Celebrating the Next Generation of Technology Innovators

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At Trend Micro, it’s our mission to secure the connected world. However, we want to go beyond the boundaries of the cybersecurity industry to support and learn from the technology innovators of tomorrow. That’s what our venture arm, Trend Forward Capital, is all about.

As part of these efforts, we held a pitch-off competition this week for ambitious start-ups at our North American headquarters in Dallas. We’d like to congratulate all those who took part, and particularly Roby on winning the $10,000 Forward Thinker Award.

Five minutes to shine

Trend Micro has run highly successful pitch-off competitions at the past two CES shows. This was the first time we’ve brought the idea back home to our headquarters. We certainly weren’t disappointed with the quality of applicants – around 50 submissions were whittled down to the final five participants. Each was given five minutes to present to a formidable line-up of judges, including Trend Micro co-founder and CEO, Eva Chen; Marwan Forzley, CEO of one of our start-up success stories, Veem; and Tom Whittaker of IBM ventures.

The quality of presentations was high, as was the energy in the room. From credit scoring for farms to parenting management, and hybrid cloud connectivity to AI and African healthcare — the sheer range of innovative ideas on show was fantastic to see. We were also pleased to see shortlisted a local Dallas-based business and two from Austin, testament to the burgeoning start-up scene in Texas.

Competing presenters were judged on five key criteria: leadership, product, addressable market, customer validation and business model.

Backing local businesses

In the end, the judges thought Roby – an office automation company – had the edge on the competition. As well as the cash prize, the company will now be considered for pre-selection for our 2020 CES pitch-off, and receive two passes to the show. However, we’d like to thank all those who took part. Even for those that didn’t quite make it, competitions like this are a valuable opportunity to practice their pitches and set themselves up for success next time. There were also plenty of local investors and other industry influencers in the room to impress.

There’s a wealth of great ideas out there, and Trend Micro remains committed to finding them and giving ambitious entrepreneurs the opportunity to shine. In so doing, we hope to help create a smarter, more connected world while learning a little ourselves from the disrupters of tomorrow.

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