The city of Denver is jumping into the popular "pitch nights" that have taken off across the entrepreneurial scene in the past decade. But this pitch night has a new twist.

The city's Office of Economic Development is hosting its version of the pitch night -- dubbed the "Race to the Raise" competition -- for early-stage companies in Denver. The grand prize is $25,000; the two runners-up will each get $15,000.

But the city stepped up the game for those who make it to the winners' circle. The winning company and the two runners-up will have six months to see who can be the first to raise an additional $500,000 in equity or convertible debt. If it can be done, the city will kick in another $75,000.

“There is no shortage of early-stage firms that are doing great things in Denver,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. “We’re committed to doing all we can as a city to spotlight these firms, foster additional growth and investment, and propel our culture of innovation to an even higher level.”

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