From Service to Startup:

USAA’S 100th-YEAR
ANNIVERSARY PITCH CONTEST

Powered by Bunker Labs

Making A Difference

In 1922, a group of Army officers unable to obtain auto insurance came together to form the company that is now USAA. To celebrate their 100-year anniversary, USAA is looking for the next generation of entrepreneurs who can carry their founders’ spirit of service-minded innovation forward into the next century. Bunker Labs and USAA are teaming up to award cash prizes and support new, innovative ideas from the military community to help propel their businesses to the next level.

Up to 36 startups will compete in regional pitch contests of 5-6 businesses held throughout 2022, culminating in a finals event in San Antonio in November. The first-place winner from each regional event will be invited to pitch at the finals alongside four wildcard invitations selected from regional pitch competition events!

Making A Difference

In 1922, a group of Army officers unable to obtain auto insurance came together to form the company that is now USAA. To celebrate their 100-year anniversary, we are looking for the next generation of entrepreneurs who can carry USAA’s founders’ spirit of service-minded innovation forward into the next century. Bunker Labs and USAA are teaming up to award cash prizes and support new, innovative ideas from the military community to help propel their businesses to the next level.

APPLICANT ELIGIBILITY

Open to active, retired, and separated veterans with a discharge type of “Honorable” from the U.S. military and their eligible family members. Eligible family members include spouses, widows and widowers, as well as children of active, retired and separated veterans.

Raised less than $5 Million in capital
Can demonstrate traction with some annual revenue (less than $1M in revenue) or an executed pilot. 
Open to all industries except those listed below* with preference given to those technology-enabled companies who could hypothetically work with USAA to serve their members (e.g – financial technology, insurances, cybersecurity etc.).
You must be available to present, in person, for at least one regional event and in compliance with local and venue vaccination/masking requirements. You may indicate which location best suits you. USAA will not pay for transportation or lodging to regional events, but will provide a travel stipend for those competing in the San Antonio finals.
USAA member in good standing (if USAA member)

If in doubt, please apply.

Save Your Spot to Apply

Don’t miss your chance to pitch for the $100,000 grand prize! Sign up to be the first to know when applications open for a competition near you. Sign up for one or two locations, if you aren’t selected for one of the earlier competitions you can try again for a future city when those applications open!

Pitch Competition Schedule

Up to 36 startups will compete in regional pitch contests of 5-6 businesses held throughout 2022, culminating in a finals event in San Antonio in November.

The first-place winner from each regional event will be invited to pitch plus four wildcard invitations will be extended to others that participated in the regional pitch competition events! The current event and application dates are as follows:

DATE

CITY

APPLICATIONS OPEN

February 17, 2022

Los Angeles

December 1, 2021-January 6, 2022

March 24, 2022

Austin

January 28, 2022-February 14,2022

April 21, 2022

Chicago

February 18, 2022-March 7, 2022

May 26, 2022

Washington DC

March 21, 2022-April 4, 2022

July 21, 2022

Seattle

May 23, 2022-June 6, 2022

September 15, 2022

Charlotte

July 18, 2022-August 1, 2022

November 10, 2022

FINALS event in San Antonio

Regional Pitch Events

Five to six applicants per regional location will be selected as participants to pitch at each regional event, and are responsible for their own travel accommodations. Bunker Labs provides each participant two hours of coaching and preparation prior to their regional pitch A panel of judges will award two pitches with cash prizes (detailed below) and the first-place winner is also invited to pitch in San Antonio at the November 2022 finals.

 

  • First $10,000
  • Second $5,000

Regional Pitch Events

Five to six applicants per regional location will be selected as participants to pitch at each regional event, and are responsible for their own travel accommodations. Bunker Labs provides each participant two hours of coaching and preparation prior to their regional pitch A panel of judges will award two pitches with cash prizes (detailed below) and the first-place winner is also invited to pitch in San Antonio at the November 2022 finals.

 

  • First $10,000
  • Second $5,000

Final Pitch Event

Ten Entrepreneurs will be invited to pitch at the finals, with a chance to win one of the cash prizes below. Further, all ten participants will feature in USAA and Bunker Labs storytelling campaigns and receive invitations to Bunker Labs and/or USAA programs to further support their entrepreneurial journey such as Veterans in Residence or a CEOcircle.

  • First $100,000
  • Second $50,000
  • Third $25,000
  • Crowd Favorite $15,000

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Have additional questions? Contact: haley.chapman@bunkerlabs.org

Why are USAA and Bunker Labs hosting this pitch competition?
USAA was founded in 1922 by a group of Army officers who were not able to be insured because they were deemed to be high risk. They founded USAA to help take care of one another’s families and that spirit of innovation and focus on the military community remains today.

In celebration of USAA’s 100th anniversary in June 2022, they have joined with Bunker Labs to host a six-city pitch competition to help identify, support and celebrate up-and-coming veteran and military-related small businesses.

When do pitch competition applications open?
Throughout 2022, there will be six regional pitch competitions. Each competition will have its own application that will open 60 days prior to the event and stay open for two weeks for submissions.
When and where will the pitch competitions take place?
There will be six regional pitch competitions in 2022 that will take place in cities across the country, to include Los Angeles, Austin, Chicago, Washington DC, Seattle, and Charlotte.  There is also a finals event taking place in San Antonio in November 2022 for the winners of the regional events.

Access to the events will be by invitation only.

How will I know if I have been selected to compete?
Applicants will be notified if they are selected to participate in a pitch competition within 2-3 weeks after the applications close. 
Who’s eligible to apply?
See the eligibility requirements above
How will applicants be evaluated?
We are looking for unique businesses that are poised to grow and scale, in markets where there are opportunities to do so, and with teams in place that will allow them to do it. Preference will be given to those companies that complement USAA products and services. Applications will be reviewed and scored by members from USAA and Bunker Labs evaluating disruptive potential, market size, team, traction, and growth or impact potential.
Can I apply to multiple pitch competitions?
Yes. If you were not selected as a participant in the initial location you apply, you may apply to another one. If you were accepted into one already, then we’d like to give others a chance.
The applications to the pitch competition closest to me isn’t open yet, but I don’t want to forget to apply. Is there a way to receive an alert when the applications open?
Yes! Fill out the interest form and we will notify you when the applications open for the location(s) you’re interested in.
It doesn’t look like there is a pitch competition in my city. Will you cover my expenses to attend if I’m accepted?
No. You will be responsible for travel and expenses to attend, if selected. Applicants who win their regional event and are selected to pitch at the final event in San Antonio will receive a travel stipend of $1,500. 
How long will the pitch competition last?
Each competitor will have 5 minutes to pitch with 5 minutes for Q & A from judges.
Do you have any resources available to help me prepare?
Yes. Applicants who are selected to participate will be provided the opportunity to meet with a professional speech/presentation coach for up to two hours.
How much are the prize winnings?
There will be a first prize of $10,000 and second prize of $5,000 in each regional pitch event. The finalists will receive $100,000 for first place, $50,000 for second place, $25,000 for third place and an additional $15,000 for crowd favorite.
Why do you require the demographic information on the application form?
We are always seeking to learn more about the communities we serve in an effort to continuously improve how we serve them. We want to ensure the demographics we serve are as diverse as the military communities we come from. If you are not comfortable sharing this information, you can simply select “prefer not to answer.”
What are policies related to Covid-19 for in person events?
Each event will be conducted in compliance with local Covid-19 safety protocols or requirements. Attendees and participants will be notified of those specific requirements prior to each event.
Do I have to be a USAA member to apply?
No. Participants do not have to be USAA members or have USAA products to apply.
Will selection to participate approve me for USAA loans, insurance or other products?
Being selected to participate does not qualify you for USAA membership, insurance, or other programs

*Companies not eligible include those that primarily engage in animal testing, payday lending, human rights violations, weapons (firearms and direct combat devices), gambling, pornography or other sexually explicit or exploitative business, for-profit prisons, coal, oil, natural gas, GMO, abortions, contraceptives, embryonic stem cell/human cloning, nuclear or the production or sale of alcohol or tobacco, those that manufacture, sell or promote goods/services not legal in the US. 

*USAA employees and their families and Bunker Labs NFP employees and their families are not eligible to participate.