UberPITCH: Latest offering pairs investors with budding entrepreneurs

Apr 5, 2016 | Biz/Tech


UberPITCH is coming to Toronto and giving some users the opportunity to ride with an investor. (Image via Uber)

Ryan Durgy

Ride-sharing app Uber continues to bring new innovations to their service – first they delivered puppies to play with users, then it was kittens, and now it’s investors.

Uber Toronto announced that on Thursday, April 7 from 11am to 3pm, some users of the app can catch a free 15-minute ride with an investor to pitch their idea.

The opportunity to share the backseat with an investor is getting students here at Humber College excited.

Alex Cintra, a paralegal student, said he would consider using UberPITCH to share some of his ideas.

“I think in today’s ideology, to invest in something or to come up with an idea, people don’t know where to exactly begin,” Cintra said. “It gives them a head start into maybe developing something they have an idea for.”

Cintra said that some may take advantage of the free Uber ride.

“That’s what people will end up doing,” Cintra said. “You’re probably going to pitch the same idea to different people and see which one will actually pick up on it just for the free Uber ride.”

Matias Golob, program manager of Humber Launch, which provides funding opportunities, mentorship and workshops to help businesses grow and succeed, said there is prepping students need to do before pitching to investors.

“What we do at Humber Launch is help them get to the point where they can actually pitch to investors,” said Golob. “In order to do that they need to validate their ideas, they need to establish and launch their businesses, they need to test out their products or services.”

Golob said at Humber Launch it can take anywhere between a few weeks to a few months to turn a student’s idea into an opportunity.

He said once a student has done that, they are considered ready to pitch to investors.

“An investor is going to want to see traction. That is the most important thing that they’ll look for,” he said. “Ideas are cheap, there are a million ideas. It’s whether the idea has a business around it.”

Golob said his advice to students planning to pitch would be to draw from their expertise and focus on describing the market as well as the potential their idea could have on the marketplace.

“The investors won’t really care about the idea, they’ll care more about what the potential is in the market to come in and do something,” he said.

Rylea Bayda, an HVAC student, said she doesn’t use Uber but would consider downloading the app to take part in UberPITCH.

“Every so often I get these little ideas that I’m like this could actually make decent money but then by the time I’m like ‘I should tell somebody’ I always forget, so if it was an app maybe it would be a lot easier,” Bayda said.

Bayda said UberPITCH should be implemented daily into the app.

“It would help everybody in the long run,” she said.

Bayda said meeting the investors would be a great experience as well.

Investors include: Tim Jackson, EVP, Mars Discovery District; Victoria Lennox, Co-Founder & CEO, Startup Canada; Joe Mimran, Entrepeneur, Joseph Mimran & Associates INC and founder of Joe Fresh; and Michele Romanow, Dragon on CBC Dragon’s Den.

To use the service, you will have to enter the promo code “PITCHTO” in the promotions section on the app and then can request the PITCH option when looking for a ride. If connected, a car with an investor will come pick you up.

Uber said that demand will be high and to keep try again if a UberPITCH vehicle isn’t available right away.