It gives anyone in Oregon and Southwest Washington a chance to get involved with startups, and perhaps even get a big idea off the ground with little effort. You don't have to quit your day job or empty your savings account, at least not yet.
"You don't have to go through processes, spend 6-9 months of your life turning a project into a company, or an idea into a company, you can do it in just a few weeks," said one of the organizers and a startup founder himself, John Friess.
So here's how it works: come up with that great idea (it can be anything like food, clothes, a new tool) and fill out a one-page business plan online by the end of April. If the Pitchlandia organizers choose your idea in the top 20, you'll pitch it in person to a crowd of 300 people on May 27. Up to 10 ideas will be chosen to get at least $2,500 each.
"It's enough you could potentially do a prototype of your product, you could go out and get a patent issued or at least filed, and potentially allow you to build a piece of software," Friess said.
The more money Pitchlandia raises now, the more money the winners will receive. Anyone can buy a ticket to be part of the crowd who votes. Ticket sales also contribute to the total amount of money raised.
"Everyone that's ever had a great idea and put it all out there, has been terrified. Anyone who tells you they were not terrified in lying to you," said another organizer and attorney of a startup law firm, Robert Scott. "It's a gamble, but if you really believe in it, go for it."