convertible Grant In this model, a prize above and beyond the grant pool is offered by a shark. The grant is convertible into any future investment made by the shark if they choose to do so. $5,000+
Grant The sharks will convene at the conclusion of the pitches and decide how the prize pool will be distributed. The quantity and size of the awards are decided exclusively by the sharks. $5,000-$50,000
In-kind Our partners are generously providing a plethora of products and services for participating startups. Look out for free software, coworking space, Slack products, and much more! TBD

Get Updates

If you’re looking for important iSpark updates like investor and startups announcements, this is the digest for you. We’ll send you periodic updates, offers, and general news. You’ll also be the first to get tickets and first to know when deadlines open, are closing soon, and have ended.

Event Timeline

July-August
Shark Fishing

Venture firms and angels claim their 'chairs' with a pledge of $5,000.

August-October
Lines & Nets Out

Startups apply for iSpark. Applicants must have at least one full-time employee, be actively raising money for equity, and have a demonstrable and salable product or solution.

October
Catch & Release

During our vetting process the sharks and screening panel selects 20-30 startups to participate in the demo day.

11/16: 1pm-5pm
Floor Demos

From 1pm-5pm startups will demo to a public audience. Coaches and mentors will walk the floor and offer feedback and assistance. Sharks will swim from 4-5pm and select their favorite picks.

11/16: 5-6pm
The Tank

Every selected startup will have an opportunity to pitch the sharks, take questions, and offer additional information.

11/16: 6-7pm
Awards & Negotiations

After the pitches are completed, sharks will invite back the startups they'd like to engage with. Sharks may award their $5,000 pledge, offer an equity investment, or ask for a ongoing conversation.

As Long As It Takes
Due Diligence

Claims and offers will be vetted by both parties to ensure a successful partnership!

No. Beyond technology, there are no other restrictions. B2B, B2C and D2C companies will all be considered. Individual sharks may have focus areas they would like advertised. In which case, we will update this page and via the email list you can subscribe to on this page.

SiW and iSpark will begin to release the names of participating sharks in late July. Stay tuned for updates and make sure to subscribe to be the first to know.

As of 7/25 iSpark has received over 50 applications—many more than the total number of available demo stations. When the sharks make their selection(s), we will announce the participating companies in short order.

Participating sharks donate to a ‘pool’ that is to be completely awarded during the evening of the event. There will be a 30-day audit period where the claims made by the startups are certified by SiW and the participating sharks. Thereafter, your prize will be released immediately. For any direct investment opportunities, sharks and startups are invited to connect directly during and after the event.

Definitely! We encourage you attend both the open floor and shark tank portions. This is a community event and it just wouldn’t be the same without you.

Absolutely. Producing these events is expensive and time consuming, and we appreciate all the support. That said, there are many substantial ways to get visibility for your company, products, or services. Please Contact Us for more information about sponsorship for this specific event.

No. Far from it. Television pitch competitions employ rigorous vetting, training, and rehearsals to make everything fit into just a few minutes of air-time. A live event is much different. For example, the vetting will happen after the event’s conclusion and is the sole responsibility of the company and investor.