Four local technology companies emerged from three rounds of judging Tuesday in a startup contest co-sponsored by the Sacramento Kings. They will make pitches again next month before a home crowd that will choose a winner.
The Kings and Velocity Venture Capital put together a competition for startup companies that works like March Madness, with companies competing in brackets by making pitches to panels of judges from finance and technology companies.
Nearly 100 companies applied to be part of the “Capitalize” pitching contest. Kings President Chris Granger said that demonstrates the strength of Sacramento's entrepreneurial community.
Velocity narrowed the field to an initial group of 32 firms. Those companies competed at Velocity’s downtown offices just three blocks from the Golden 1 Center construction site.
The finalists include legal practice management app Quicklegal, heart valve research and development company ViVita Technology, educational robot company Barobo Inc. and green fertilizer company California Safe Soil.
The final four companies will pitch to Kings fans at Sleep Train Arena during the April 5 game against the Portland Trailblazers. Kings fans will choose the top pitch via Twitter. The top pick wins $5,000, consulting sessions and lunch with Kings executives and a team owner.
The companies include some newly minted startups and some companies that are selling products and generating revenue. Some of the companies have even raised millions of dollars in investment rounds, such as California Safe Soil.
Jack Crawford Jr., Velocity Venture Capital’s managing partner, introduced the competition, saying that Sacramento entrepreneurs have to embrace their position as a part of the San Francisco and Silicon Valley business and technology environment.
People have been waiting for a leader to develop Sacramento to be a technology center, Crawford said, talking to the audience of companies preparing to pitch. But “It’s time to stop waiting," he said. "It’s you.”