Eight finalists were named on Thursday for Lyft Pitch, the inaugural pitch competition for DMV Lyft drivers who run their own separate businesses.
Last month, Lyft said the competition was born after the ridesharing company crunched its data and realized that 18 percent of its 1.5 million drivers worldwide are giving rides to help power their own businesses, Technical.ly DC previously reported. Lyft brought together a venture committee of local CEOs, investors, and prominent entrepreneurs to help select the eight finalists to hit the stage next week.
As far as prizes, the winner will receive $15,000, the runner-up will receive $10,000 and the crowd favorite will receive $5,000 (courtesy of Intuit). All competition applicants received a $25 credit from General Assembly, and the finalists will receive a $100 credit.
Here are the finalists, per Lyft:
- Chris Cooke, of Virginia Beach, Va., whose mobile app, Trucket, offers users the ability to request a truck on demand for moving/hauling needs, and provides a local marketplace to buy and sell furniture.
- Allison Brown, of Baltimore, Md., whose business, Jeanextreme, subcontracts marginalized Baltimore citizens (youth, single mothers, senior citizens) to help create urban apparel and home decor from recycled denim.
- Sheldon Love, of Columbia, Md., whose mobile app, Stuk, offers roadside assistance that provides on-the-go services for people who are stuck on the side of the road.
- Barros Jones, of Arlington, Va., whose company, MirrorMe, uses a pre-screening employment system that uses emotion AI to capture the qualities of a company’s top performing sales rep and recruit more people like them.
- Ricky Organek, of Fairfax Station, Va., whose company, 2ndLyfe Waste Solutions, diverts and repurposes 75 percent of the garbage destined for the landfill, and gives it a second life.
- Joe Himpelmann, of Aspen Hill, Md., whose company, Assault Forward, sells pride of service accessories (lapel pins, cuff-links, tie-bars, etc) for veterans and patriotic Americans.
- Alejandra Santaolalla, of Arlington, Va., whose organization, Bold + Mighty Kids, teaches kids through bilingual storytelling.
- Karina Vidal, of Wheaton, Md., whose business, Citiskopes, allows tourists to find unique and local things to do while enhancing experiences with augmented reality.
The finalists were notified on October 27. On October 30-31, they attended an all-expenses-paid business bootcamp and elevator pitch clinic hosted by SEED SPOT in D.C. to prepare for the final event.
The finalists will pitch their ideas in front of a panel of judges on November 14 in D.C., at the Blind Whino SW Arts Center. The event is open to the public to attend. The panel of judges include Woody Hartman, VP of global operations at Lyft, Steven Scebelo, VP of business development and licensing at the NFL Players Association, Stephanie Thomas, executive director at the Washington Area Community Investment Fund, Cullen Gilchrist, founder of Union Kitchen and Eileen Fagan, VP, solutions development and operations at Intuit.
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