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Europe's largest startup competition, PITCH, gets even bigger

Europe's largest international startup competition, PITCH, will be bigger than ever this year, with 200 startups competing for the title.

The news was announced by the Web summit conference, held annually in Dublin, where it was also confirmed that the competition will be benefiting from a new sponsorship deal with the Coca-Cola Company for 2014.

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The fledgling businesses will have to impress several high profile judges, including well-known entrepreneurs, investors and journalist during the three-day event. Previous PITCH judges have included the founder of Box, Aaron Levie, Shakil Khan of Spotify and Kevin Rose of Google Ventures.

The competition is one of Europe's most prestigious awards, with the 2012 winner, SmartThings, being bought by Samsung for $200 million last week. SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson said that winning the prize had helped his firm gain widespread attention.

"It's probably one of the best attended conferences in terms of depth of the audience and there's so many hot connections you can make," he said.

Last year, start-ups form over 90 countries submitted applications to the event, where businesses compete for a $100,000 prize. Two winning teams will also be flown to the Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia for strategy lessons and other resources.

Chief technical and innovation officer at Coca-Cola, Guy Wollaert, said that the firm is keen to help new businesses thrive.

"We're already active in the global startup community through a number of business platforms but we're always seeking new ways to continue to push the boundaries and stay at the edge of innovation. The Summit and its PITCH competition is the best place to be in this space, and we're excited to be a part of this year's event," he said.

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The Web Summit PITCH event will begin in Dublin on 4 November until 6 November.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.