Albuquerque startup EquiSeq dominated the slopes this year at the third annual ski lift pitch competition, beating out 11 other companies to win a $10,000 prize at the Taos Ski Valley on Tuesday.
The competition, organized by Albuquerque’s ABQid business accelerator, is a novel twist on pitch competitions that places competing companies on Taos Valley’s Kachina Peak Lift alongside investors and entrepreneurs who judge their business presentations while riding up the slopes.
ABQid selected 12 companies for this year’s event. The participants were divided into three groups, with judges on each of the three competing lifts choosing the best pitch offered from their respective groups on the ride up.
That led to three semifinalists who faced off in a final round of presentations back on the ground. That included:
— EquiSeq, an ABQid accelerator graduate that offers genetic testing on horses for owners to make better decisions on breeding and purchases;
— Vermont company Peak Alpaca, which recycles waste fur from alpacas to use as insulation in sports wear and jackets
— NoStamp, a startup that developed an app for people to pay for mailing packages through smartphones.
The competition attracted 13 judges from New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado, said Justin Holub, ABQid program and marketing coordinator.
“EquiSeq won the $10,000 prize, but the real purpose of the ski lift pitch is for all the participants to make connections with the investors and entrepreneurs who act as judges in the competition,” Holub said. “That’s a benefit for all of the companies, regardless of who wins.”