iSpark

Startup Demo Day & Shark Tank

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

September 26th, 2019

UCONN Stamford
Welcome Center
1 University Place
Stamford, CT 06901

Noon-1:00pm. Event setup. Light lunch served
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
7:00pm-9:00pm. After party in the SiW VIP Tent
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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. This can be verbally made and accepted on the spot or be a follow-up dialogue. $10,000+
Convertible Award In this model, a prize of $5,000 is awarded by a shark. The shark exercises an 'option' to make the prize convertible to equity under a to-be-determind valuation and framework. $5,000-$20,000
Cash Prize A simple 'award' of $5,000 is made by a shark to help seed a startup. This comes with no further investment or partnership but adds momentum to the startup. $5,000
In-kind Our partners are generously providing a plethora of products and services for participating startups. $500-$2,000 per individual prize.

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

April-May
Shark Fishing

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

May-July
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.

August
Catch & Release

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

9/26: Noon-5pm
Floor Demos

From noon-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.

9/26: 5-6pm
The Tank

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

9/26: 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-May or early-June. Stay tuned for updates and make sure to subscribe to be the first to know.

Same thing as above. We will release the names of the startups beginning in May and continue throughout the Summer. Check back to our iSpark regularly for updates.

Sharks must ‘award’ their pledge amount during the final stage of the event. This can be done in the form of a straight cash prize or as part of a larger equity offer. Sharks may also offer a greater, but not lesser, deal under any terms and conditions they see fit. Any investment offer is further subject to subsequent vetting. In addition, SiW in-kind partners may award other prizes such as co-working space, etc. to the winner(s).

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.