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Sheertex Maker Hoses Startup Competition for $1 Million Grand Prize

Sheertex’s “impossibly strong” pantyhose got judges’ attention at the Startup World Cup Grand Finale event on Sept. 30 at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco.

The event was organized by Pegasus Tech Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based global venture capital firm. An all-female panel of independent venture capital investors judged the pitches of the finalists and awarded the grand prize—a $1 million investment—to Sheertex parent SRTX, a materials science technology company and sustainable textiles manufacturer that won the regional Startup World Cup competition in Toronto.

SRTX, one of Y Combinator’s 2022 Top Companies, develops highly durable fabrics and clothing using new materials and smart production systems to flip the narrative of disposable pantyhose on its head, yielding better textiles while creating less waste. It counts H&M Co:Lab as one of its backers and has raised nearly $90 million to date, according to Crunchbase. Sheertex says it uses a “polymer previously reserved for high-performance applications like ballistics” at commercial scale in apparel for the first time.

“The competition this year was extremely intense, with entrepreneurs from all over the world presenting groundbreaking innovations. We congratulate the SRTX team for their tremendous success at the Startup World Cup 2022 Grand Finale,” said Anis Uzzaman, founder and CEO of Pegasus Tech Ventures and chairman of Startup World Cup. “This year’s competition proved once again that innovation has no boundary. A successful startup can be founded anywhere in the world and still compete at the global level. This sets the right example for startups in every corner of the world. We encourage them to take on the highest challenges without hesitation.”

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Pegasus Tech Ventures is a global venture capital firm with over $2 billion in assets under management. Pegasus offers intellectual and financial capital to emerging technology companies around the world. It also offers a Venture Capital-as-a-Service (VCaaS) model for large global corporations interested in partnering with cutting-edge technology startups.

Startup World Cup is a global series of conferences and competitions that bring together the top startups, investors, entrepreneurs, media and tech CEOs around the world. Starting with thousands of applications for regional competitions in over 70 countries across six continents, hundreds of selected startups compete for the chance to move onto the Grand Finale event in San Francisco to win a $1 million investment grand prize.

Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, left, offers advice on how startup leaders can convince VCs and other potential backers to invest in their businesses in a conversation with Pegasus Ventures partner John Lim.

During the event, “Shark Tank” personality Kevin O’Leary advised entrepreneurs on how to win over potential investors. Startup leaders should start by mastering their ability to “articulate the opportunity” in as little time as possible, preferably less than 90 seconds, he said.

“The whole idea of presenting the opportunity is to define very quickly what is it that you have” that investors won’t want to miss out on, he told Pegasus partner John Lim.

Founders should also know that having a great idea alone isn’t enough to stand out.

“Great ideas are a dime a dozen,” O’Leary said. “What’s really rare are executional skills.” That’s what catches the investor’s ear, he continued, saying he’d rather back someone who’s “felt the sting of failure” and bounces back “highly motivated” to course correct and learn from their missteps.

O’Leary third piece of “killer” advice?

“You have to know your numbers,” he said, urging startup executives to have key intel from margins to competitors “right on the tip of your tongue.”

“That is the glue that binds,” he said.