The new normal has upended startups across Canada, limiting their ability to continue innovating and in some cases, pushing them to dissolve.

To help, digital contesting and community platform Orbiiit has launched THE PITCH – a virtual contest where startups compete for $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes including legal services, marketing credits and even acceptance in accelerator programs.

Orbiiit has partnered with industry sponsors and judges, including Fasken, FrontFundr, The DMZ and Daily Hive, to provide startups with the in-kind prizes.

Startups can enter by submitting their video pitch online by June 18th. Once accepted, they will join a 9-week virtual competition, which includes public voting followed by a final round of judging by industry experts.

Judges include Fasken’s Will Shaw, #movethedial’s Jodi Kovitz, FrontFundr’s Peter-Paul Van Hoeken, The DMZ’s Shane Flynn, Final Stage Entertainment’s Matt Hoffar, and Daily Hive’s Jacqueline Leung.

Online voting rounds run through July 22nd and the 10 startups with the most votes will proceed to the final round where the panel of judges will select the top three based on the merits of the business.

Anyone can cast a vote once for free and Orbiiit is allowing “those that want to provide additional support” to purchase additional votes for $1 per vote. So ultimately, this pitch competition is funding its prize money by selling votes.

According to Orbiiit, partial proceeds from the purchased voting packages will go to a partner charity.

First place will win $15,000 cash + $35,000 in-kind, second place will receive $7,500 cash + $25,000 in-kind, and third place will take home $2,500 cash + $18,000 in-kind.

“Building startups can be volatile and challenging even in the best of times, and overnight the pandemic has impacted the fundraising process. We began to see these changes firsthand and pivoted Orbiiit into a platform where we can serve the very community that we are a part of,” says Nader Navabi, CEO and Founder of Orbiiit.

“What makes us different is that we help startups leverage their existing networks of friends, families and supporters, meaning we democratize the funding process,” says Navabi.