Compete in The World's Largest Startup Pitch Competition for A Chance to Win $200,000 Equity-Free!

Introducing virtual qualifiers to prep early for the $200,000 Supernova Challenge – the ultimate early stage startup showdown!

What is Supernova Challenge 2.0?

The Supernova Challenge 2.0 is the world’s largest early stage startup pitch competition, offering founders the opportunity to take home a cash pool of $200,000 equity-free!

Introducing the Virtual Qualifiers!

Selected exhibiting startups have the chance to pitch directly to investors at the monthly Qualifiers, providing additional exposure and investor introductions prior to Expand North Star. 


Supernova 2.0 Timeline

July 18   →

Virtual Qualifier   

August 19  →

Virtual Qualifier   

September 13  →

Application Deadline   

September 19 →

Virtual Qualifier   

September 27 →

Semi Finalists Announcement   

October 13 & 14  →

Semi Finals 

October 15  →

Finals Pitch Coaching   

October 16 



To participate in the Supernova Challenge pitch competition, you must be an exhibiting startup at Expand North Star. We will notify you once the Supernova Challenge is open for applications for our 2024 edition via email. Once you apply, you will receive emails on if you’ve been selected for the Virtual Qualifiers

To apply, please complete the exhibitor booking form by following the button below. One of our team will be in touch directly to secure your spot for Expand North Star in 2024.


To enter the Supernova Pitch competition, you will need to be one of the exhibiting startups attending Expand North Star, Fintech Surge, Future Blockchain Summit & GITEX Impact at Dubai Harbour. The startups that apply for the competition will then be required to pitch their ideas, with the semi-finalists being announced closer to the time of the event.

1st Place - $100,000 cash prize

2nd Place - $60,000 cash prize

3rd Place - $35,000 cash prize

Special Mentions:

  • Women in Tech Award: $10, 000 cash prize
  • YouthX Award: $9,000 cash prize
  • GITEX Europe Award – travel and booth to GITEX EUROPE 2025*
  • GITEX AFRICA Award – travel and booth to GITEX AFRICA 2025*
  • GITEX ASIA Award – travel and booth to GITEX ASIA 2025*

*Terms and Conditions Apply

The team will be in touch regarding your cash prize and next steps 1 week after Expand North Star.

If you are not shortlisted, there are many opportunities to engage with investors and the wider North Star audience. We will be keeping a waitlist in case of any last-minute changes. Please note that we receive hundreds of applications per category and the shortlisting goes through multiple rounds of review to reach only a final 10 for the semi-finals and 2 for the finals.

  • 150 companies will be selected to pitch in-person as part of the Supernova Semi-Finals on Day 1 and Day 2.
  • 20 companies will move on to pitch in-person as part of the Supernova Finals which will take place on Day 4.

There will be no sector categories in the upcoming edition as part of Supernova 2.0. The selection committee will score and shortlist startups based on a variety of metrics including sector representation (see Scoring Metrics for additional information)

Starting in July, startups will be shortlisted every month to participate in a virtual pitch event called The Qualifiers. This will give your startup the opportunity to connect with investors who will participate as judges in the Qualifier rounds; receive feedback regarding your pitch early on; and additional exposure to attendees in the ecosystem.

If you are unable to participate or do not get selected for the Qualifiers, you will still be considered for the Supernova Challenge. All applications will be scored by a panel of judges after the application deadline, ensuring that every startup is reviewed before final shortlisting is made for the Semi-Finalists.

As part of the competition, the 20 Finalists will undergo rigorous Pitch Coaching sessions aimed at refining their presentations. Held in a closed-door setting, the coaching session runs from 9 AM to 12 PM, where each finalist delivers a 2-minute pitch followed by feedback on style and presentation slides from a designated Pitch Coach. Startups can then work on refining their pitch decks and come back at 3PM to pitch and submit their final deck one last time before the finals.

The deadline to submit on the Exhibitor Portal for Expand North Star 2024 is September 13th

Here is a good reference for you:

Your Pitch Video must be ONLY 60 Seconds or it will not be considered. Your Pitch Video must be in English and have a clear shot of your upper body (sitting or standing). Please submit your video by either a YouTube or a Vimeo URL.

Check out Paul Graham’s advice on story telling when pitching:

"Your goal, and your only goal, is to make investors feel it's not safe to cross you off. And there is a verb for convincing someone that something is not safe. It sounds dramatic, but your goal is to frighten them. But what frightens them? The possibility that you might become really big. They know there are maybe a few companies that will become really big….Before you start meeting investors, put together a rough draft of your fundraising vertebrae. These are the 3-4 points that compromise the narrative of why your company will be really big. Together, if investors believed in any of these points, they’d be afraid not to bet on you. As you do, keep in mind that there is an important distinction between what the business is and how you tell the story of what your business is. Your conversations with investors should influence the latter, not the former. No investor knows your business as well as you do.”

The announcements of the shortlisted startups for the semi-finals will be announced on the 27th of September.

The general judging criteria is broken down to main areas. Please keep these in mind as you design your pitch deck, pitch video, and semi-finals, finals pitches!

  • Idea: How innovative is this idea?
  • Market Opportunity: Market Size, Competition, Scalability
  • Business Model: Revenue Model, Pricing, Target Customers
  • Traction: Any revenue, customers, investors?
  • Team: Is a skilled team in place for the startup’s success?

No, there will be a new selection process each year. You will have to apply to be considered again. Similarly, if you are shortlisted for the finals after pitching in the semi-finals but you miss the pitch, you will be replaced with the next runner-up.