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ABQid Balloon Pitch takes flight online

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — With this year’s Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta grounded by coronavirus, ABQid is turning to cyberspace for its third annual Balloon Pitch competition.

Up to 10 startups will be selected to compete online Oct. 2 in a virtual event with 17 investors who will judge the participants’ pitches for $9,000 in cash prizes. That includes $5,000 for the first-place award, $2,500 for second place, and $1,000 for third.

As in past years, the top awardee will also receive a free ride in a private balloon, albeit outside the fiesta’s normal mass liftoff, said ABQid Business Development Director Harold Lavender.

“The balloons aren’t flying this year, so we went elsewhere to secure a private ride on a locally owned balloon,” Lavender said.

ABQid — which is run by Central New Mexico Community College’s commercial management entity “CNM Ingenuity” — launched the competition in 2018 to connect promising New Mexico companies with in- and out-of-state investors.

This year’s roster of investor judges include seven from New Mexico and 10 from six other states who are actively pursuing investments in local startups, or who have previously invested in New Mexico companies. Collectively, they represent more than $150 million in investible capital, Lavender said.

Competition participants will be expected to present five-minute, online video or power point pitches, followed by three minutes of Q&A from the judges.

For more information or to enter the competition, visit Applications are due by Sept. 13.

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