Read further to learn more about Prateek Rao—the man behind Contestry.
- What is Contestry?
Contestry is a digital contest entry service targeted to contesting enthusiasts aka ‘contesters’; individuals who have made a hobby out of entering and winning the thousands of online contests and sweepstakes that exist on the internet.
My start-up aims to help the estimated 257,000 Canadians who participate in this hobby by sorting through the thousands of contests that are available and providing them with a personalized list of contests they would actually like to enter. Contestry also provides automatic entry services to subscribers who wish to have their preferred contests entered for them so they don’t have to spend countless hours entering these contests on their own.
- Why and when did you create it?
The idea of creating a personalized contest entry service had been spinning around in my mind for more than a year. What really caused the idea to spark into action was an entrepreneurship competition organized by UpStart Innovation Society and the Management and Economics Students’ Association where I pitched the idea to a panel of entrepreneurs and professors and ended up winning.
I didn’t stop there. After the competition, I wrote up a business plan and took the idea to a business consultant at Enterprise Toronto, who then recommended me to Summer Company; a mentorship program for entrepreneurs—that backed me with a $3,000 grant to help get my business off the ground.
Through the process, The Hub has been an invaluable resource. It is where I have been able to meet and exchange ideas with other talented entrepreneurs and innovators. Through its collaborative workshops with MaRS, it has enabled me to analyze and improve my initial business model by applying lean start-up concepts.
- What are your passions and which program are you in?
Aside from my start-up, I work with Nspire Innovation Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to building Canada’s next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs. Contestry has so far been a phenomenal learning experience as being the founder of early-stage start-up means that I have had to wear many hats. I am in the Management Co-op Program.