Startup Competition Guide


Unique startup competitions and challenges you should know

These are competitions for LGBT, veterans, and those in the sports analytics and fashion spaces

Innovation series by Steven Loeb
July 27, 2017
Short URL:

If you're a startup seeking opportunities to get funded, educated or connected, startup competitions are a great resource.

Vator has been holding its own competitions, using VatorX, to find and filter for the best startups. We've had some very successful and notable winners in the past that have gone on to raise big funding rounds including Thumbtack, DogVacay, Pokitdok, Grovo, Udemy and Apartment List, to name a few.

Anyone can list their program as VatorX is one of the most comprehensive listing guides to startup competitions, challenges, accelerators and programs. Click here to list your program!

As part of our weekly series, we'll look at top competitions with big cash prizes, as well as competitions that have teed up the most promising startups, to finding popular startup competitions you need to know about. 

Here are some of the unique startup competitions and challenges you should know:

Description: "Survive and Thrive is an exclusive, participatory boot camp for the entrepreneurs who want to take action to move their companies from surviving to thriving. Different from other conferences, entrepreneurs are encouraged to attend for a weekend of masterminds, connections and adventure. Survive and Thrive brings together influential, successful business leaders, accredited investors, entrepreneurs, coaches, students and future leaders whose goals are to elevate their game for peak success. It is limited to 300 attendees."


  • Top #1 to #3: Free all-inclusive VIP ticket (valued at $4,000 each ticket)
  • #4 to #20: 75% off early-bird pricing (any ticket category)
  • All contestants: 50% off early-bird pricing (any ticket category)

Previous winners: none yet


PixelDima Logo

Description: "The MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) for the Pan Arab Region, in partnership with Community Jameel, the social enterprise organisation, and Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator across the Middle East and Africa, and with year’s strategic partner Tamkeen, a semi-government organization in Bahrain with the task of making the private sector as the key driver of sustainable economic development announces the launch of the tenth edition of the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition.

Prize: The competition includes three different tracks: Ideas, Startups, and Social Entrepreneurship, with total prize money on offer totalling USD $160,000. Each of the three tracks will award the first three ranked winners with cash prizes in addition to many other benefits including: top tier training, mentorship, coaching, media exposure, and great networking opportunities.

Previous winners: MoneyFellows, Blinkapp, kiliim, Ghinwa, Tutorama


Description: "Our live pitch competition, The FROW, showcases the latest startups on the scene, who are looking to change the face of fashion, retail and beauty.

The startups will pitch their tech live in front of fashion, retail and beauty brand stakeholders seated in The FROW, giving them the chance to get their tech discovered by global brands and top tech influencers."

Prize: $5,000 and mentorship by Simon Venture Group, as well as $1,000 cash prize for the start-up that the audience votes their favourite

Previous winners: Fitcode, YUN Eyewear. Beyond the Runway


Description: "The Startup Competition & Trade Show provides an opportunity for selected startups and small companies to showcase their innovations in the fields of sports-related devices and services. This year, 24 startups and small companies have been selected by the SSAC committee to present their products and/or services to potential customers, business partners, investors, and employees."

Prize: The 24 startups have been split up into 3 Competition tracks, based on funding levels. On Friday, in Room 306, these 24 participants will each have “5 Good Minutes” to explain their business and how their company is revolutionizing the sports industry, followed by 3 minutes of Q&A from a panel of judges. The winner of each track, as selected by the judges, will win $5000. Throughout both days of the conference, in Room 310 and 311, these 24 participants will have booths setup to showcase their products and services for any conference participant to see.

Previous winners: Socialie, Impakt Athletics, Noah Basketball



Description: "Each year the Reaching Out LGBT MBA conference hosts a variety of competitions for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & ally business students to showcase their business acumen and compete for cash scholarships."

Prize: $5,000

Previous winners: Angulus,,


Description: "Veterans’ Business Battle inspires our country's military veterans to take their proven leadership skills into the business world by stimulating entrepreneurship and helping to launch and grow veteran-owned businesses."

Prize: The winning entries will receive offers for capital investment from investment groups and individuals that Entrepreneurs Organization-Houston has partnered with for this event. Past offers came from groups that included Main Street Capital, Amegy Bank, the Houston Angel Network and an investment group specially formed for the competition made up of successful Houston entrepreneurs.

In addition, winning entries will receive mentoring and strategic advisers from the diverse and valuable pool of resources in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization-Houston and its strategic partners.

Previous winners: True Made Foods, Funnel Science, Veterans Manufacturing, GH Mobil, Shield International

(Image source:


Featured Stories


Other episodes of this series

Accelerators targeting adtech companies


Startup Competition Guide

by Steven Loeb
They include the Intango AdTech Accelerator, Collider Accelerator and Roularta Mediatech Accelerator

Startup competitions seeking adtech companies


Startup Competition Guide

by Steven Loeb
They include Intango AdTech Startup Competition and SevenVentures Pitch Day and

Startup competitions seeking media companies


Startup Competition Guide

by Steven Loeb
They includes PILOT Pitch Prize, Pitch, Pass or Play and Student Startup Madness

Accelerators targeting media companies


Startup Competition Guide

by Steven Loeb
They include Matter, Yellow, The Information Accelerator and Disney Accelerator

Accelerators targeting real estate companies


Startup Competition Guide

by Steven Loeb
They include Brigade REAP, Pi Labs Accelerator, Elmspring Accelerator and Dreamit UrbanTech