5 Colorado companies chosen as finalists for Richard Branson's massive pitch competition

November 3, 2015

Colorado tech companies took an impressive share of this year’s Extreme Tech Challenge finalist spots. HobbyDB, Kickfurther, MassRoots, Sphero, and Revolar were all named among the challenge’s 25 finalists. The competition pits thousands of tech startups for three coveted spots on a plane to Richard Branson’s private island, Necker Island. I’m not making this up. 

If there were more cameras involved, The Extreme Tech Challenge could easily be mistaken for a Survivor: Startup Island television show. Which, lets face it, would be awesome.

The event, which uses the tag line ‘cause big sharks should not be kept in a tank,’ is basically just a huge pitch competition, only with the flair of a reality TV show. Thousands of contestants enter for a chance to pitch live on stage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Three winners of that pitch competition will then be chosen for a trip to Branson’s island lair.

Once on the island finalists will, apparently, be kiteboarding, playing with monkeys and, at least if the video is any indication, pretending like they are the cast of Entourage. A final winner will be chosen there, and awarded with critical infrastructure and investment. 

As absurd as the event sounds, it does pull in some huge names in the tech community. Judges include people like Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, David Cohen, Founder and CEO of Techstars, and Robert Scoble, Futurist at Rackspace, amongst a myriad of others. 

Last year the final three companies to win the CES competition were Wanderu, Breathometer and Doctor on Demand. Apparently, however, after hearing all ten of the semi-finalists pitch, Branson changed his mind and flew them all to his island. 

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