You’ve heard of poetry slams, surely, where poets get onstage and belt out their creations in competitions that sometimes feel part standup comedy, part performance art. Well, slams aren’t just for poets anymore — entrepreneurs compete in pitch slams, where they try to wow the judges with the best pitches.
For Ash Kumra, winning a pitch slam yielded much more than the $30,000 in cash and professional services he received. “Contests offer instant validation,” Kumra says. “That tells an investor or a sponsor that this business isn’t going to disappear.”
In 2010, Kumra won the Irvine Entrepreneur Forum, a pitch contest held by the chamber of commerce in Irvine, California. The win helped him launch DesiYou, a digital video distributor of Indian entertainment. Since then, he’s cofounded DreamItAlive.com, an online personal growth community with more than 50,000 members and sponsors such as Microsoft and HR provider TriNet.