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A Look Inside the 3686 Venue and Startup Showdown Pitch Competition

We are just over four short weeks away from kicking off 3686 in-person for the first time in over two years! As we continue our countdown to the event, taking place September 27-29 in Nashville, take a look into the venue where all of your connections will be made and where our $120,000 pitch competition will be hosted.

Marathon Music Works

Originally built in the early 1900s, Marathon Music Works features modern amenities within a historic space that is rich with character and charm. A staple to Nashville’s bustling music industry, the venue was fashioned inside a former automobile factory known as Marathon Motor Works and adapted to accommodate a range of unique entertainment uses for Music City.

The setting is now known as historic Marathon Village, a creative community striving to preserve historic structures surrounding downtown Nashville while providing a setting for coffee shops, retail vendors, a museum, and more to thrive while reflecting the culture of the city.

Startup Showdown: $120,000 Pitch Competition

Thanks to a new partnership with venture capital firm Panoramic Ventures, the festival will feature Tennessee’s first Startup Showdown, a pitch competition investing $120,000 into the winning startup. Startup Showdown is a unique opportunity for early-stage startups to present to well-known investors and innovators in the tech ecosystem as they look to take their company to the next level.

All finalists will pitch to guest investor judges while simultaneously building long-lasting connections in the innovation ecosystem. This is the competition to be a part of, showcasing the next frontier of innovation and the most promising talent of the day.

Guest Judges:

  • Chris Sloan, Chair, Emerging Companies Team at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC⁠
  • Derrick Morgan, Managing Partner at KNGDM Group and former Tennesee Titans Linebacker⁠
  • Marlon Nichols, Co-Founder and Managing General Partner at MaC Venture Capital⁠
  • Paul Judge, Managing Partner at Panoramic Ventures⁠
  • Samara Hernandez, Founding Partner at Chingona Ventures⁠

How It Works: 

  • 25 semi-finalists are selected by Startup Showdown from hundreds of applications and attend a mentor day to further refine their pitches.
  • After attending the mentor day, five finalists are selected to pitch to a panel of judges with $2B+ of portfolio exits.
  • At the event, the five finalists compete for a $120,000 investment (in exchange for 7% equity in your company) and showdown bragging rights in front of a live audience.

Applications are still open to pitch at this year’s 3686. Learn more and apply here by Tuesday, September 6.

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