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.
Check back for more information on the 2022 McGinnis Venture Competition.
The 2021 McGinnis Venture Competition registration opened on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. The Round 1 submission deadline was on Thursday, January 21, 2021 via our online platform. Teams who started their submission by Friday, December 4, 2020 were guaranteed to be assigned a coach for the competition; for those who registered after December 4, 2020, were not guaranteed a coach assignment.
The final round pitches were held on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 fromn 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m via virtual webinar.
View our final round celebration page.
Need to find a team member?
Congratulations to our 2021 Winners
First Place: Mach9 Robotics is a remote sensing startup creating Google Maps for subsurface utilities. Team members include Alexander Baikovitz and Joshua Spisak.
View Mach9 Robotics' final round pitch
Second Place: Clean Sea Robotics will transform the modern shipping industry by offering an on-demand, disruption free, robotic hull cleaning and inspection service to ship owners and operators. Team members include Daniel Vedova, Stefan Zhu and Evan Myers.
Third Place: Savor Robotics is making multipurpose robots to bring freedom and flexibility to food production. Team members include Connor Colombo and Emily Ellis.
Second Place: The Student Community's goal is to help colleges and corporations create a community where their students and new hires, respectively, feel professionally and personally supported during and after the pandemic. Team members include Snehita Sana, Nina Zanarelli and Sarayu Namineni.
View The Student Community's final round pitch
Thank you to our 2020 sponsors
The McGinnis Venture Competition is made possible by a generous endowment from Gerald E. McGinnis, founder of Respironics.
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
TalkMeUp: Every McGinnis team will gain access TalkMeUp. TalkMeUp is a smart communication coaching system designed for you and your team. You can practice anywhere, anytime on various professional use cases, such as job interview, presentation, pitching, sales, customer success and more. Simply speaking into your camera, you will get instant feedback on your delivery and content.
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 20120-21 Dates and Deadlines
Tues, Nov 10, 2020
Registration opens via Pralent.
Application requirements: Executive summary [pdf] and 5-minute video pitch.
Fri, Dec 4, 2020
Start your submission to receive a coach .
If you start your submission via Pralent and include your team name, team description and team members by December 4 you will be guaranteed to be assigned a coach for the rest of the competition; for those who do this after December 4, we cannot guarantee that you will be assigned a coach for the competition
Thurs, January 21, 2021
Round 1 Submission Deadline at 11:59 pm EST.
Fri, January 22, 2021
Round 1 judges can view team’s applications at 4 pm EST.
Tues, February 2, 2021
Round 1 judging ends at 11:59 pm EST.
Wed, February 3, 2021
Teams notified. Round 2 begins at 5 pm EST.
Wed, February 17, 2021
Round 2 submission deadline at 11:59 pm EST.
Thurs, February 18, 2021
Round 2 judges can view team’s applications at 5 pm EST.
Tues, March 2, 2021
Round 2 judging ends at 11:59 pm EST.
Wed, March 3, 2021
Teams notified. Round 3 Begins at 5 pm EST.
Wed, March 17, 2021
Round 3 judges can view team’s applications at 5 pm EST.
Tues, March 23, 2021
Live Final Round
View the final round teams and schedule.
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 Thursday, January 21, 2021 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.
Watch an example pitch from Neon Labs.
The Round 2 submission deadline is Wednesday, February 17, 2021 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 16, 2021 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 23, 2021.
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.