Pando wins the $25,000 prize at the WeMedia Pitch It! Challenge (includes video)

Earlier in April, Pando Projects won the $25,000 prize at the WeMedia Pitch It! Challenge in NYC.  Below is me, accepting a massive check that later served as an umbrella, as we walked home in the rain.

Trying not to fall over from excitement

About 170 people submitted ideas for businesses.  8 finalists were selected to give our 8 minute pitches before 150 people and a panel of judges.  It was one of the coolest experiences of my life.   As a former high school drama geek, I relish in the opportunity to stand up before an audience and tell my story.

I was able to connect with some amazing people, including:

  • Craig Newark, the founder of CraigsList.  We talked about squirrels (he loves them; I hate them.)  We also talked about CraigConnects.  He claims that I sound like Sarah Jessica Parker when I speak into a microphone.
  • Charlie O’Donnell, a Principal at First Round Capital.   He advised me to take a few months and do in-depth market research to understand the web product we’re creating.  He’s also ridiculously nice and made me less scared of venture capitalists.
  • Esther Dyson, an Angel Investor who invested in Flickr and MeetUp.  She hooked me up to speak at New York Tech MeetUp last week.  I crave more time with her, but she seems very busy.
  • Steve Rosenbaum, author of “Curation Nation.”  He strongly recommended that I set Pando up as a for-profit business, and offered to introduce me to investors if I do.  He has a really great mind (and an office that looks like a leggo set.)

Here is a video of me, after the win!


About Milena Arciszewski

I'm the Founder of PandoProjects, which empowers people to step up as leaders and develop innovative, local solutions to the problems in their communities. You can reach me at or follow me on twitter: @pandoprojects.
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