Sacramento Kings hosting tech contest

Four Sacramento-area technology entrepreneurs will have a chance to score a cash prize and win over fans at an upcoming Sacramento Kings game as part of a pitch competition announced Monday by the team and a Folsom-based venture capital firm.

The team said it is the first NBA franchise to host a crowdsourced local technology startup competition. The team plans on announcing the amount of the prize awarded to the winner of the “Capitalize” contest at a later date.

To win a chance to win over (pitch) the arena crowd, technology startups within 75 miles of Sacramento must first submit an online application before the March 9 deadline. Thirty-two innovators will then be chosen to pitch a panel of experts March 22, including Sacramento native Jack Crawford, general partner of Velocity Venture Capital.

The four finalists will then pitch the Sleep Train Arena crowd on its April 5 “Tech Night.” Fans will vote in real time on Twitter. In addition to the undisclosed cash prize, the winner will get a consultation with Kings executives and lunch with a Kings owner.

“We want to utilize our NBA platform to showcase Sacramento’s talented innovators and thinkers,” Kings President Chris Granger said in a prepared statement.

The contest adds to what is already an improving local landscape for the Sacramento tech sector.

“Capitalize provides a really unique and exciting platform for promising entrepreneurs to gain valuable exposure to the investors, mentors and customers needed to take their companies to the next level,” said Velocity Venture Capital Partner Monique Brown. “Velocity is enthused to support this initiative and to contribute, alongside the Kings, to the promotion and development of the Sacramento region’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Sacramento area entrepreneurs participated in the Sacramento Kings 'Capitalize' contest for chance to win money and exposure. Fans are to vote for the winning business at the April 5 game.