Fayetteville to host Startup World Cup regional qualifier

Japan startup Aillis won the $1 million grand prize at the Startup World Cup in 2023. (Pegasus Tech Ventures)

A regional qualifier for the global finale of the Startup World Cup will take place in Fayetteville this summer.

Startup Junkie Consulting of Fayetteville was selected to host the event, which will offer local entrepreneurs a platform to showcase their ideas and compete for a chance to win a $1 million investment.

Applications are now open for founders and innovators to apply. Ten standout applicants will be selected to compete in the regional final on Aug. 30 at the Pryor Center in downtown Fayetteville. Finalists will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges from regional entrepreneurial organizations and enterprises.

The winning startup from the regional final will advance to the Startup World Cup Grand Finale in San Francisco on Oct. 4, competing for the grand prize of $1 million. The event is expected to draw around 2,500 attendees and feature more than 20 notable speakers, including Robert Herjavec from Shark Tank and C-Suite leaders from Salesforce, eBay and PagerDuty, according to a news release.

“This competition is held in major cities across the world, known for entrepreneurship and innovation,” said
Caleb Talley, executive director of Startup Junkie. “I am thankful for Pegasus Tech Ventures’ willingness to bring this competition to Northwest Arkansas, which is a testament to our ecosystem and the entrepreneurs who make it great.”

Startups interested in participating can apply via the Startup World Cup website. The application process includes uploading a pitch deck for review by the first-round judges. Idea-stage companies are also encouraged to apply.

Applications are due by Aug. 5 Announcement of the Top 10 will take place on Aug. 9.

Aillis, a machine-learning based AI company which uses pharyngeal images to make accurate and early influenza detection possible, won the 2023 competition.