Pitch & Re-Play

The MERLIN Pitch & rePlay is back

Musical chairs for entrepreneurs … but the music doesn’t stop and no one is cut out of the process.  MERLIN Mentors is again hosting the MERLIN Pitch & rePlay on Zoom Thursday August 12, 2021 2:00 – 4:00pm. 

This session gives entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to fine tune their pitch in a non-competitive environment to a few interested listeners. They get immediate feedback on their idea from a small but eager audience. All this is repeated five times to different small groups where entrepreneurs  get to make corrections perfecting their pitch and their presentation style all while gaining helpful feedback and meeting others who can help. Those who pitch range from individuals who have been thinking over an idea, to CEOs of companies preparing to go into the investor arena for funding.

In prior years as a live event in a room buzzing with conversations, the Pitch & rePlay has proven to be an extremely successful event. Several now well known startups on the Madison Scene have used this forum for their initial pitch to the startup community.  For 2021, with special thanks to 5 Lakes Institute for Zoom support this virtual Pitch & rePlay will be similar to that used successfully in the g-Beta’s  Mentor Swarms.

The intent of the Pitch and re-Play is a departure from the typical pitch event.  The structure of most pitch events is a ‘one-shot up and out’ experience for the entrepreneur where feedback is limited to a few questions at the end (if that). All presenters are winners here as each presenter gets to pitch five times in succession to five different small groups of interested listeners.  This enables participants to perfect their pitch making changes on the fly and testing ideas on ways to better convey their stories.  The exposure to five different audiences provides small group dynamics and facilitates receiving helpful feedback on each pitch.  Also entrepreneurs potentially make new connections with people who can help.

Guidance for those who want to Pitch

Due to the limitations of the virtual setting only five entrepreneurs will be pitching. Application deadline is  July 31, 2021.  Although having an existing entity (for profit or not for profit) is not a requirement, those who apply should have thought through the problem they are addressing, their solution, how they intend to build a sustainable business and how their skills and experience rise to the task of executing the project

Specifically a good pitch should cover:

  • who you are
  • what problem you are solving
  • who you target as customers
  • why your solution will interest them enough to buy and
  • how you will build a sustainable business around your vision.

The format is simple. Following welcome remarks, all attendees will be moved to rooms of 5-8 attendees each. the number of rooms =  the number of entrepreneurs pitching.  Each entrepreneur will be assigned to a ‘room’ to meet his/her initial audience. Each entrepreneur gets 15  minutes in the room, 5 minutes to pitch, and the rest to answer questions and receive feedback.  Entrepreneurs will receive a 1 minute warning  prior to rotating to the next room. Entrepreneurs should be able to deliver 5 pitches to 5 very different diverse and helpful audiences.  This is a very active participatory event.  Through the Zoom software screen sharing option entrepreneurs may elect to use a slide deck should they chose.

For questions contact Chief Pitch Wrangler, Dennis Barnum


Applications to pitch are open.  Please complete the form below.  Applicants selected to present will be notified by July 31.

Your Name (required)

Your Title (required)

Company Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Phone (required)

Your Website

Company Summary (250 word maximum)

Logo (1mb maximum, gif, png, jpg, jpeg)



For background, learn more about the companies that pitched last Fall at the Pitch & rePlay held as part of Startup Milwaukee Week2020

2 Ft. Design Data, LLC (2Ft.Data),  Rebecca Holderness, CEO and Professor, UWM

https://2ftdesigndata.com ( not launched)

Company Summary

2Ft.D is a web application that lowers the barrier to entry for real estate investment and development. By guiding users through the complicated processes of parcels, zoning, permits, architecture/design, and financing, 2Ft.D makes real estate investment and development possible for the layman. Americans views on long term investments continue to favor real estate over alternatives, so 2Ft.D plans to captures this interest and ensure new-to-the-space investors have the tools they need to successfully invest in and develop real estate without prior industry experience. Our tool is designed to encourage the broader and more diverse market that is interested in real estate development and investment, to follow-through and actually enter the real estate market.

Like an old-school wizard, 2Ft.D guides the user through a complicated process by focusing on key steps and decisions along the way. Leveraging parcel data for historical, permitting and zoning information, users are able to make informed decisions about where to invest. Using MLS data and neighborhood comparisons 2Ft.D assists users in deciding what they will build and the financial feasibility of said investments. With a financially viable investment plan, our users are able to continue into the physical world of purchasing the parcel, applying for permits, and working with contractors to begin construction.

Throughout this process, 2Ft.D offers premium features and services to the user. Some examples might be access to additional site-selection data filters, templates for communicating with the city, architects or investors, and assistance in searching for government backed incentives and programs. Additionally, 2Ft.D has created a marketplace by helping connect investors to vetted projects for their capital.

Working over two years, (NSF I-corps, LEC UWM), Idea Advance Stage 1) with over 100 customer interviews, demo MVE and WTP we tested a rough demo and are currently completing .a tech visualization process led by Daniel Litvak of Collective Edge.




Cazza, Lenoria Addison, CEO/founder

Company Summary

Cazza is a new clean beauty hair care brand. We have set out to reimagine styling products, both their functional and emotional potential for beauty consumers. We see hairstyling products a makeup for your hair, something to create and explore with.



Clean Beam,  S. McConnell, CFO/Operations

Company Summary
Clean Beam designs, manufacturers, sells and supports sanitization systems for food, nutraceutical and healthcare facilities which utilize the power of pulsed ultra-violet light (PUV) to eliminate harmful pathogens from the things we put in, on or expose our bodies to, thereby keeping us healthier. Our first of many market-defining products, the patented Clean Beam Footwear Sanitizer, provides many of the largest food processing and nutraceuticals organizations with what Safety, Quality & Supply Chain executives value highly: cleaner and closer to bacteria & virus-free floors, made possible by sustainable, environmentally-friendly technology. We finalized our first commercial ready product in late 2019 and received our first market-validating purchase orders in the 2nd half of 2020. Our sales pipeline is growing as food processing and nutraceuticals companies are seeking “dry, non-chemicals based” methods to eliminate listeria, salmonella, E.coli and other harmful pathogens from their production floors and products. Recently, the Covid-19 pandemic has bolstered our product’s solid market positioning, as our PUV-powered technology also kills the coronavirus which has been proven to travel on Human Footwear in just 4.5 seconds. We seek approximately $1.5M in investment capital to allow us to recruit a Sales team, implement our Marketing plan and provide the working capital we need to activate our supply chain in support of demand. For the right investing partner, we are providing an attractive valuation, Board seat access and substantial strategic input opportunities (management team buildout, etc.). Clean Beam is headquartered in Necedah, Wisconsin, with a sales office in St. Charles, Illinois.


Naturally Smart Travel, Leilani Ruth Yats, Founder

Company Summary

Naturally Smart Travel is specialty hosted travel company that aims to remove borders between neighbors to showcase the ever-emerging, global ecosystem of social entrepreneurship by increasing access to capital and capacity building in the developing world.

Increased Global Awareness
The world of social enterprise is emerging at a rapid pace. Each month we’ll highlight an overarching topic relative to varying aspects of social enterprise. Each week of the month we highlight a thought leader or initiative creating solutions for the topic with social media promotion and feature on our podcast, Naturally Smart People. Our goal is to create a diverse, shared collection of resources that detail social enterprises, inspiring hope and action for a sustainable future.

Curated Impact Tours
Naturally Smart Travel also hosts personalized tours to connect impact investors directly with social enterprises in Guatemala for a hands-on, culturally immersive experience through a country rich with natural beauty, Mayan history, and endless potential. These specially curated tours aim to inform through experiential learning and build opportunities for thriving social enterprises in the following sectors:
– Agriculture and Food
– Construction and Homes
– Education
– Health and Wellbeing
– Natural and Renewable Resources
– Technology
– Textiles and Trade

Connecting Leading Institutions
What’s more, we work with leading institutions to reimagine access to capital, opportunity for capacity building, and mentorship. We do this by nurturing relationships with local micro-finance and educational institutions that work directly with social enterprises and entrepreneurs. We also connect leading capacity building programs from the US with exceptional Guatemalan organizations to further develop the international ecosystem.




Hydra Immersive,  Anupam Das, CEO


Company Summary
The world of architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) relies on printed blue-prints as the primary form of communication. Yet in the office, highly detailed “digital-twin” 3D models are created that contain a vast amount of spatial information that blueprints cannot capture. Due to the size and complexity of 3D data, it is not easy to share this information with project teams and clients without requiring specialized hardware and fast internet access.
Hydra allows 3D models to be viewable alongside 2D blueprints anywhere, on any device (Desktop, Web, Mobile) and makes it as fast and easy to share content as an image. Our unique approach enables users to securely publish extremely large production grade models in seconds to the cloud and view them at smooth interactive frame-rates with beautiful rendering quality without requiring expensive high-end workstations. We believe people understand better in 3D. Having access to 3D models anywhere enables project teams, owners and construction personnel to get on the same page faster, make fewer mistakes, and save money. Hydra provides a solution to a trillion-dollar industry that lacks fast easy access to 3D information. Hydra brings the world of 3D to the palm of your hands.

The Virtual Pitch & rePlay is Back August 12, 2021 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Registration for attendees is open  – Act now

As this is a virtual event there is no registration fee but space is limited.  Pitches take place in ‘rooms’ to optimize exchange and discussion only possible in a small group setting.


As August 12 approaches…

We will send all attendees the Zoom link to access the event.

Applications to pitch are open now

Complete the application form on this page to the left


Follow us on Twitter for updates, announcements, and “LIVE” event tweets!