What’s Your Pitch:
Innovations Meet the Market

USPAACC’s What’s Your Pitch: Innovations Meet the Market is a unique pitching competition that connects innovative startups from diverse backgrounds and industries to prospective venture capitalists from around the country, angel investors from Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, Chief Executives from Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies and national nonprofits.

Legacy Founders and Co-Sponsors

Southern California Edison Wells Fargo Bank

$100,000 in cash prize and service values will be awarded.


  • Consumer Goods
  • Healthcare & Life Science
  • Energy & Utilities
  • High Tech

Competition Agenda

Regional Preliminary Rounds in 5 Cities (April - May 2019)

  • Austin (April 25, 2019)
    Hosted by the Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC). For more information, please visit
  • Charlotte
  • Atlanta
  • Los Angeles
  • New York City (April 25, 2019)
    Hosted by USPAACC National at the Wells Fargo Connection Center
    150 East 42nd Street
    New York, NY 10017

Top 5 at each Regional Preliminary Competition will win cash prizes for travel and accommodation to National Semi-Final and Final Rounds.

Semifinal Round
June 4, 2019 | Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University
(20 semifinalists will be chosen)

Final Round
June 5, 2019 | Hilton-Americas Houston
(At CelebrASIAN Procurement + Business Conference)

Application Process

  • Applicants will need to fill in the application form.
  • Applicants will have the option to upload a short Introduction Video and an Executive Summary.
  • There is no fee associated with the application.
  • All submitted applications are final.
  • Last day to apply is April 3, 2019.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Kate Nguyen, Program Associate, at

Startups that join the Elimination round will:

  • Be a part of USPAACC Pitch Alums Social Group and connect with past competitions’ semi-finalists and finalists.
  • Join USPAACC Young Entrepreneur Membership which will give access to discounted and/or free National and regional events.
  • Attend USPAACC CelebrAsian 2019 Procurement and Business Conference, the largest gathering of Asian American B2B business in the United States.
  • Enjoy networking opportunities with potential angel investors, venture capitalists, high growth entrepreneurs, potential partners, access to clients, Corporation Executives and SME business owners at USPAACC CelebrAsian 2019.

4 Finalists will receive:

  • Cash-prizes only, no equity or ownership from investors.
  • 30-minute one-on-one Coaching session with successful Entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley.
  • PR articles on USPAACC website and credible marketing value to finalists.
  • Startup names on USPAACC “What’s Your Pitch” site and social media platforms.
  • One-on-one advisory meetings with USPAACC professionals to help guide your business strategy.
  • Matched mentorship opportunities and ability to gain business guidance from those who have expertly pioneered your industry.


“Preparing for the pitch competition helped me hone in on effectively relaying our value proposition effectively to an audience. The subsequent advisory meetings pushed me to focus on one vertical for our technology”
– Karen Taylor Yee, Onederful

“The competition provided a friendly environment to pitch and get to know other startups. I connected with a couple of mentors who I still meet with regularly and one who invested in our startup.”
– Emily Dong, PawPrint

“It (USPAACC’s What’s Your Pitch competition) helped us bootstrap until we generated revenue and the mentors gave critical advice throughout the development of our venture”
– Tuan Ho, ScholarJet

Strategic Partner

Rice Alliance

Rules and Eligibilities

Team Composition

  • Teams that have won/placed in past competitions are not eligible to compete again unless they have a new technology or a completely new venture.
  • Each team may bring up to 5 team members including the team leader. A minimum of 2 team members must be present in every round and those team members must meet the eligibilities above.

Categories / Sectors

Must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Consumer Goods
    Food and Beverages, Cosmetics & Fashion, B2C Mobile Apps
  • Life Science & Healthcare
    Medical Technologies, Medical Device, Healthcare IT Solutions, Biotech, Biopharma
  • Technology
    AI, Blockchain, Machine Learning, 3D Printing, Cybersecurity, Robotics, IoT, Enterprise Software, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality
  • Energy & Utilities
    Clean Energy, Renewable Energy, Sustainability, Transportation & Mobility, Hybrid Vehicles, Natural Gas, Oil & Gas Technologies

Revenue Limitation

  • All ventures have to be seeking equity/ capital/ early stage investments or angel investments. We do not provide, research grants, loans, friends and family funding or any accelerator, incubator equity funding.
  • All ventures have to be for-profits.

Intellectual Property

An IP is not required but highly recommended.

Startup Stage

  • Only new ventures in early growth, seed and start-up stage can compete at this competition.
  • You may compete in the USPAACC competition more than once. Previous applicants should have new technology or ventures and will be reviewed by the Committee.


  • Startups that have raised more than $1 million in equity capital, other than from friends and family.
  • Startups that have made $100,000 in revenue per month.
  • Startups that operate as or have participated in M&As, growth and/or expansion of existing companies, franchises, licensing agreements and spinouts from current companies.

ScholarJet Wins Attention of Potential Investors from Silicon Valley, New York, and Texas

Learn more about how taking first place in last year's competition helped ScholarJet break out and capture the interest of investors.

Read more

2019 Judges and Committee Members

Terry Hsiao

Terry Hsiao


Washington DC MIT Alumni Angel Group

Terry Hsiao

Washington DC MIT Alumni Angel Group

Terry is an entrepreneur having founded and led multiple companies in mobile, payment and cloud both in US and China. He currently heads up Strategy at Kaleyra, a leading trusted cPaaS company with global footprint. An active angel investor and advisor, Terry was appointed by Virginia Governor to serve 2 terms at Center of Innovation and Technology that focuses on policy and governance for state funded innovation and entrepreneurship programs. On his spare time, Terry serves as President of Monte Jade DC Chapter, a 501(c) non-profit organization representing Asian American business leaders and entrepreneurs, and he leads the Washington DC MIT Alumni Angel Group. Terry is married and enjoys basketball, tennis, and golf.

Diane Yoo

Diane Yoo

Former Director

Rice Angel Network

Diane Yoo

Former Director
Rice Angel Network

Diane is an entrepreneur with expertise in venture industry. Her experience includes Director, Founder, Advisor, Investor Relations, and General Partner to Rice Angel Network, Innovation City, Convergence Ventures, NT Capital and EMBA Investments Fund. Additionally she is an LP with FemTech's Portfolia Fund with over 250 LP’s, the first fund in the US with a focus on women’s health and wellness. As CEO, she secured partnerships with Asia’s largest cosmetic, beauty companies. She has also created successful proprietary concepts and has extensive background in local, national, and master global license and franchise businesses. With experience in portfolio management and investment strategy, Diane created proprietary tech platform for funds.

She serves on Houston City Council Women and Diversity Committee and nominated for Center For Houston Leadership 2019. Diane is also involved with numerous venture committees including Houston Exponential, Grace Hopper, Hera Summit. With her extensive community leadership, she received an official proclamation from City of Houston and honorable awards from Texas House of Representatives. Diane earned her MBA at Rice University.