Shark Tank on Wheels: How Ordering an Uber Can Fund Your Business Idea

August 24, 2016
by Dana Sitar
Staff Writer
Uberpitch

If you’ve ever spent a Friday night ogling Mark Cuban and fantasizing about standing in some version of the Shark Tank yourself, here’s your chance.

All you have to do is… order an Uber?

It sounds weird, and I’m not completely convinced it’s not — but we’re certainly intrigued.

Throughout the world, the rideshare company hosts special events dubbed UberPITCH. For one day in your city, you can request a ride to arrive with a local investor in tow.

You’ll hop in the car with the investor, pitch your business idea, get feedback, hop out and hope they call.

When Will UberPITCH Be in Your City?

To be clear, you probably won’t be taking a ride with Mr. Cuban or Mr. Wonderful, per se. The service works with investment firms in your area to give you a foot in the (car) door.

You can screen investors ahead of time, when Uber makes the local event announcement on its website.

Uber doesn’t have a public schedule of upcoming events, but will make an announcement before coming to your city.

As a former rider in Madison, Wisconsin, I found out about the event in an email from Uber. From 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. today, UberPITCH will be part of the city’s Forward Festival for innovators and entrepreneurs.

Heads up to University of Wisconsin entrepreneurs: If you want to take advantage of this opportunity, here are some tips for launching a startup from your dorm room.

If you’re not in Madison today, your best bet for getting the news in your town is to sign up as an Uber rider.

You can also keep an eye on the company’s newsroom updates, search #uberpitch on Twitter, or simply search “UberPITCH + your city.”

How UberPITCH Works

The service really is as simple as it sounds. All you need is a great idea — and an even greater pitch.

When UberPITCH is happening in your city, you’ll need to enter a promo code when you open the app.

For today’s event in Madison, the code is PITCHFORWARDFEST — but will change for each city.

When you request a ride, slide over to the “pitch” option where you’d normally select “uberX” or “uberXL,” etc.

If an investor is available, the app will connect you and a car will pick you up.

You’ll get a 15-minute ride — the news doesn’t mention a destination — where you can pitch for 10 minutes and get five minutes of feedback.

We recommend arming yourself with business cards and easy-to-read literature to help an investor remember you and follow up if they’re interested.

Make sure you perfect your pitch and request your ride early! The company warns, “Demand will be high and availability limited.”

We wish you and your brilliant ideas the best!

Your Turn: Would you pitch an investor in an Uber?

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).

by Dana Sitar
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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