Will.i.am joins jury for $1M tech startup competition

will.i.am tech judge

Tech entrepreneur and creative innovator will.i.am has been announced as a judge for the Chivas Venture – a global competition that gives away $1 million in no-strings funding every year to the world’s most promising social startups.

The tech entrepreneur and seven-time Grammy Award® winner will join a panel of expert judges at the Chivas Venture Global Final, hosted at Europe’s leading tech festival – TNW Conference – in Amsterdam on 24th May 2018.

An entrepreneur and tech investor himself, will.i.am brings with him significant experience in business and technology to inspire the Chivas Venture startups, and help him decide how the prize fund will be split between the five grand finalists.

will.i.am is the founder of I.AM.PLUS, a business which focuses on Artificial Intelligence for enterprise and smarter consumer products. He is also a philanthropist with a commitment to inspire young people to learn STEAM skills through his i.am angel Foundation. His role as a Coach on ‘The Voice’ UK and Mentor on ‘Planet of the Apps’ will prove invaluable in helping him judge the high-pressure business pitches from this year’s Chivas Venture hopefuls.

will.i.am comments: “I believe there’s an idea in everybody that could change the world for the better, and these inspiring startups are tackling some of the major social issues of our time. World-changing ideas deserve a global platform, so to our next generation of game-changing entrepreneurs I say: bring it on! The jury wants to see your passion and drive on stage at the Chivas Venture Global Final in Amsterdam next month.”

Now in its fourth year, the Chivas Venture has, to date, received over 8,000 applications across six continents from entrepreneurs who are providing creative and viable solutions to an array of important global issues.

Next month, the 27 startup leaders from around the world will go head-to-head in a series of quarter and semi-final pitches for a chance to pitch for a share of Chivas’ $1m fund at the hotly-anticipated Chivas Venture Global Final. The 27 contenders will be whittled down to five grand finalists, who will each have just five minutes to impress the expert judging panel and a 3,000-strong audience of tech addicts, investors, and entrepreneurs.

Until 25th April 2018, the public can show their support for their favourite social startup by casting a vote via the Chivas Venture website at www.chivas.com/en/the-venture/finalists. The public’s votes will determine how the first $200,000 in funding is split among the finalists, before the winners of the remaining $800,000 in funding are decided in Amsterdam.

will.i.am will be joined on the judging panel by: Alexandre Ricard, Chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard – parent company of Chivas Regal, who will be judging the competition for the fourth consecutive year; Sheila Herrling, Senior Fellow at The Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation; and Kresse Wesling MBE, Co-Founder and Director of sustainable luxury brand Elvis & Kresse. The Chivas Venture Global Final will be hosted by BAFTA winning actor, writer, director and television presenter, Richard Ayoade, who will be taking to the TNW Conference stage to present this year’s final five.

Alexandre Ricard, Chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard, comments: “The Chivas Venture is an initiative that is particularly close to my heart as it’s inspired by the founding brothers of Chivas Regal, James and John Chivas, who realised early on that success is much richer when we share it with others. Their spirit is something I witness come to life throughout my entire company every day – and we see that same spirit in our Chivas Venture entrepreneurs, who are all using business to change the world for the better.

“In just three years we have already seen a number of our inspiring social startups grow into successful businesses; overall, in 2017, Chivas Venture enterprises almost tripled their revenue compared to 2015. This year, the calibre of startups is extremely strong, and we have raised the stakes even further: the TNW Conference stage is set and we are ready to see the finalists deliver the pitch of their lives!”

To learn more about the Chivas Venture global finalists, visit their pages at www.chivas.com/en/the-venture/finalists.