The X-Port Challenge is an annual event organized by the United Parcel Service of America (UPS). This Shark-Tank pitch-off event is focused on the support and promotion of small businesses and start-ups. The UPS X-PORT Challenge is a promotion to attract small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs to learn more about UPS’s international capabilities. The program began with a few districts in 2015 and was adopted by most of the 17 US districts in 2016. To participate, businesses can apply to earn an opportunity to pitch their solutions/products and win up to $10,000 in export shipping credits from UPS.

In the UPS X-Port Challenge 2017 that took place on October 26, 2017, several regional businesses competed for the final pitching. Eight of them were selected by the judging panel and admitted to the Pitch-Off.

The contest setup involves the completion of two judging rounds, one of which determined the finalists for the Pitch-Off and the second one selected the winners. Due to the fact that UPS didn’t have an online platform for judging, a range of
challenges emerged along the way:

  1. Paper Forms.
    The in-house format of the contest judging brought many inconveniences to the previous years of the UPS X-Port Challenge. One of them was the use of paper forms to score the submissions. Therefore, in 2017 the organizers started looking for a digital alternative that would allow the reduction of waste.
  2. Tallying delays.
    Since the scores had to be tallied manually, it often caused delays in announcing the winners, as well as taking too much time and effort.
  3. Lack of flexibility.
    Without the ability to streamline the processes, judges couldn’t revisit submissions as often as they wanted to, which hinderd the quality of the assessment and caused time-inefficiency.

In 2017, the coordinators of the UPS X-Port Challenge set the goal to enhance the effectiveness of the judging by switching to an online mode of evaluating the pitching. Addressing the key challenges would reduce both time and resource waste, as well as simplify the judging processes.

With the support of the Judgify team, the UPS X-Port Challenge 2017 implemented our whole range of solutions that contributed to the automation the of judging:

    There was much time spent on the activity of judging the first round in the previous years of X-Port Challenge. In fact, the process of initial in-house evaluation and scoring sometimes took up to 48 hours. With the use of Judgify software, the organizers managed to close the pre-judging round just in 1 hour after the start. Judgify not only helped UPS reduce the time for judging, but also sped up the time spent on travel. In previous years judges had to gather in one place for the assessment. This time, we gave them the opportunity to easily score the applicants from home.
    One of the key goals that the UPS X-Port Challenge 2017 targeted was increasing the volume of incoming submissions. Thanks to the streamlining of the judging processes that Judgify enabled, all the restrictions in terms of the number of applications that could be processed were destroyed.
    The initial round of judging required scoring 15 applications in 5 areas on a scale of 1 to 10. With the automated scoring from Judgify, judges didn’t have to use any manual tallying. Eight winners were identified immediately by the software.

There were no regrets about choosing Judgify as the platform for automated judging on the side of the UPS X-Port Challenge 2017 organizers. This end-to-end solution was the right fit for the program and helped reach the principal objectives of the pitching event. Here are the key achievements of Judgify in X-Port Challenge judging setup:

  • Imported 14 applications to reduce the time spent on pre-pitch judging from 2 days to 1 hour.
  • Established a cost-efficient process of winner selection through online scoring.
  • Eliminated the system of manual score tallying, as well as the use of paper forms and emails.
  • Helped judges process applications in the most convenient and flexible way with the option to access the platform anytime, anywhere.
  • Streamlined the process of judging which attracted more applicants and made the results as transparent as possible.
  • Helped establish an effective pitching showcase for the C-Level Directors who represent the target audience for the event.
  • Increased customer satisfaction with the rates of winner announcements and streamlining experiences.

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