At This Year’s Peak Pitch, Startups and Investors Take Networking to New Heights

Aaron Price welcomed more than 40 startups and 50 top-seed and Series-A investors to the 13th annual Peak Pitch event, held in late February at the Mountain Creek Resort (Vernon), and cohosted by Newark Venture Partners and Propelify.

He told them, “Our goal is to surround Peak Pitch with the leading investors and entrepreneurs, not just of Newark, not just of the Hoboken region, where those of you who know me know I am based, but really of the globe. Right now, we are focused in the New York area, but we want to be the top tier bar of excellence of the best investors and the best entrepreneurs on the planet, full stop.”

The off-site, slope-side, overnight event is a hot ticket in the East Coast startup community, boasting “the ultimate elevator pitch,” where founders of startups are asked to make their pitch to investors during a 6-minute ski-lift ride, the organizers said in a release.  

Entrepreneurs networking at Peak Pitch |RUX Media

The two-day event featured a variety of high-quality, fun networking opportunities such as a Texas Hold ’em tournament, a fire pit gathering, and a whiskey tasting, as well as the usual cocktails, dinner and award ceremony.  It kicked off with a custom mobile game designed by the startup 1HUDDLE (Newark), which was made available to all attending founders to help them learn more about the participating investors and prepare for a few action-packed days of networking.

On the way up the mountain | RUX Media

“Pitch competitions can get old when you have a 3-5 minute slot and you are rotating on and off a stage or within a speed-dating set up,” said Aparna Srinivasan, cofounder and CEO of startup (New York), a ride-hailing service for pets and the people who love them. “Peak Pitch is unique in the way it focuses on relationships. As a founder, it’s really rare to have an extended amount of time, past the usual 30- or 60-minute meeting, to get to know an investor and figure out if you’d be a good fit.”

Other participating startups included BBy (New York), a physician-created solution for parents seeking to buy or sell breast milk in a safe and reliable manner; TRILL (New York), a marketplace startup that converts social content into bookable travel experiences; and DocDelta (New York), which helps healthcare companies reach out to stakeholders for sales and recruitment. 

A fun but productive day at Peak Pitch | RUX Media

Well-known VC funds and top early-stage investors attended, including Goldman Sachs Investment Partners (New York), New York Angels, Jumpstart New Jersey Angel Network, Urban Us Capital/URBAN-X (Brooklyn, N.Y.), WeWork Labs (New York), 37 Angels (New York), New Enterprise Associates (New York), Two Sigma Investments (New York) and more.

Katherine O’Neill, executive director and investor with JumpStart NJ Angel Network (New Brunswick), told, “This is the second time I attended Peak Pitch, and it’s a great environment to have time to talk to companies one-on-one, They’re not rushed, we’re getting time with different ones, it’s very informal in terms of connecting with the companies, and the quality of the companies attending is excellent. Also, investors are with other investors and they start trading deals and talk about who’s doing what. It increases the community efforts in this investment space.”

Suzanne Cruse, an investor and member of 37 Angels, said, “Peak Pitch … caters to the startup community, providing an innovative and fun format, and a chance to meet many new founders and colleagues in the VC space.  It’s a relaxed, collaborative atmosphere, conducive to more meaningful conversation and dynamic new relationships.”

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