The Pitch

Five finalists were selected to pitch before a panel of esteemed judges.

Pitches described the following:

What does your company do?
What problem does it solve?
What’s the business model?
Who is your target market?
Why is your team best suited to solve this problem?

Pitches are 5 minutes + 3 minutes Q&A with judges.

Congratulations to our 2018 pitch competition winners!

1st place - SiteZeus, empowering businesses to harness machine learning to help select the best sites to open new stores.

2nd place - Unocula, detecting guns in real-time security camera feeds and immediately notifying authorities.

3rd place - Altris.AI, devoloping an ophthalmology deep learning platform for retinal disease detection on OCT scans at early, asymptomatic stages.

The Judges

Jason Salavon, The University of Chicago

Logan LaHive, Techstars Chicago

Michael Sachaj,
Hyde Park Angels

Charlie Connor, Heretik

Cayse Llorens,
Invest Detroit Ventures
Chicago Machine Learning VC Summit Founder

Scott Meadow,
Chicago Booth

Jason Salavon (Presenter) is an Associate Professor at The Uniersity of Chicago where he uses software processes of his own design to generate and reconfigures masses of communal material in an effort to present new perspectives on the familiar. His work has been shown in museums and galleries around the world. Reviews of his exhibitions have been included in such publications as Artforum, Art in America, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Examples of his artwork are included in numerous prominent public and private collections. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Art, and faculty in the Computation Institute, at the University of Chicago. He was also employed for numerous years as an artist and programmer in the video game industry.

Logan LaHive (Host) is a Managing Partner at Techstars Chicago and the founder of Belly, a digital loyalty platform backed by Andreessen Horowitz, NEA, Lightbank, Cisco, and 7-Eleven. The company was recognized as winner of Chicago Innovation Award in 2013 (and Up-And-Comer Award in 2012), three Moxie Awards (UX, Best B2B Startup, and Startup of the Year), Best Places to Work (Chicago Tribune and National Best & Brightest), and StreetFight Local Innovation Award in 2016.
Michael Sachaj (Judge) is the Principal at Hyde Park Angels (HPA), where he leads HPA’s investment opportunities through sourcing deals, conducting due-diligence, supporting portfolio company follow-on rounds, and managing investment data. HPA is the most active early-stage investor in the Midwest which transforms early-stage investing by taking a people-first approach. HPA helps entrepreneurs build incredible companies by leveraging HPA members’ market expertise, industry knowledge, and powerful network, which is comprised of successful entrepreneurs, top business executives and some of the best venture capitalists from across the country.
Charlie Connor (Judge) is the CEO and Co-founder of Heretik and winner of 2017’s MLVC Pitch Competition. Heretik is a Chicago based software company that uses machine learning to make the contract review process smarter, helping attorneys identify risks, obligations, and opportunities in contracts. The solution turns massive and disparate troves of digital documentation into insightful, valuable knowledge attorneys can use. As a CEO with more than a decade of experience in enterprise SaaS, Charlie believes that any challenge can be solved through the right mix of people and technology.
Cayse Llorens (Judge) is a Senior Associate at Invest Detroit Ventures and the founder and managing director of the Chicago Machine Learning Venture Capital Summit. At Invest Detroit, Cayse supports portfolio companies and identifies new investment opportunities among Michigan technology startup entrepreneurs across an array of industries.
Scott Meadow (Judge) is a private equity professional and faculty member of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business where he is a Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship. For nearly thirty years, Professor Meadow has been a principal investor in the venture capital and private equity industry. He started his Career at William Blair and Company where he became a Partner in 1983. He has been a General Partner at William Blair Venture Partners, Frontenac Company, the Sprout Group and is an Associate Partner at Edgewater Growth Capital Partners and founder of Maroon Partners, a consultancy enterprise focused on advising entrepreneurial and private equity endeavors and providing expert witness support in commercial disputes.

The Competition

For select startups who have completed their Machine Learning related MVP, there will be an opportunity to deliver a pitch at the 2018 Machine Learning Venture Capital Summit. Entrepreneurs will have a chance to demo or discuss their idea to a sold out crowd of entrepreneurs and MBAs seeking to join a team, VCs seeking great early stage startups, software developers, and prospective customers.

The Pitch

Three Finalists will be selected to pitch before a panel of esteemed judges. Your pitch should describe the following:

• What does your company do?

• What problem does it solve?

• What’s the business model?

• Who is your target market?

• Why is your team best suited to solve this problem?

Pitches are 5 minutes + 3 minutes Q&A with Judges

The Prizes

Sit Down with Hyde Park Venture Partners (1st Place Winner)

Hyde Park Venture Partners is an early stage venture capital firm focused on high-growth technology startups in the Midwest. With offices in Chicago and Indianapolis – and a network of advisors throughout the region – Hyde Park Venture Partners invest in proven startups who have incredible founding teams and fast growth.

Mentorship Appointment with Ian Drury, General Partner of OCA Ventures (1st Place Winner)

Ian is a General Partner at OCA Ventures. He has 25+ years experience as a business operator and entrepreneur with a background in technology in the financial services, data services, insurance, communications and retail industries. Read Ian’s full bio here.

3 TechNexus Clubhouse Keys for 3 months (1st and 2nd Place Winners)

Uniquely aligning relationships in the innovation ecosystem, TechNexus Venture Collaborative finds, funds and grows technology ventures as a force multiplier for entrepreneurs and enterprises. Through accelerating commercial activity for startups and engaging enterprises earlier in the development process, TechNexus catalyzes growth.

How can I apply to pitch at this event?

Submit your pitch deck by midnight March 25, 2018. Finalists will be announced by April 2nd.

Your deck should be a Microsoft Powerpoint or PDF document, and should be the equivalent length of a 5 minute presentation. You may also opt to submit a link (publicly available, or password protected if you provide the credentials) to a video of you pitching. Do not spend too much time on staging and video quality, as long as you are clearly visible and can be understood. You may also submit any financials, if applicable and desired.

All materials should be submitted to with “Chicago Machine Learning Venture Capital Summit – Pitch Application” (wmailto:jddavis@chicagobooth.eduithout the quotes) as the subject line. Be sure to use this exact subject line and submit all the materials as described or your application will be rejected. Please also make sure you can commit to the date and time of the summit.

There is no fee to apply, but you must buy a ticket to the event if you are chosen as a finalist.

Eligibility and Team Size

Your company should have an MVP that is complete and be seeking seed or series A funding. The product should be technology based on machine learning. Up to 3 people may present at the pitch. You will have the ability to present a Powerpoint deck during your pitch.

For inquiries, updates, or sponsorship requests: please contact Joshua Davis at