CU Pitch will Put the Best of the Best in the Spotlight Oct. 15 at MAXX Trade Show


Picture this: You have a cutting-edge new product that you’ve spent years formulating and perfecting, and now you’re ready to present it to the world. The stage is set. You know your product is the best business solution for credit unions.

You get the chance to show it at one of the most prestigious credit union gatherings in the country.

There you stand, before a panel of judges to make your pitch, which must be brief and on point. The judges ask hard questions about your solution. How it will benefit credit unions and their members? Why is yours the best? They expect you to defend your product with data – and prove the results.

No, this isn’t an episode of “Shark Tank,” although it sounds like one. It’s Strategic Link’s CU Pitch, a new event that will take place during the MAXX 2019 Trade Show Welcome Reception on Oct. 15.

Judges will join Trade Show attendees to pick the best solution, with the winner presenting their product on the MAXX main stage the next day. The event format follows the popular show – over one hour in length, but with some MAXX twists:

  • Five partner companies
  • Five judges (The majority representing Northwest credit unions)
  • Five-minute speed pitches
  • Three minutes for judges’ questions
  • All the products are great, but only one will claim the title of “Best Credit Union Solution”

Strategic Link Value Creation Task Force Committee Chair and EVP Chief Operations Officer of East Idaho Credit Union, Cindy High, will be on that panel of judges.

“This is an extension of the Value Creation Task Force, so we’re really looking for innovation that will improve our member services,” said High.

Both High and Strategic Resources Vice President, Jason Smith, believe that CU Pitch will offer credit unions with important information about business solutions that they can begin implementing right away.

“Without giving away any surprises – and there are sure to be a few – we know that the audience will really enjoy the presentations,” said Smith.

Here’s a Sneak Peek at What’s to Come at CU Pitch


Ashish Garg believes in the convenience of modern communication and that credit unions can offer their members a much better customer experience through mobile devices via text messaging. Eltropy’s success stories include reducing one credit union members’ phone wait times by 500%. When he begins his pitch, Garg puts five questions to the crowd, and says, “By the end of the fifth question, I usually have the audience’s attention.”

Illuma Labs

Frustrating their members isn’t something that credit unions want to do. Yet, in the age of fraud and increased security measures, it can happen when they have to answer a myriad of authorization questions. Illuma Labs is in the business of changing that, knowing that no two voices are exactly alike and that members appreciate the personal touch that credit unions provide, such as conducting business over the phone. Illuma Lab’s Milind Borkar will present voice authentication that eliminates intrusive security questions. Borkar believes his solution will have the judges nodding in approval.


High tech solutions are great, especially when combined with a great member experience and reduced member acquisition costs. Nikhil Lakhanpal understands the concerns that credit unions face when opening new accounts and plans to address those concerns at CU Pitch. Reduce abandonment rate? Check. Improve identity verification? Check. Optimize user experience? Check. During his presentation, Lakhanpal says the judges will see a well-executed product that addresses one of the most critical needs of credit unions today: to grow membership and increase deposits.


Imagine extraordinary member experiences, along with reduced risk, enhanced compliance, as well as a new, organic revenue stream for credit unions. According to DoubleCheck’s Joel Schwartz, it’s not a dream – it’s reality and it’s called CU.NOW. It’s not just another overdraft product – this business solution allows credit unions to give non-sufficient funds decisions back to members in real time, creating benefits for both the credit unions and the members. As Schwartz says, “We let credit unions have the members’ backs and become the hero for saving the day.”

Digital Onboarding

For Ted Brown, it’s all about member engagement from the beginning. Recent data shows that if a credit union member isn’t actively engaging with the accounts and services they’ve signed up for when they opened their account, chances are, they’re relying on a different financial institution for their banking needs. Brown believes that his pitch to digitally onboard new members will impress judges, who are already all too aware of the pressing need to increase member engagement through products that provide convenience.

May the best business solution win!

CU Pitch Contest will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 15, from 5:15-6:15 p.m., during the Welcome Reception at the CU Pitch Lounge in the Trade Show Hall. CU Pitch Contest is sponsored by Platinum Sponsor, CU Direct and Gold Sponsor, OnDot. Don’t miss out – there’s still time to register for MAXX. If you have questions about the Value Creation Task Force, feel free to contact VP, Strategic Resources, Jason Smith –

Posted in GoWest Solutions, MAXX Annual Convention.