BTV Ignite Announces “Reverse Pitch” Competition


Burlington, VT (April 6, 2018) – BTV Ignite will participate in this year’s US Ignite series of “Reverse Pitch” Competitions.   Digital solution developers and educators are invited to compete for cash grants to demonstrate innovative ways high-bandwidth ideas can help deliver education – in Burlington, across our state, and by linking our students with national communities and resources.

$30,000 in total grant funding will be made available through this program, in awards for best solution ideas and, subsequently, for best proof-of-concept developed “application solutions”.  An “application solution” can be any combination of software, equipment, digital systems, and related “services” that demonstrate new ways of delivering education.

Anyone can participate, from individuals to companies and teams.  And, everyone is encouraged to attend the launch event and subsequent events – there’s no requirement to participate in proposal developments.  Anyone interested in creative ideas for delivering education is welcomed!  We hope technologists and educators consider teaming up to share their respective skills.

The Competition will be launched at an event on May 4 at 4pm, hosted at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine.    Senior representatives from Microsoft will keynote our session, sharing insights on how new technologies are creating 21st century opportunities.  We will also be joined by John Downes and Kieran Killeen of the UVM Tarrant Institute for Innovation in Education, Lea Ann Smith of the Essex STEM Academy, Ann DeMarle of the Champlain College Emergent Media Center, Michael Stone of the Chattanooga-based Public Education Foundation, and Scott Turnbull of US Ignite.

The launch event will be livestreamed and recorded — we hope educators and developers from across the state will join us online if they can’t attend the event in person.  More info on livestream links will be provided as the event approaches (please RSVP if you’d like to be contacted with more information).

In a “Reverse Pitch” proposers, such as community leaders and local businesses, “pitch” a problem to local entrepreneurs, hackers, makers, developers, and others with an interest in new ideas.  Participants are challenged to develop innovative solutions to these problems, including gigabit application ideas. Reverse Pitches provide community entrepreneurs and developers the opportunity to collaborate on groundbreaking work that fosters the development of next-generation gigabit applications to impact areas of national priority and communities across the world.

The theme of our Pitch call will be “Delivering Education”.   We are challenging participants to consider how 21st century technology can let educators re-imagine our classroom and other educational experiences.    In addition to developers, we strongly welcome educators to participate and share their vision.

Specific activity suggestions will be provided as guidance, but the topic will be left broad enough to encourage participant creativity.    We will guide participants to consider solutions that promote telepresence, augmented and virtual reality, platforms for connecting distributed educators, and partnership opportunities for working across multiple US Ignite cities (similar to the Chattanooga 4K microscope “gigabit” application).

The Reverse Pitch Program will give participants an extended period over the next several months to develop new ideas and work to develop digital solutions:

  • The Program begins with our launch event on May 4 where prospective participants and attendees will hear more about the challenge and how innovators are reimaging education.
  • On (or about) June 1 we will host an “ideas pitch” session where participants will have the opportunity to share their solution concepts.  The top 5 ideas, which include development plans, will receive a grant of $2,000 to support further development.
  • We will work with participants – individuals and teams – through the summer to help them as they work on “proof of concept” demonstration solutions.
  • In early fall (Sept/Oct), we will host a Reverse Pitch Finals event.  The top two proof of concept applications presented will each be awarded $10,000 in grant money to further develop and, potentially, deploy their solution.

To RSVP for this event, please visit .  For more information, please contact Dennis Moynihan at