Destination Innovation 2015 - FAQs

What is Destination Innovation?

Destination Innovation is the premier event highlighting the vibrant technology community in our region! Now in its fourth year, the event features an innovation competition, exhibition, networking and industry speakers. The program is presented by NVTC's Technology Innovations Committee, in partnership with Capital Business.

How can I participate in Destination Innovation?

  • Complete an application for your company to participate in the innovation competition. (Deadline is February 13, 2015 - Closed)
  • Register to attend the April 29, 2015 event.
  • Vote in the online competition. Details will be available in mid-March 2015.
  • Become a sponsor of the program.

Why should my company participate in the Destination Innovation competition?

  • Companies receive great visibility as participants in the program. The selected companies are profiled on the Capital Business website for the online voting portion of the competition. The total number of online votes for the 2014 program surpassed 75,000.
  • Companies that continue to the in person portion of the event will have the opportunity to interact with potential partners, customers, etc. through both their pitches and the exhibit floor.
  • Companies receive promotion through all of NVTC's marketing channels.
  • The competition winners will be recognized in a post-event press release, social media and on the NVTC website. Winners also will receive a Destination Innovation Winner logo that they can use on their website or other marketing materials.
To read testimonials from previous participants, click here.

How many rounds are there in the competition and what do they consist of?

After the February 13, 2015 application deadline, a selection committee will choose up to 32 companies to participate in the program. These 32 companies will be separated into categories for the purpose of voting/judging.

Round 1 - Companies will compete for online votes on the Capital Business website. Capital Business will post the submitted videos of the selected 32 and a brief description of the company and their technology. There will be four weeks of voting and up to eight companies will be competing each week. The four companies who receive the most votes each week will then exhibit and compete during the Destination Innovation event on April 29, 2015 at The Washington Post headquarters.

Round 2 - Four companies from each category will give a two minute pitch about their innovative technology, including why it is disruptive and how it solves a real-world problem. Companies may not include video or slides during their two minute pitches. After all four companies in a category have presented, event attendees will vote via text message for their favorite company from that category. Each attendee has only one vote per category. The two companies from each category that receive the most audience votes will advance to the final round.

Round 3 - The final round is a head-to-head competition between the remaining two companies in each category. A panel of experts will ask questions of the two companies, who will each have one minute per question to respond. Each head-to-head session will last a total of 10 minutes. The winner in each category will then be decided by the expert panel and announced during the closing reception of the April 29, 2015 event.

What should company video submissions include?

The video submissions are necessary for the online voting portion of the competition. NVTC will accept a wide variety of video types including a person talking into the camera, a slide presentation with audio included, a visual of the innovative technology in use, or a professionally produced video. The video must be no longer than 60-90 seconds and in .mov, .mp4 or .m4v format.

Content guidelines:

  • Clearly discuss your company's innovative technology, how it is disruptive and how it solves a real world problem.
  • Convey how your company is innovating technology and why it is important from a user perspective.
  • Use people, animation and other action-oriented elements to make you video engaging.
  • Any statistics on the impact of the innovation to productivity, corporate financial performance, or general public impact adds meaningful perspective.
  • Information about organizations or investors, board oversight, etc., of your company is not necessary for this video.

Click here for last year's video submissions.

When will online voting take place?

Online voting will take place on the Capital Business website starting on March 16. The online competition will be spread across four weeks, with only one category up for vote each week.

We encourage all companies to promote their participation in the competition far and wide through social media, customer outreach, press releases, etc. NVTC staff will provide companies in each category the direct link to the page where voting will take place before voting opens each week. NVTC also will be promoting the competition through our own avenues.

When will we be notified if we are participating in the April 29, 2015 event?

The Monday following each voting week, NVTC staff will notify all companies in that category of the voting results.

If we are voted into the April 29, 2015 event, what do we need to prepare?

The four companies with the most votes at the end of each category's online voting will receive an exhibit table at the April 29, 2015 event to showcase their technologies and network with attendees. Each company that is voted into the event will receive one complimentary ticket for the program. Additional representatives of presenting companies may register online here.

Companies participating in the April 29, 2015 event should prepare their two minute pitch for Round 2 of the competition and be ready to answer questions from the panel of judges, should they advance to Round 3.

The NVTC Technology Innovations Committee will schedule feedback sessions for all of the companies selected to advance to the April 29, 2015 event. This date will be announced shortly and all companies are encouraged to participate.

What else should I know about Destination Innovation?

The in person portion of the program brings together more than 200 members of the technology community. Previous keynote speakers have included Carly Fiorina, former HP CEO; Michael Chasen, SocialRadar President & CEO and former Blackboard President & CEO; Gary Shapiro, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President & CEO; Dan Yates, Opower Founder & CEO; and Magid Abraham, comScore Chairman & Co-Founder.


As a little bootstrapped startup that could, LynxFit showed up to NVTC's Destination Innovation without any swag giveaways, banners or placards, just an innovative approach to fitness. We were completely blown away from all the exposure we got after being selected as one of the most innovative companies in the region. This exposure is still paying dividends today. If you want to be inspired by other startups near you like I was, I definitely recommend this event. - Noble Ackerson, LynxFit, 2014 participant

Being a presenter at last year's Destination Innovation was worth every ounce of time and money spent. As a new tablet publishing platform on the market, we were thirsty for exposure and inspiration from fellow innovators in the area. It was exciting to immerse ourselves with other trailblazers and see where others were finding success. - Erin Pfiffner, BetterPress, 2013 participant

Getting recognized as the most innovative startup company in the region by NVTC's Destination Innovation gave Light Point Security credibility and attracted the attention of customers and press. It was a wonderful experience from beginning to end, and I would highly recommend it to any tech company in the region. - Zuly Gonzalez, Light Point Security, 2013 participant

Being recognized as the 2014 Destination Innovation most innovative startup (Security category) provided Key Cybersecurity, Inc. with outstanding credibility and attracted investors, strategic partners and customers. The press alone regarding our CyberMerlin solution continues to benefit the company. I cannot stress how important this event can be for any startup considering participating. We are very grateful to NVTC for the opportunity to have presented. - Shawn R. Key, Key Cybersecurity Inc., 2014 participant

Any tech community, where a lot of different companies are actively innovating, has a great deal of noise associated with these efforts, with everyone trying to get the word out of what they're achieving. Getting heard above all that noise can be what enables a product to make a real impact-and Destination Innovation helped LMI rise above that noise and be heard. It was the right forum for us, where multiple rounds of vetting allowed exposure to new audiences, brought welcome scrutiny as to the value of our work, and in the end, lent credibility to our OpenPolicy tool for having run this gauntlet and emerging victorious. - Matt Daigle, LMI, 2014 participant