Attention Startups: Enter the 2nd Annual ABA TECHSHOW ‘Startup Alley’ Competition

Here is a great opportunity for innovative legal technology startups to gain exposure. For the second year, ABA TECHSHOW is hosting a special Startup Alley in its exhibition hall and an opening night startup pitch competition judged by conference attendees. And we’ve just kicked off the competition to win one of the 15 Startup Alley spaces.

Again this year, I will be coordinating the competition, in collaboration with TECHSHOW, Evolve Law and Above the Law.

Startups interested in participating should complete this application form. Applications must be received by Oct. 31, 2017. Please do not apply if you are not able to attend TECHSHOW, which is March 7-10, 2018, in Chicago.

From all applications received, a panel of three judges — Debbie Foster, co-chair of the TECHSHOW planning board; Mary Juetten, cofounder of Evolve Law; and me — will select 25 finalists. On Nov. 20, brief descriptions of each of the 25 will be posted on Above the Law and readers will be invited to vote for their favorites. The 15 startups with the most votes will be selected for TECHSHOW. Winners will be announced on Dec. 4.

Who Can Apply?

The competition is limited to startups that meet the following criteria:

  • Your product or service is targeted to lawyers or legal professionals, not to consumers.
  • Your company has never before exhibited at a national legal technology conference.
  • Your company has achieved some demonstrable traction, either in users or financing.
  • You were not one of the companies that presented at TECHSHOW in the 2017 Startup Alley.

In addition, your company should be innovative, meaning that it addresses a need not met by other products or services currently on the market or that it does so in a way not currently done by others.

What If I Am Selected?

The winning startups will be provided space at a discounted cost to exhibit their product or service in a special Startup Alley located within TECHSHOW’s exhibit hall.

  • Each startup will be provided space in a uniform, pre-installed booth. You will not need (or be allowed) to bring a booth of your own.
  • Each startup will be responsible for the booth fee of $1,500. This is a significant reduction off the standard booth cost. You are welcome to seek sponsors to underwrite all or part of this cost.
  • You will be responsible for your own travel and hotel expenses to Chicago.

In addition to exhibit space, each startup will face off in an opening night pitch competition. Each startup will have 2.5 minutes to present its pitch, either live or using recorded video, in front of an audience of TECHSHOW attendees. At the conclusion of the pitches, attendees will vote to select the most innovative company as the winner.

What Do We Get Out of This?

ABA TECHSHOW is one of the world’s pre-eminent legal technology conferences. Your company will gain exposure to a diverse audience of legal professionals, including practitioners, academics, consultants and others. In addition, TECHSHOW’s audience includes legal journalists, bloggers and industry analysts.

In short, your company will get precious time in the spotlight. Along with that will come invaluable opportunities for feedback about your product or service from TECHSHOW attendees, the competition’s judges and your peers at other startups.

In addition, the winner of the opening night pitch competition will receive:

  • One-year Emerging Company membership in Evolve Law.
  • Free booth space at the 2019 TECHSHOW.
  • A profile of the company on Above the Law.

There is no cost to apply, and the application form is relatively painless. We hope to hear from you and to see you in Chicago in March.