Applications are closed.
Competition: Nov 12, 2015, 2-6 pm
Bellingham, WA

Awake Labs won the $10,000 cash prize at this fall’s First Look Forum. Read here for details.

WTIA’s First Look Forum is a mashup of Shark Tank and The Voice for entrepreneurs who are serious about raising money for their venture and who have never publicly pitched. The audience of investors are getting a “first look” at these entrepreneurs.

Twice a year (Spring in Seattle and Fall in Bellingham) 10 seed-stage companies who have never engaged with traditional angel and venture capital forums go through an in-depth, three-week coaching program and then compete for a cash prize of $10,000. The networking at the final event, and the connections the finalists build with each other, are even more impactful.

Don’t take our word for it, listen to what some past attendees had to say…

“FLF was our ‘coming out party’ – we had launched our prototype, had customers and revenue and it was the perfect venue to ignite investor conversations. Winning was ideal in that it affirmed us as a startup and gave us a jumping off point for conversations with press and investors.”

“Some of the advisors/mentors that I met at FLF are now integral parts of the company and continue to offer great advice and guidance.”

“First Look Forum was a great opportunity for us to learn and our first big pitching event. The biggest lesson learned was that beyond all the practice, prep and stress there is discovery of our strength and a clear understanding of the personal limitations and boundaries that needed to be broken.”

“The most valuable take-away from the FLF process was my learning to become comfortable with presenting. The feedback I received from my FLF presentation ultimately led to a complete pivot on our business model which is now a 1000 times more compelling than my original plan.”


What is First Look Forum?

First Look Forum is a in-depth coaching program in an accelerated/consolidated timeframe (2.5 weeks). The finalists will receive comprehensive coaching from experienced entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts on all aspects of their business. Get free one-on-one coaching on your business model, executive summary, pitch deck, and your presentation. Learn what VCs and angel investors are looking for. The final “showcase” will occur on November 12 in Bellingham. The finalists, after rounds of coaching, will all get a chance to pitch their companies to an investor-only audience. These entrepreneurs will complete the program and thus have the appropriate tools, skills, experience and preparation to be able to confidently turn around and immediately begin to raise capital.

Who should apply?

Early stage (e.g. seed stage, series A) startup companies that are looking to start raising capital. This competition is only open to companies who have never formally pitched to an angel group or VC firm.*

*please note: pitching to a screening or coaching committee of an angel group or VC and/or meeting with individual investors does NOT disqualify you from eligibility.

When should I apply?

Applications must be submitted by October 16, 2015 at 9PM. The final event will take place on November 12, 2015 from 2PM-6PMAttendance at the final event is restricted to the final presenters and INVESTORS ONLYIf you are an investor and would like to attend, please email Lourdes Tsukada at

May non-profits apply to First Look Forum?


When will I be notified if I'm selected as a finalist?

By Oct. 30.

Is there a cost to apply?


What are the eligibility requirements?

Entrepreneurs from Washington and lower Vancouver, British Columbia are eligible to apply. First Look Forum is limited to those who have never pitched publicly. If you have only talked to individual angel investors and venture capitalists  about your business, you are eligible. If you have pitched publicly to professional investor forum like Zino Society, Keiretsu, Seattle Angel Conference, SVP Fast Pitch, you are not eligible. There is no age limit–high school and college students are eligible to apply too.

If I applied to First Look Forum before and did not make it to First Look Forum finals. Am I still eligible to apply?

Yes, as long as you have still not publicly pitched since.

My idea is a startup food truck. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. Business ideas from any industry are welcome.

Where will the coaching take place?

The coach and entrepreneurs will mutually agree on where to meet. That may be in-person or over the phone.

Can I choose who my coaches will be?

No, the program will assign the coaches.

What does early-stage or seed-stage mean?

You need to have more than a business idea. If you have a product in development or at least one customer, you should apply.

If I’m selected as a finalist, do I need to be present at the Nov. 12 competition in Bellingham?

You will need to have a representative pitch on behalf of your company.

Is the $10,000 prize an equity stake in my business?

No. The money is yours to keep.

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