EMERGE, the top tech conference in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, is opening a call for its annual startup pitching competition – EMERGE CHALLENGE, which ****will be happening during the main event online on 12 - 14 May 2021. The main prize of the competition is €10,000 cash this year. There will also be an Awards ceremony to read founders in different nominations, this to be announced shortly.

EMERGE CHALLENGE helps startups to be discovered by investors and key-players of a startup ecosystem. The goal is to help startups scale globally and connect with the right people. During the competition startups can showcase their project before the judging panel, which consists of international investors and media.

Applications for EMERGE CHALLENGE are open till 20 April 2021, 23:59 GMT+3. To apply one needs to leave a corresponding request on the page of a STARTUP TICKET purchase, which is required for participation. Once it’s submitted, the EMERGE team will go through all applications and contact each startup applied.

Which is:

Scale-up startups will have a chance to pitch at an invite-only event Venture lounge. Startups will be chosen based on applications and interviews.

*“*Pitching on a big stage is an amazing experience. It teaches you to prepare better, which results in a more detailed vision of your product”,

– shares Sergey Budyakov, CEO Usedesk, EMERGE CHALLENGE winner - 2019.

*“*Initially, EMERGE CHALLENGE was aimed at early-stage startups that just begin to have traction, but we’ve been noticing that more and more startup at later stages were joining too. Last year we tested a different format – themed pitch sessions with only international VCs on the panel that invest at Seed/Series A stage (e.g. Atomico, Notion Capital, Northzone, Microsoft's M12). This format, Venture Lounge, is for more mature startups that are ready to scale beyond home countries. It might be a good step for EMERGE CHALLENGE alumni, who gained traction since their last pitch”,

– says a co-founder of EMERGE Conference Alina Nilsson.

*“*As a result of participating in EMERGE CHALLENGE 2020, we have received a lot of requests from investors, either angels or VC funds who we would not have found otherwise. Most importantly, we found a lot of new customers who were passionate about using our solution. All in all, for us it was a highlight of 2020 since the EMERGE team managed to pull such an amazing online conference during tough times”,

– recalls Ilya Melkumov, co-founder Inovat, EMERGE CHALLENGE winner - 2020.

In 2020 EMERGE was held online for the first time in history. EMERGE CHALLENGE pitches reached almost 2,000 minutes that year. 40 judges from the investment and startup ecosystem were deciding who was to win the prize at the competition. And more than 100 mentors held around 200 hours of mentorship sessions to startups.