Midwest Pitch Party Recap

Janine Sickmeyer
3 min readAug 31, 2021


Our founder-investor event was a success!

Last week, Overlooked Ventures hosted our first-ever Midwest Pitch Party! Founders and investors from all over the country flew in to our home base of Columbus, Ohio to meet, connect, and just have fun.

It was a rainy day in Columbus, but before the event, skies cleared up so we could enjoy ourselves at the Terrace Bar in the city’s Short North Arts District. Founders, investors, and friends spent the evening sipping on beachy cocktails at the tropical and coastal rooftop.

We can confidently say that the Midwest Pitch Party was a huge success. But how do we define success at Overlooked Ventures?

Success to me, as a co-founding and managing partner of Overlooked Venture capital, doesn’t have anything to do with the number of people who came to the event or the amount of press coverage received. While both of those things are great, the whole reason we threw this event is to create a welcoming and inclusive space for founders and investors to network and learn about each other. Another goal was to show investors what they’ve been overlooking in the Midwest — extremely talented and hustling founders! Incredible founders are building amazing startups in mid-America, not just in Silicon Valley.

I decided not to make this party a traditional pitch competition format to remove power dynamics and give everyone a level playing field. The event was all “vibes,” and included no name tags or agendas. And from the feedback we received from attendees, it seems like this was the right move.

Just one example, a Black founder said that he has never felt welcomed at events like this or even invited. In his words, this was the first time he has ever been so included.

But that’s not all — another Black founder said he got an investor to right there on the spot to invest in his startup at the event! And, the next day, I ran into a founder and investor who were introduced at the party meeting at a coffee shop. How exciting is that?

Here’s what other some other guests had to say about the event:

We want to give a special thanks to our friends Elizabeth Yin, Will Allen, and Brandon Bryant at Hustle Fund, Magarac Venture Partners, and Harlem Capital (respectively) and everyone who attended and traveled from far away places to the event. The Midwest Pitch Party represented cities all across the midwest and surrounding areas, including Columbus, Salt Lake City, Denver, Raleigh, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Philly.

Last week’s event was just the first of many inclusive parties the Overlooked Ventures team plans to host for founders and investors. Make sure to follow us on Twitter so you can keep an eye out for our next event, and to see what else the Overlooked Ventures team is up to.