Requirements and Guidelines
The McGinnis Venture Competition is a three-round business competition, the first two rounds virtual and the final round live. Submission requirements and guidelines can be found below.
Teams interested in competing should carefully read the eligibility rules, requirements and guidelines and judging criteria fully (below).
Deadline to apply was Monday, January 19, 2015.
Stay tuned for more information regarding the 2016 competition.
The McGinnis Venture Competition is open to all current Carnegie Mellon University undergraduate and graduate students who have created, managed and owned ventures.
A CMU student should be CEO, CTO or COO. Members of the student team should also own a significant majority of the equity allocated to all parties. Non-CMU students may be members of the venture’s management team and may participate; however, current CMU students should deliver the majority of the contact in all of the rounds.
How to determine which track you are competing in:
- If you have all undergraduate students on your team you will be considered in the undergraduate track.
- If you have all graduate students on your team you will be considered in the graduate track.
- If your team is made up of both graduate and undergraduate students you will be considered in the graduate track. You will not be eligible to compete in the undergraduate track.
Note: Undergraduate track winners also are awarded a place in the CMU Venture Challenge
- First Place: $25,000
- Second Place: $15,000
- Third Place: $10,000
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.
Requirements and Guidelines: Round 1
**Please note that you will upload your Executive Summary and Video Pitch on iStart.**
Deliverable: Executive Summary and Video Pitch*
The Executive Summary must be 3-5 pages in length. Please use the Executive Summary/Mini-Business Plan [pdf] for guidance.
A 5-minute Video Pitch targeted to investors is also required. You should pretend you are pitching to real investors and include all pertinent information. Record your Video Pitch and insert a Vimeo link on iStart.
The Executive Summary and Video Pitch must be submitted on iStart.
Round 1 closes on Monday, January 19, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST on iStart.
Requirements and Guidelines: Round 2
**Please note that you will upload your updated Executive Summary and Video Pitch on iStart as you did in Round 1.**
Deliverables: Updated Executive Summary and Video Pitch*
Submit via iStart an updated Executive Summary and Video Pitch (Vimeo). Use the feedback that you received from Round 1 to improve.
Round 2 closes on Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST on iStart.
*If you need to borrow video equipment to make your video, visit Clusters Multimedia Lending.
*Resource: Creating a successful video pitch [pdf]
Requirements and Guidelines: Round 3
**Please note that you will upload your Mini Business Plan/Expanded Version of Executive Summary on iStart as you did in Round 1 and 2.**
Deliverables: Mini Business Plan/Expanded Version of Executive Summary and Live Pitch
We suggest that you use the Executive Summary/Mini-Business Plan [pdf] as guidance when creating your business plan, which should be 5-10 pages. You can add additional information to your business plan.
Business plans are due Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST on iStart.
The live presentations are 8 minutes long followed by 7-minute Q&A from the judges. Time limits are strictly enforced. The live round will be held at Carnegie Mellon University on Thursday, March 26, 2015.
Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Guidelines
The authors of the executive summaries and mini business plans will retain all rights to the executive summaries and mini business plans regarding its use at all times prior to and following the competition except as stated below. Due to the nature of the competition, we will not ask judges, reviewers, staff or the audience to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements for any participant.
All public sessions of the competition, including but not limited to oral presentations and question/answer sessions, are open to the public at large. Any and all of these public sessions may be broadcast to interested persons through media that may include radio, television and the Internet. Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by entrants should be considered information that will likely enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged or presented in these sessions
Carnegie Mellon University may make photocopies, photographs, videotapes and/or audiotapes of the presentations including the business plan and other documents, charts or material prepared for use in presentation at the McGinnis Venture Competition. Students retain all proprietary rights. The university may use the materials in any book or other printed materials and any videotape or other medium that it may produce, provided that any profits earned from the sale of such items is used by the university solely to defray the costs of future competitions. The university has non-exclusive world rights in all languages, and in all media, to use or to publish the materials in any book, other printed materials, videotapes or other medium, and to use the materials in future editions thereof and derivative products.
All executive summaries will be given a score from 1-5; however, this score is merely a guideline for judges. All judges will rank teams as appropriate. We ask judges to keep two questions in mind while reading the questionnaires:
Do you believe this team/company could be viable*?
Do you believe the team has what it takes to move on to subsequent rounds and be competitive?
While we would love to give you set percentages as judging criteria for each section, we don't believe it makes sense. Judging is inherently subjective, and each company should be treated as a whole, not as the sum of its parts.