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Partender startup wins GAIN 2013 Fast Pitch competition

Nikhil Kundra
Nikhil Kundra, founder and CEO of Partender, pitches his company to judges. He was the winner of the "GAIN 2013 Fast Pitch" competition.

After an intense nine rounds of pitching his company to CEOs, Nikhil Kundra, founder of Partender, won the fourth annual “GAIN 2013 Fast Pitch” competition Thursday night.

The Gainesville Area Innovation Network hosted the event at the Hampton Inn, 101 SE First Ave.

“Partender is a business-to-business software as a service solution that reduces the time it takes bar managers and owners to do inventory from a frustrating five to six hours to 15 minutes or less,” Kundra said.

He will receive $3,000 in legal fees from Gainesville startup lawyer John Montague and a spot in the Florida Venture Forum Early Stage Conference.

Dressed in Tampa Bay Rays attire, Lee May, executive director of GAIN, began the baseball-themed event with a blow of a whistle. Participants had two minutes to pitch their ideas and then three minutes to get feedback from every set of “catchers” or judges at the nine tables.

“The pitch you start out with will be a whole different pitch then what you started off with,” May said.

The judges asked questions such as “What’s your market size?” and “What separates you from similar businesses?”

Kundra said the amount of information they wanted in two minutes was stressful and a little unrealistic, but he said he understood why they were doing it.

“It gets you thinking,” he said.

May gave participants a chance to loosen up after each few rounds and asked trivia questions, awarding prizes such as a Babe Ruth commemorative baseball and a “Trouble With the Curve” DVD.

As time ticked down, hands flailed about as participants scrambled to fine-tune their pitch.

“Drop your pens! No more pitching,” May shouted.

The game was over nearly two hours later at the end of the ninth round or “inning.”

Kundra held the bat, passed off from last year’s winner, Study Edge Co-founder Richard Melgarejo. It was decorated with signatures from all the previous winners.

“Winning was awesome,” Kundra said. “But the ability to practice pitching and meet new people was a refresher.”

As a judge and former pitcher, Melgarejo empathized with Kundra.

“The biggest thing pitchers are going to get from this is feedback. A score is a score. You don’t really improve from that.”

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