Tuesday, November 17, 2015

You Can Pitch an Investor in the Back Seat of an Uber on Friday

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2015 at 6:00 AM

click to enlarge The investors you speak to might not be this cute, but they too come in an Uber. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FLICKR/WILLIAM J. SISTI
  • Photo courtesy of Flickr/William J. Sisti
  • The investors you speak to might not be this cute, but they too come in an Uber.

If you missed out on UberKITTENS a few weeks ago, don’t get yourself down. On Friday, Nov. 20, Uber will be offering free rides with cute, cuddly… venture capitalists?

That’s right. Uber, which expanded to the St. Louis area in late September in defiance of regulators, will be providing local entrepreneurs the opportunity to deliver an elevator pitch to potential investors interested in new business proposals. Picture Shark Tank, only one-on-one and in the back of a moving car. Rides will be given under the UberBLACK service, the company’s higher-end towncar option, to help make guests comfortable as they pitch their ideas.

Uber has had similar events in Philadelphia, Tampa and San Francisco. These events have led to numerous followup meetings, though Uber cannot confirm whether any offers were extended.

UberPITCH rides can be booked through the Uber app between noon and 2 p.m. on Friday. Six cars will be stationed throughout the city, “from downtown to Clayton and everywhere in between,” according to Uber St. Louis General Manager Sagar Shah.

“This will be an on-demand event,” Shah said. “It’s about requesting a car at the right time. We’re recommending to people that if you don’t see a car right away, just keep checking [the app] and keep trying within that two-hour window.”

Uber has partnered with T-REX, Prosper Women Entrepreneurs and Ferguson 1000 to provide meetings between entrepreneurs and investors, but the event is also open to the public.

Ferguson 1000 co-founder Dr. E. Lance McCarthy is excited about the potential for north St. Louis.

“When Uber first decided to come to St. Louis, we saw that it was a great opportunity for job creation … and for investment, particularly for African Americans,” McCarthy says. “There is a significant lack of business capital out there for African-American business people. … We want to help get other companies and investors involved to help grow African-American businesses in St. Louis and Ferguson.”

So, to that end, Ferguson 1000 will join with T-REX on Wednesday, Nov. 18, to offer a free workshop on how to pitch to an investor. The event is open to the public. It begins at 6:30 p.m. at T-REX (911 Washington Ave., downtowntrex.com). Sign-ups are available on Ferguson 1000’s website.

Ferguson 1000 will also be bringing businesses to meet with entrepreneurs at Drake’s Place Restaurant (701 S Florissant Rd., drakesplacestl.com) in Ferguson for brunch on Friday at 10 a.m. before UberPITCH rides kick off.


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