Sacramento Kings Launch Seventh Annual Capitalize Crowdsource Startup Contest

Today, the Sacramento Kings announced the return of the seventh annual Capitalize, the league’s first crowdsourced startup contest, which offers local entrepreneurs a chance to gain publicity, receive mentorship and secure funding for their business. In addition, Capitalize extends the Kings commitment to providing opportunities for up-and-coming innovators, providing the platform to showcase new products and services on the NBA’s global stage. This year, the contest will be presented by Dialpad, the world’s most advanced business communications company, 3STEPS4WARD, a full-service marketing consultancy group and Sacramento Urban Technology Lab, a “living laboratory” for entrepreneurs, advanced technology businesses, and academic institutions to test, develop, and scale their ideas, products, and services.

“Each year we have seen tremendous participation in Capitalize and we are excited to see what innovative ideas and business models the seventh year of the competition will bring,” said Sacramento Kings Present of Business Operations John Rinehart. “Through this contest, talented entrepreneurs in our region are given the space to showcase their talents and receive valuable resources to grow their companies.”

Applications for this year’s contest are open now and close on Friday, February 25 at 11:59 p.m. Startups located within 75 miles of Sacramento are eligible to apply. On April 3, as the Kings take on the Golden State Warriors during Tech Night, the winner will be announced and awarded a $10,000 cash prize towards the development of their startup, 3 years of access to Dialpad communication services and six months of free marketing services from 3STEPS4WARD. In addition, a prize of $3,000 and $1,500 will be awarded to the second place and third place companies, respectively.

“The Capitalize contest further embodies the mission of our partnership with the Kings, to deeply invest in the Sacramento community and support groups that are committed to closing the digital divide and removing barriers,” said Dialpad Co-Founder and CEO Craig Walker. “Everyone at Dialpad is excited to witness the innovation brought to Capitalize by small businesses, and we are honored to be co-presenting this event.”

“Our entire team is honored to be a part of this groundbreaking contest once again,” said 3STEPS4WARD Founder and CEO Douglas Younger III. “Capitalize is crucial to further expansion for small businesses and entrepreneurs. We encourage all those eligible to enter, and we look forward to assisting in crowning the 2022 Capitalize grand prize winner.”

Applicants will be narrowed down to the “Sweet 16” on Monday, February 28. The Kings will then host a Pitch Workshop from Thursday, March 3 to Friday, March 4 to select the “Elite 8.” The Elite 8 will be announced on Saturday, March 5 and will receive additional coaching as they prepare for Capitalize Pitch Day on Monday, March 21. At Pitch Day, a panel of successful entrepreneurs, executives and investors will judge the eight semifinalists’ pitches and select the “Final Four” to move on to the Capitalize Finals.

The judging panel will consist of local business professionals, executives and entrepreneurs, including: 

  • John Rinehart, President of Business Operations, Sacramento Kings
  • Craig Walker, Founder and CEO, Dialpad
  • Maritza Davis, Vice President of Experiences and Social Responsibility, Sacramento Kings
  • Doug Younger III, Founder and CEO, 3STEPS4WARD
  • Kenny Sadler, Founder and Managing Partner, Berkeley Strategy Advisors

The four finalists will create pitch videos that will be displayed on Kings.com/Capitalize and will be used for fan voting via Twitter. Fans will have the opportunity cast a vote by tweeting support for their favorite company starting on March 22 until halftime of the Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors game on April 3. The judges’ votes, along with fan votes, will be tallied and the Capitalize grand prize winner will be announced during the game.

Last year, Credder, the world’s largest news review platform, aggregating credibility reviews on articles, was crowned the winner of the 2021 Capitalize contest.

“Winning Capitalize 2021 was a game-changer for our business,” says Credder Co-Founder and CEO Chase Palmieri. “Just being part of the competition was valuable, but winning unlocked a flood of new investors, partnership opportunities, national press attention, and other resources that have been propelling Credder forward ever since. I can’t wait to see what innovative companies get discovered in this year's competition!”

The Kings are proud to highlight the ever-growing technology and innovation community within the Sacramento region. Since the inaugural launch of Capitalize in 2016, hundreds of applicants from around the area have submitted their business ideas to be considered in this contest, with many expressing how valuable the contest has been for the growth of their emerging businesses.

For more information and details on how to enter, visit Kings.com/Capitalize