MDMC17 Startup Pitch Competition

By: James Stout
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This was another year of success for the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference (MDMC), and this time the conference was two days full of great panels and great weather. MDMC is constantly growing, adding new features, events, and panels to be able to offer more to its visitors. An interesting addition this year was the Startup Pitch Competition, where a selected number of young startups had a chance to promote their product in only 3 minutes in front of the panel of experts. The judges were represented by the industry experts from such companies as Purina, Facebook, Snapchat, Microsoft, Google and more. The winner received a check for $5,000 from Purina and UMSL|Accelerate.
This year’s winners were MetKnow – creators of a mobile application that helps members in all types of organizations know each other’s names. We were able to chat with CEO and founder of the startup Will Edwards and get a little more information about his product and his thoughts on MDMC17.

Q:  Tell us a bit about MetKnow.
WE: MetKnow is a mobile application that helps people in organizations learn the faces and names of their fellow members. We do this by generating flash cards and quizzes of the members for the user to review and quiz themselves. I created MetKnow for my fraternity back in college. We had over 200 guys in the house and no real tool to learn each other’s name.
Q: How will you invest the money you won into MetKnow?
WE: We are integrating other social media applications like Slack into MetKnow. Soon MetKnow will be able to pull the profiles of a person’s connections from other social media platforms and generate flash cards and quizzes of those individuals. We are excited to add this function because it will give the individual user immediate use of MetKnow instead of having to wait to be invited into a MetKnow group.
Q: What are your thoughts on the Startup Pitch Competition?
WE: We have done pitch competitions and conferences all across the Midwest and I have to say the MDMC was by far the best. Not only did it give us the opportunity to pitch for prize money, but we had two full days of showcasing our company at our booth to potential customers. That was great. Perry Drake, the founder of the conference, Alex Cruz and Nick Szabo did a great job of preparing the startups for both the conference and the pitch competition. They really made sure everything went smoothly. All in all, it was awesome. My only suggestion for next year is maybe give the pitcher a stop clock to look at. I think I went a little over my allotted time.

Being capable of pitching your product in only 3 minutes is something that is not easy, especially in front of a panel of experts from some of the largest companies in the world. Will and MetKnow pitched their product in a very impressive manner that caught the attention of the judges. We were able to talk to one of the panel judges, Sylvester Chisom, an education entrepreneur and the author of the best selling “The Young Entrepreneur’s Guide to Success 2.0”. Sylvester shared with us his thoughts on MetKnow and the competition as a whole.

Q: What were some key factors you were looking for as a judge in the competition?
SC: I was looking for a company that demonstrated passion for their idea and offered a clear solution to the problem they are working to solve.
Q: What are your thoughts on the winner, MetKnow? Do you think it is an app that can strive in the market? SC: Metknow was my top choice. I believe it can have a very far reach across multiple industries and truly help people learn the names they need to know.
Q: Was it difficult to select a winner? SC: Yes, the final group were all solid. There could be only one winner for the competition however I expect great progress and impact for them all.

Each of the competitors could have won this competition. We thank them all for participating and wish them the best in their future. We congratulate MetKnow on their victory and we look forward to watching them cross all platforms of media!
If you are a startup company and think you have what it takes to win this competition next year at MDMC18, you can contact Perry Drake at Also check out this link for some more info on requirements to be eligible for the competition. We look forward to seeing you next year at MDMC18!