Competitors-Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship - Carnegie Mellon University


The McGinnis Venture Competition is a three-round business competition, the first two rounds are virtual and the final round is live. Submission requirements and guidelines can be found below. Teams that advance to the final round should use all feedback from previous rounds to their competitive advantage.

Why Compete?

Grand Prizes

Teams compete for the chance to win investments worth a total of $60K.*

Prize Allocation:

Graduate Track

  • First Place: $25,000
  • Second Place: $15,000
  • Third Place: $10,000

Undergraduate Track
Undergraduate track winners also are awarded a place in the CMU Venture Challenge

  • First Place: $4,000
  • Second Place: $2,500

The remaining $3,500 will sponsor the CMU Venture Challenge.

*Investments are awarded in the form of a convertible note.

Help Along the Way

CONNECTS events are held throughout the year to help teams prepare.

Here are a few video resources that we suggest to help with your video pitch: 


The competition includes coaches for each team that declares participation in the McGinnis Venture Competition via Startup Compete by Monday, November 28, 2016. The Swartz Center staff will match the appropriate team with an appropriate coach. If a team is not registered by Monday, November 28, 2016, the Swartz Center cannot guarantee that a coach will be assigned for the competition.

Networking Opportunities

Meet and interact with peers who are also passionate about entrepreneurship, and gain access to Carnegie Mellon’s amazing entrepreneurial alumni network. Teams from all rounds enjoy access to exclusive networking events.


Teams interested in competing should carefully read the eligibility rules, requirements and guidelines and judging criteria (below).

Registration opens Tuesday, November 1, 2016 via Startup Compete.

Eligibility Details

Track Details

Requirements and Guidelines: Round 1

Requirements and Guidelines: Round 2

Requirements and Guidelines: Round 3

Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Guidelines

Judging Guidelines

Coaching Guidelines

CIE Calendar

2017 Important Dates & Deadlines

Tues, Nov 1: Registration Opens. 
View competition application requirements: Executive summary [pdf] and video pitch constraints via the Swartz Center website

Mon, Nov 28: Declaration of Intent to Compete Due; If you register via Startup Compete by this date you will be guaranteed to be assigned a coach for the rest of the competition; for those who register after November 28, we cannot guarantee that you will be assigned a coach for the competition

Thurs, Jan 19: Round 1 Submission Deadline at 11:59 PM EST.
Round 1 executive summary [pdf] and video pitch due

Fri, Jan 20: Round 1 judges can view team’s applications at 5:00 pm EST

Tues, Jan 31: Round 1 judging ends at 11:59 PM EST

Wed, Feb 1: Teams Notified; Round 2 begins at 5:00 PM EST

Sun, Feb 19: Round 2 Submission Deadline at 11:59 PM EST.
Round 2 updated executive summary [pdf] and video pitch due

Mon, Feb 20: Round 2 judges can view team’s applications at 5:00 PM EST

Wed, March 1: Round 2 judging ends at 11:59 PM EST

Thurs, March 2: Teams Notified; Round 3 Begins at 5:00 PM EST

Tues, March 14: Round 3 Mini-Business Plan [pdf] Due at 11:59 PM EST

Wed, March 15: Round 3 judges can view team’s applications at 5:00 PM EST

Tues, March 21: Live Final Round will be held at Carnegie Mellon University, Gates Hillman Center

Wed, March 22: Judges have until 5:00 PM EST to complete Startup Compete feedback