I’m heading to the 2018 HR Technology Conference & Exhibition because I’m excited about the pitchfest.

Generally speaking, pitchfests are a popular way for founders to present their new technology to captive audiences. You stand on stage for three minutes and tell people why your product will change the world.

It’s such a fun experience to watch. Sometimes the founders are PhDs from ivy league schools who feel more comfortable behind a laptop than on the stage. Other times, English is a second (or fourth) language for the speaker, and they face a one-two punch of being nervous because they’re standing on stage and, also, communicating in a foreign style.

Then some judges act like members of Shark Tank. Once the founder’s presentation is over, they ask questions about the new piece of technology. Some of the questions are nice, some are aggressive, and sometimes the judges will interject their opinions and tell the founder why she’ll fail. That’s always awkward because you’ve got someone who is an entrepreneur being lectured by someone who isn’t. Bring snacks.

My favorite thing about a pitchfest is looking at company names. This year, thirty companies are presenting at HR Tech. Their names are:

CompensationCloud, Inc
AskHR, a division of Audseb
Colleago Pty Ltd
Alyss Analytics
Knowledge Perks
Raven Intel
Swarm Vision
BioGrp Technology

Some of the names are awesome, some sound like pharmaceutical companies, and some are just weird. But it’s 2018 and hard to create a signature name and value proposition and find a matching domain.

My old tech company, GlitchPath, had a perfect name. In fact, an investor told me that it was the best thing about our platform. If only I could build something better to help people find a pathway out of their glitches, I’d have an excellent little technology company in three years and exit with $10MM.

Ah, feedback.

Good luck to all the companies participating in the pitchfest at HR Tech. If anybody needs my advice on how to communicate on stage or endure the conference, I’m here for you. The best thing to happen to the HR technology scene — and the entire industry, to be honest — is the burgeoning start-up market. I’m rooting for you all, and I would love to host the winner of the competition on my podcast.

4 Responses to HR Tech Pitchfest
  1. Michael Heller

    Laurie, hope to see you at HR Tech, and it’s really great you gave these startups some publicity! As a founder myself, I know that we take all we can get.

    To that end, why not offer to host any of these folks on your podcast? I mean, the winner of the PC will be honored but the others may have some really good product and, to your point, maybe didn’t come across as plucky/passionate/driven because of a language barrier, social anxiety or introverted-ness.

    Obv, your podcast – just a suggestion from one self claimed underdog to another.

    • Laurie Ruettimann

      Hi, buddy.

      Thirty episodes on HR tech might kill me; however, any founder with passion will find this list and pitch herself for my show, and I almost always say yes to passionate people.

      See you soon!

  2. Rob @ Pounse

    Hey Laurie, thanks for supporting the startup folks. I’m excited for my fellow entrepreneurs. Just to note: the startups pitching already went through a screening process to get up there. Lots of other startups didn’t make the cut. We didn’t because our product wasn’t live yet (launching August 29th).

    While the pitchfest is a great event, it is already a shortlist based on the judges preferences, so may I also suggest to your readers to stroll through startup alley and hear some 2 minute pitches in person and judge for themselves. You and your readers might find some very interesting founders who, while nervous on stage, will relish an opportunity for a one on one chat with you.

    I for one am excited to meet so many smart and insightful HR folks during the week.


  3. Tom McKeown

    Hi Laurie,

    Thanks for the warning. I’ll have my A Game. I’d love to be on your podcast some time.