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McGinnis Venture Competition

We are excited to announce the McGinnis Venture Competition, a platform exclusively for Carnegie Mellon University’s community of student entrepreneurs.

The McGinnis Venture Competition brings together Carnegie Mellon's best and brightest student entrepreneurs to compete for $60K in investments. All participants receive crucial interaction with alumni entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, an opportunity to raise capital and valuable feedback about ventures.

This multi-round competition kicks off in early January, starting with two virtual rounds and culminating in a final live round celebration at Carnegie Mellon University.

Check back for information on the 2019 competition!


2018 Competition

The 2018 McGinnis Venture Competition registration opens on Wednesday, November 1. The Round 1 submission deadline is on Wednesday, Janurary 24, 2018 via Startup Compete. Register by Tuesday, December 5 to be guaranteed to be assigned a coach for the competition; for those who register after December 5, we cannot guarantee that you will be assigned a coach.

The final live round will be held at Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business, GSIA 322/324 on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. Join us to view the live final round teams pitch to a panel of judges.


Congratulations to our 2018 Winners:

Graduate Track

First Place: Zensors is an AI powered visual sensing that runs on existing cameras to create smart offices, shops and restaurants for data driven answers to critical business questions. Team includes Gierad Laput, Anhong Guo, Chris Harrison, Jeffrey Bigham and Anuraag Jain.

Second Place: TalkMeUp is an AI based software company who provides on-demand and personalized communication training at 1/10th of the traditional training costs. Team includes JJ Xu, Leon Du and Grey Yang.

Third Place: Nabla Ascent is bringing Data analytics to high value commercial applications through drones. Team includes Sankalp Arora, Geetesh Dubey and Daniel Maturana.

Undergraduate Track

First Place: EmboQuant is designing a smarter catheter to make embolization, the primary treatment procedure of liver cancer, safer and more effective, improving the standard of care for patients in need. Team includes Julia Luo, Prateek Gowda and Tatiana Gelaf.

Second Place: InvenTower LLC is a physical search engine looking to change the way people shop in retail stores. Team includes Mat Spettel and Jerry Yu.

Meet the 2018 Final Round Teams

Areica (Thubber)

Materials technology startup dedicated to the creation of Thubber, a soft rubber composite that has a metal-like thermal and electrical properties, helping personal electronics stay cooled down.

Team: Navid Kazem and Carmel Majidi

Thubber

Bridgly

Building a network of vetted contractors by helping real estate agents coordinate their relationships with local service professionals.

Team: William Meng and Evan Desantola

Bridgly

Butter

Influencer marketing made quick, simple and smooth.

Team: Connor Fitzgibbon, Katie Williams and Glen Wise

Butter

EmboQuant

Designing a smarter catheter to make embolization, the primary treatment procedure of liver cancer, safer and more effective, improving the standard of care for patients in need.

Team: Julia Luo, Prateek Gowda and Tatiana Gelaf

EmboQuant

Find

There are 14 awesome teams competing today at McGinnis. If you wanted to learn more about them, you could waste time
searching information on Google, LinkedIn, etc. Or you could go to findtech.co, where the work has been done already.

At find, we reuse the 70 billion man-hours a year thrown away by search. Stop searching and start finding.

Team: Nathan Pitzer, Rishabh Varshney, Peter Sheh and Bobby Kania

Find

Heart I/O

Medical technology company using artificial intelligence and machine learning to advance the fields of cardiovascular diagnostics and remote patient monitoring.

Team: Michael Leasure, Adam Butchy, Monica Liu, Utkars Jain and Nick Flanigan

Heart I/O

Hillside Hydro

Portable hydroelectric generator for the outdoors.

Team: Hunter Hartshorne and William White

Hillside Hydro

InvenTower

Physical search engine looking to change the way people shop in retail stores.

Team: Matt Spettel and Jerry Yu

InvenTower

Nabala Ascent

Bringing Data analytics to high value commercial applications through drones.

Team: Sankalp Arora, Geetesh Dubey and Daniel Maturana

Nabla Ascent

Root Health

Intelligent clinical assistant that scales world-class epidemiological care.

Team: Raj Sharma, Eric Ghildyal, Lata C. Thatai, Shalini Chalana, Kevan Dodhia , Dan Justice, BharathKumar Inbasekaran, Rakesh Chatrath, Cara Pizzorusso , Dom DiPasquale and Makenzie O'Connor

Root Health

Simple Wellness

Revolutionizing the medical treatment journey through better access to nutrition.

Team: Chelsie Corbett, Spencer Anderson, Ginny Corbett and Timmy Hall

Simple Wellness

TalkMeUp

AI based software company who provides on-demand and personalized communication training at 1/10th of the traditional training costs.

Team: JJ Xu, Leon Du and Grey Yang

TalkMeUp

Theia Robotics

Helping farmers achieve their highest yields by providing crop monitoring systems that optimize plant health for the entire field by using robotics, computer vision and artificial intelligence.

Team: Timothy Mueller-Sim, Eric Felix, Harjatin Baweja, Tanvir Parhar and George Kantor

Theia Robotics

Zensors

AI powered visual sensing that runs on existing cameras to create smart offices, shops and restaurants for data driven answers to critical business questions.

Team: Gierad Laput, Anhong Guo, Chris Harrison, Jeffrey Bigham and Anuraag Jain

Zensors

Prize Allocation

Graduate Track

First Place

$25,000

Second Place

$15,000

Third Place

$10,000

Undergraduate Track

First Place

$4,000

Second Place

$2,500

Bonus

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

photo of McGinnis winners

*Investments are awarded in the form of a convertible note. The remaining $3,500 will sponsor the CMU Venture Challenge.

Plus Get

Coaching

The competition includes coaches for each team that declares participation in the McGinnis Venture Competition via Startup Compete by Tuesday, December 5, 2017. The Swartz Center staff will match the appropriate team with an appropriate coach. If a team is not registered by Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, 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.

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: 

Important Dates and Deadlines

Wednesday, November 1

Registration opens. 
View competition application requirements: Executive summary [pdf] and video pitch constraints via the Swartz Center website.

Tuesday, December 5

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 December 5, we cannot guarantee that you will be assigned a coach for the competition.

Wednesday, January 24

Round 1 submission deadline at 11:59 p.m. EST.
 Round 1 executive summary [pdf] and video pitch due via Startup Compete.

Thursday, January 25

Round 1 judges can view team’s applications at 5 p.m. EST.

Tuesday, February 6

Round 1 judging ends at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Wednesday, February 7

Teams notified. Round 2 begins at 5 p.m. EST.

Wednesday, February 21

Round 2 submission deadline at 11:59 p.m. EST.
 Round 2 updated executive summary [pdf] and video pitch due.

Thursday, February 22

Round 2 judges can view team’s applications at 5 p.m. EST.

Wednesday, March 7

Round 2 judging ends at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Thursday, March 8

Teams notified. Round 3 Begins at 5 p.m. EST.

Tuesday, March 20

Round 3 Mini-Business Plan [pdf] due at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Wednesday, March 21

Round 3 judges can view team’s applications at 5 p.m. EST.

Tuesday, March 27

Live Final Round will be held at Carnegie Mellon University.

1-5 pm-Final Round Team Presentations
6-7:30 pm-Award Ceremony & Networking Reception

Carnegie Mellon University
Tepper School of Business
GSIA, Rooms 322 and 324
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Visitor parking available at the East Campus Garage

RSVP

Requirements & Guidelines

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 content 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.

**Please note that you will upload your Executive Summary and Video Pitch on Startup Compete.**

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 Startup Compete.

The Executive Summary and Video Pitch must be submitted on Startup Compete.

Round 1 closes on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST on Startup Compete.

*If you need to borrow video equipment to make your video, visit Clusters Multimedia Lending.

**Please note that you will upload your updated Executive Summary and Video Pitch on Startup Compete as you did in Round 1.**

Deliverables: Updated Executive Summary and Video Pitch*

Submit via Startup Compete an updated Executive Summary and Video Pitch (Vimeo). Use the feedback that you received from Round 1 to improve.

Watch an example pitch from Neon Labs.

Round 2 closes on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST on Startup Compete.

*If you need to borrow video equipment to make your video, visit Clusters Multimedia Lending.

**Please note that you will upload your Mini Business Plan/Expanded Version of Executive Summary on Startup Compete 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.

Sample successful mini-business plans from some of our 2013 winners: Lumator [pdf] and Playpower Labs [pdf].

Business plans are due Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST on Startup Compete.

The live presentations are varied based on the graduate and undergraduat tracks.  Graduate tracks are 8 minutes long followed by 7-minute Q&A from the judges, and undergraduate tracks are 6 minutes long followed by 6-minute Q&A from the judges. Time limits are strictly enforced. The live round will be held at Carnegie Mellon University on Tuesday, March 27, 2018.

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.

View our judging guidelines

View our coaching guidelines

Thank You

The McGinnis Venture Competition is made possible by a generous endowment from Gerald E. McGinnis, founder of Respironics.