McGinnis Venture Competition
The McGinnis Venture Competition, a platform exclusively for Carnegie Mellon University's community of student entrepreneurs, 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.
Direct any questions to Allyson Hince.
The 2022 McGinnis Venture Competition registration opens on Monday, November 1, 2021. The Round 1 submission deadline is on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 via our online platform, Pralent. Teams who create a profile, register for the competition and start their submission by Wednesday, December 1, 2021 are guaranteed to be assigned a coach for the competition; for those who register after December 1, 2021, are not guaranteed a coach assignment.
The final round pitches will be held on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.
Need to find a team member?
Congratulations to our 2022 winners!
First Place: NiFTy is a platform for blockchain based games where gamers can access games and buy, sell or trade their in-game assets as NFTs. Team members include Pranjal Chavarkar, Adithiyajothiram L and Kyle Snyder.
Second Place: Advanced Optronics is developing flexible, biocompatible electronic and optical systems to enable smarter, less invasive surgery for a variety of medical applications. Their first product provides real-time feedback to reduce surgical trauma during cochlear implant surgery. Team members include Jay Reddy and Ruth Segall.
Third Place: E-Carebetics is an AI-Powered Diagnostic Solution on Mobile Device for Diabetic Retinopathy. Team members include Bingda Li, Devansh Parikh and Mukunthan Tharmakulasingam.
First Place: Flurry's tagline is never slide on slick roads again. Team members include Miguel Brandao, Jack Winters and Steven Wu.
Second Place: BAM! Bottle is for those everyday moments where you need a little BAM! The team includes Kaitlyn Chow.
Undergraduate track winners are also awarded a place in the CMU Venture Challenge.
*Investments are awarded in the form of a SAFE. The remaining $3,500 will sponsor the CMU Venture Challenge.
The competition includes coaches for each team that declares participation in the McGinnis Venture Competition via our online platform. The Swartz Center staff will match the appropriate team with an appropriate coach. If a team is not registered by the deadline the Swartz Center cannot guarantee that a coach will be assigned.
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
Spark: Startups fail most frequently because of lack of market need. Spark, a forum for entrepreneurs, helps prevent that with early-stage feedback and validation on your next big idea. With Spark, you receive and share feedback on startup ideas and connect with a like-minded community of potential customers, cofounders, mentors and funders to help you shape, pivot and build your startup to success. For more information on Spark, reach out to CMU alumna, Jade Schiffer.
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 2021-22 Dates and Deadlines
Mon, Nov 1, 2021
Registration opens via Pralent.
Application requirements: Executive summary [pdf] and 5-minute video pitch.
Wed, Dec 1, 2021
Create a log in via Pralent, register for the Competition via Pralent and start your application to receive a coach
If you create a log in via Pralent, register for the McGinnis Venture Competition and start your submission to include your team name, team description and team members by December 1 you will be guaranteed to be assigned a coach for the competition; for those who do this after December 1, we cannot guarantee that you will be assigned a coach for the competition.
Wed, Jan 19, 2022
Round 1 Submission Deadline at 11:59 pm EST.
Fri, Jan 21, 2022
Round 1 judges can view team’s applications at 2 pm EST.
Tues, Feb 1, 2022
Round 1 judging ends at 11:59 pm EST.
Thurs, Feb 3, 2022
Teams notified. Round 2 begins at 2 pm EST.
Tues, February 15, 2022
Round 2 submission deadline at 11:59 pm EST.
Thurs, Feb 17, 2022
Round 2 judges can view team’s applications at 2 pm EST.
Tues, March 1, 2022
Round 2 judging ends at 11:59 pm EST.
Thurs, March 3, 2022
Teams notified. Round 3 Begins at 2 pm EST.
Thurs, March 17, 2022
Round 3 judges can view team’s applications at 2 pm EST.
Watch live via webinar at 1pm EST, March 22, 2022!
Tues, March 22, 2022
1:00 - 5:00 p.m. Final Round Team Presentations
5:30 - 7:00 p.m. Award Ceremony & Networking Reception
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship
Carnegie Mellon University
Tepper Quad , 3rd Level
4765 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Visitor parking available at the East Campus Garage
View more information on our Final Live Round Celebration events page.
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.
Requirements & Guidelines: Round 1
**Please note that you will upload your Executive Summary and Video Pitch on our online platform.**
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 link on our online platform.
The Executive Summary and Video Pitch must be submitted on our online platform.
The application submission deadline is Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 11:59 pm EST via our online platform.
*If you need to borrow video equipment to make your video, visit Clusters Multimedia Lending.
Requirements & Guidelines: Round 2
**Please note that you will upload your updated Executive Summary and Video Pitch on our online platform as you did in Round 1.**
Deliverables: Updated Executive Summary and Video Pitch*
Submit via our online platform an updated Executive Summary and Video Pitch. Use the feedback that you received from Round 1 to improve.
The Round 2 submission deadline is Tuesday, February 15, 2022 at 11:59 pm EST via our online platform.
*If you need to borrow video equipment to make your video, visit Clusters Multimedia Lending.
Requirements & Guidelines: Round 3
**Please note that you will upload your Mini Business Plan/Expanded Version of Executive Summary on our online platform 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.
The mini-business plan submission deadline is Tuesday, March 15, 2022 at 11:59 pm EST via our online platform.
The live presentations are varied based on the graduate and undergraduate tracks. Graduate tracks are 7 minutes long followed by 6-minute Q&A from the judges, and undergraduate tracks are 5 minutes long followed by 5-minute Q&A from the judges. Time limits are strictly enforced. The live round will be held on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.
Confidentiality & 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.