Ready, Set, PITCH!

And they’re off! The Zuventurez teams, our vast coach/advisor network, and fellow competitors watched intently as 18 teams saw their hard work and passion for entrepreneurship come to a point of fulfillment on the evening of Tuesday, January 29th. Pitching to our distinguished panelists with extensive experience in the start-up world, these teams had the opportunity to showcase their ideas and intentions for their businesses through their Pitch Decks. With only 5 minutes to pitch and another 5 minutes to answer the panelists’ questions, these teams had to make every second count! The road to the $15,000 prize starts NOW!

Immediately following the pitches, we had the chance to talk with some of these competitors. Emotions were still running high but many of those we spoke with felt confident in their pitch and the accompanying scores they received from the panelists. Get an inside look at what it’s like to Pitch when competing in Zuventurez by taking a look at the interviews below. Enjoy!

Brandon Miller- Gatzby - “The Great (Entrepreneurial) Gatzby”

Yeah, the entrepreneurial part got left out of the title for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, but make no mistake, this innovative app has just as much flair as the novel’s namesake character. Utilizing access to a vast number of databases, Gatzby can help you find the best price for your larger purchases.

How did you feel after “PITCH Round 1”?

“A little relieved, a little worried, just waiting for tomorrow (to find out who moves on).”

How have your past experiences prepared you for this competition and to be able to pitch tonight?

“I would say the experience last semester and going through it helped a lot.”

Brandon bravely shared with us during his pitch that he dealt with depression last semester. During that time he was able to find hope in creating something, specifically his app Gatzby.

What do you wish you did differently tonight?

“Where do I begin? There’s a lot of stuff.  I’m looking back and I’m going, I want to make a lot of changes. I want to talk to my coach to see what we can do better and what we can work on. Definitely discuss the affiliates more, we need to improve on that, it shows in the reviews.”

What are you looking forward to after tonight?

“I’m just hoping I make it to the next round. Take it one round at a time.”

Monte Thigpen - Katoa - “The Idea Juggernaut”

Monte has been involved with Zuventurez since it’s early years but still finds a way to develop fantastic ideas and business models over and over again. This time around, he’s pitching Katoa, a service that creates a domain dedicated to helping businesses track monetary shifts within the organization. From donations to expense reports, Katoa is as reliable in tracking your money as Monte is in creating entrepreneurial endeavors.

How did you feel after “PITCH Round 1”?

“I feel good. I really liked that they (the panelists) enjoyed what I’m doing and that they enjoyed seeing me up there, and I’m glad that they have actual good advice rather than just ‘Comb your hair!’ or something. I’m glad they actually have something to say about the pitch itself.”

How have your past experiences prepared you for this competition and to be able to pitch tonight?

“I’ve learned so much more about enterprise. I’ve learned even more about dealing and finding different revenue streams.”

What do you wish you did differently tonight?

“I wish tonight I focused more on the product rather than the story and the direction of the product.”

What are you looking forward to after tonight?

“Going over my scores, taking in more feedback, and applying that feedback to my pitch so that next time I’m ready to go and hopefully get a better score.”

Matthew Tanoue - Caveman Bands - This Innovation is Anything but Prehistoric...

“Find a Band as Tough as Your Man” is Matthew Tanoue’s company motto. “Matty T” is in charge of a Top-rated Wedding Band Design Team. His company builds stunning wedding bands built from a variety of high quality materials where each wedding band tells a story and displays your unique personality.

How did you feel after “PITCH Round 1”?

“I feel alright; got a lot of work to put in, but it’s been good.”

How have your past experiences prepared you for this competition and to be able to pitch tonight?

“I was looking for something to sell and I started selling with only a few hundred bucks. First year, I did about thirty thousand and it kept going. The second year, I did about fifty five thousand, and this year, I’m gonna hit about six figures. So basically, when it got hard I kept going. Zuventurez provides some extra encouragement to keep going when you get tired.”

What do you wish you did differently tonight?

“Tie in my kingdom impact, take a lot of stuff out, add the appendix, and tell some better stories.”

What are you looking forward to after tonight?

“To have the support of a school that I invested so much into and to have them invest back in me would be something wonderful to see.”

What’s Next?

Our contestants can rest easy as it has been determined that there will be no eliminations after this first round of pitches. Feverish preparation for PITCH Round 2 has already begun for the teams as they will pitch again on Tuesday, February 12th. Be sure to join us in Azusa Pacific University’s Wilden Hall at 7pm as the elimination rounds begin and the competition really heats up! And if you have an idea, a team, and a Pitch Deck, it’s NOT TOO LATE to join! Contact us: and you could participate in the competition and have a chance to Pitch your way into a share of the $15,000 of seed money for your business.

“Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen.” - Wayne Huizenga

Comment and tell us what kind of business you would jump start with 15K!

-Haley Scott and Joe Torkelson