Fast Pitch Greater Palm Springs – held on April 14 at the Mary Pickford Theater in Cathedral City – was an action-packed, shark-tank-style pitch contest. All in all, six innovators pitched their ideas to our panel of judges. Two winners were named: one in the product/service category and one in the technology category. Both Fast Pitch winners went home with a certificate for agency services valued at $500 from our partners at Hunter|Johnsen: an incredibly valuable prize for a growing company. This year, Riverside County Innovation Month guidelines permit only the technology winner to move forward to the Riverside County Fast Pitch Finale to compete for a $10,000 grand prize. For taking 1st place in the tech category, Bear Simerson, Palm Desert resident and co-founder of, is going to the Finale! I spoke with Simerson to learn more about his experience at Fast Pitch Greater Palm Springs.

What did winning feel like?

I was truly shocked. There were other companies that seemed more established and that had amazing teams. When Joe Wallace announced who won 2nd place was I looked around… and then it sank in that I actually did win. Like I mentioned to you before we have been trying for so long to make people really understand the value and benefit of this platform, and it was so rewarding to have judges of that caliber in business choose our company over others.

Now that you’ve been through this experience, would you do it again?

I can’t say that I wasn’t extremely nervous and even shaking on stage (hopefully no one noticed), but coming out on the other side in first place gave me so much confidence moving forward, I actually think If I were to do it again I would be much less nervous and more focused on how I can better communicate our vision.

How will you prepare for the Finale?

Our goal for the finale is to take all the feedback we receive from the judges and make sure we reflect that in the final presentation. Prior to our first presentation, I had the opportunity to meet with Agustin Aragon from CVEP, which I believe was crucial to us winning first place. Our plan is to continue to use the resources at CVEP to create an even better presentation that we hope will again take first place.

If you win at the Finale, how you might use your prize?

A huge barrier for us to be able to penetrate this industry is putting in the ground work to connect with the stakeholders and decision makers of the organizations. I think we will use the prize funds to invest in our marketing and sales team to be able to create more refined customer profiles so we know who to target and how to target them.

Palm Springs iHub: Setting the stage for success

Kudos also to fast pitch winner, Michael Jones of Qwiktarp, Inc., for taking first place in the product/service category. Qwiktarp is a Palm Springs iHub portfolio company and operates out of the Palm Springs Accelerator Campus. This small but mighty family-owned business is continuously expanding and discovering new customers, all while creating jobs right here in Greater Palm Springs. We expect to see continued smart and measured growth from this company, and there is little doubt that Qwiktarp will soon be a household name in every home or business with a pickup truck!