eBay’s Pitch Tank Event Highlighted Innovation and Imagination

By: Sebastian Rupley, eBay News Team

Young entrepreneurs presented their ideas to judges, and some earned interest from investors and cash prizes.

Are you a fan of the hit TV show Shark Tank? With a similar approach toward fostering innovation as seen on the show, eBay recently hosted a Silicon Valley Young Professionals’ “Pitch Tank” event. Pitch Tank gives teams of young entrepreneurs a chance to present their innovation ideas to a panel of distinguished judges. The judge panel included our very own Sergio Gonzales, Head of Innovation Programs at eBay. 

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“Many of the resources and the ways of working we enjoy every day here at eBay can make a profound difference in a young entrepreneur’s life,” said Gonzales. “Sharing our experience and expertise to cultivate the innovator mindset outside eBay strengthens our communities, partnerships, and inspires our customers. Events like Pitch Tank give us an opportunity to introduce people to the eBay brand in ways they may have never considered before. It speaks to our founder Pierre Omidyar’s foundational idea of bringing emerging technologies to people to help create opportunity for them.”

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The Pitch Tank event gives teams chances to win investor partnerships for making their innovation ideas come to fruition, as well as cash prizes. SVYP is a program from the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce, and brings a group of young community and business leaders dedicated to improving our community by connecting and developing young professionals. Young professionals across industries, from banking to technology to food and beverages, meet to share ideas. At the eBay session, we had guests from companies including Cisco, Google, and Tesla.

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There was a diverse set of concepts presented at the Pitch Tank event:

  •  EyeMynd is applying its work with brainwave analytics to VR gaming.
  • Aquapaw simplifies the pet grooming process by helping keep your hands free while grooming.
  • InnaMed presented a medical device for blood diagnostics.
  • TubeZEE is a new educational connector toy system.
  • Super Fan Chase is an interactive brand engagement and analytics app.

We looked at each of these companies through the lens of eBay’s reach and influence in commerce. EyeMynd and InnaMed could give us insights into Machine Learning and AI, while Aquapaw and TubeZee could leverage the eBay Deals platform to help launch their products. Super Fan Chase could create a rich, customer experience for our StubHub and tickets business.

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eBay Innovation Programs chose Super Fan Chase as its award recipient. Founders Alesia Harris and Bridgett Coats received an eBay gift card, three one-on-one consulting sessions from Sergio, and an eBay Innovation Mentor for six months. The eBay Innovation Mentor program is a new pilot that creates opportunities for our eBay inventors to share their expertise and tell others about our innovation narrative.