skip to Main Content

Calling all entrepreneurs, start-ups + innovators. Is your goal to make the hospitality + travel industry better? Think your company has what it takes to get you to NYC to pitch your business in front of a community of well-respected industry professionals and experienced judges?

The Independent Lodging Congress’  INDIE Cultivate: A Hospitality + Travel Start-up Pitch Event, held in NYC on July 9, serves to help recognize hospitality + travel related start-ups who are making a wave in the industry. The day will include eight pitches, networking time, cocktails, lunch, and a number of panels to encourage further industry thought leadership.

8 Start-ups from the following stages of funding will be chosen to pitch to a panel of well-respected judges:

  • 4 Angel/Seed stage companies
  • 4 Early/Series A stage companies

To enter, you must be the founder, co-founder or have an equity share in the business. One submission per individual company is permitted.

Deadline to submit: May 10

  • Pitch Decks must be submitted via e-mail ([email protected]).
  • A one to two minute executive summary video pitch must accompany the plan.
    • This video should show a bit of the culture of the company and be entertaining. We want to see how you will grace the stage.
    • Can be filmed simply on an smartphone.
    • For videos larger than 12 MB, please upload to WeTransfer and copy the link provided
      • Send the link to your video, your business plan and any other pertinent information to [email protected]
  • Additionally, please fill out the online application for the Start-up Pitch Event on this webpage


  • 8 applicants (4 for Seed/Angel Stage start-ups and 4 Early/Series A) will receive the unique opportunity to attend the July 9 Pitch Event in NYC and pitch their company to a room full of hospitality + travel experts.


  • One-on-one time with one of our judges
  • A complimentary pass to the 2019 Congress in L.A. October 16 + 17
  • Automatic finalist for the 2019 INDIE Awards

It is important to remember that this competition is for ventures at various stages of development. Some may already be off the ground while others are looking for initial funding. The first round of judging will be to determine the 8 finalists invited to pitch live on July 9.

Finalists will be judged by a panel of seasoned professionals from the realms of VC, hospitality, and travel. They may be star hoteliers, famous restaurateurs, investors or service providers working with the venture community.


The eight finalists will be invited to attend + present at the 2019 Pitch Event. All travel + lodging is at your own expense.

Teams will be permitted six minutes to pitch their business and creative outline on why they are the next big disruptor. PowerPoint or multimedia will be available. You must send the deck at least 2 weeks in advance. You are encouraged to use examples to keep things lively.

A maximum of 10 minutes will be allocated for Q+A from judges.

Judges will be looking for the following:

  • Clear explanation of the product or service and why it is especially timely for it to come to market
  • Your target market
  • Your competitive advantages
  • The total addressable market + economics of the business
  • The ask!!!
Simple Share Buttons
Back To Top