Forward Thinker Award 2021

3 years
52 pitches
12 winners
$130,000 in cash awards
And ONE global pandemic later...
Our annual Forward Thinker Award is BACK
This time virtually and with even higher stakes

Take a look at CES 2020, where we had a blast doing what we always do: handing out big checks to promising tech startups while having a ton of fun with tech investors and founders alike. Can’t wait to do it again.


What's at stake

  • $30K in cash
  • $18K in HubSpot marketing resources
  • $10K in AWS credits
  • $10K in Trend Micro cybersecurity software



Thank you to these amazing sponsors, who are as passionate about helping founders along their journey as we are.

AWS logo
TM logo
HubSpot for Startups

Event date: 3/10/21 @ 10:30 AM PST

The details

What type of startups are you looking for?

We love tech startups that have:

  • The grit to make the world smarter and more connected
  • Passionate, energetic, and collaborative founders
  • The courage to make mistakes and the wisdom to ask for help
  • A weird obsession with data

Is this event free to attend?

Who can attend?
The event is open to anyone.

Is it free to submit my application?

What should I include in the video?
The pitch deck gives us a peek into your company. The 60-sec video gives us insight into who you are. So be creative.

When is the application deadline?
Applications will be open until 11:59 PM PT on February 14, 2021

When will I know if I’ve been selected to pitch?
Finalists will be notified by February 22, 2021.

How will submissions be selected for the four finalists?
The quality of startups will be evaluated by the Trend Forward Capital team.

How will a winner be selected?
By a panel of judges. Previous judges included investors from Microsoft, Propel Venture Partners, 500 Startups, OMERS, BlackBerry, HAX, BDC, and Taiwan Tech Arena.

How many total startups will be invited to pitch at the virtual event?
A total of 4 startups will be invited to pitch on March 10, 2021

How much cash will the winning startups be awarded?
$20,000 for first place and $10,000 for second place, no strings attached.

Will there be other prizes?

Thanks to a generous sponsorship through the AWS Joint Innovation Center program, each of the 4 finalists will also be eligible to apply for up to $10,000 in AWS credits. Terms and Conditions apply. Each of the finalists will also receive up to $10,000 in Trend Micro cybersecurity software and will be automatically entered into the HubSpot for Startups pogram, receiving a 90% discount on any HubSpot products during the first year as customers. The average yearly savings are equivalent to $18,000 USD.

Will the winning startups need to give up anything to accept the cash prize (e.g. shares, equity, loan interest, etc)?
Nope, no strings attached. A pretty sweet deal, right? So what are you waiting for?

Interested in joining our roster?