Priceless Surprises Delivered to Start-Ups @ SxSW

As part of the Priceless Surprises campaign, MasterCard and McCann XBC created the “Priceless Elevator Pitch” which allowed entrepreneurs to pitch their big idea in 60 seconds or less, in a real elevator, for a chance to win $15,000 and other Priceless Surprises. The event took place from March 13 to 15 at the Mashable House, an interactive tech house, during the 2015 SxSW conference in Austin, TX.

To take part, the entrepreneurs simply had to be MasterCard cardholders.

Top venture capitalist (VC) firms Flybridge, SoftTech, and Fortis Partners viewed and judged 180 pitches over the course of three days. They narrowed the list to nine finalists who were each surprised with $250 MasterCard Prepaid Gift cards. On the final day, Felice Gorodo of Clearpath was selected as the $15,000 grand prize winner. Clearpath is a software company with patented technology that makes it easier, safer and affordable for immigrants to file their immigration forms online.

In addition, MasterCard delivered some special Priceless Surprises to two lucky entrepreneurs, to help their businesses:

MasterCard and Mashable surprised startup Charity Miles with advertising credits worth $10,000 on the Mashable Platform. Charity Miles is an app that enables people to earn money for charity when they run, walk or bike.

MasterCard and Spredfast surprised startup Virtuali with one year of free access to Spredfast’s Intelligence tech products worth $75,000. Virtuali is a leadership training firm that helps companies reinvent how they engage Millennials.

No cardholder who participated in the Priceless Elevator Pitch went home empty-handed. All received a Priceless Surprise just for pitching an idea. And the initiative itself stood out at one of the world’s liveliest and largest interactive festivals, receiving lots of press coverage and attention.