Start-Up Competition 2018

NOW April 20th, 2018!
The Blackstone LaunchPad at UAlbany is pleased to announce this year’s Innovation Competition. Winners will receive prize money for their startup business. Last year over 60 student teams entered from many different majors. The pitches generated a lot of excitement and interest from the university, community, businesses, judges, etc. Participating students learned a great deal from how to make a pitch in minutes to handling a Shark Tank environment with questioning judges. The counsel and coaching through the whole process is invaluable.

This year we are looking again for venture/startup ideas, products or services. This is an opportunity to pitch your venture idea and win prizes to support your startup. Students from all University disciplines/departments are invited to participate, and any student may submit a proposal under any area. The proposals can include these categorized by the following Domain Specific Areas:

Information Technology/Software

Social Entrepreneurship/ Non-Profit

Advanced Technology

Products/ Services


Information Technology/Software

Any idea, technology, product, and/or service that relates to apps, informational technology, software, and/or internet applications in for profit enterprises.  If the value that your idea or technology provided lies in the creation of or is delivered through an app, then you belong in this category.

  • Examples: An app that helps pairs potential roommates, a website/app that uses social media to collect payments from friends, a web service designed to tailor resumes for specific jobs, a file sharing service, an app or website that aggregates data and reviews about solar panel installers.

Social Entrepreneurship/Non-Profit

Any idea, product, and/or service that addresses a social need, for which profit is not the primary motivation, or provides a product/service for nonprofits. If formed, the venture would be either a Benefit corporation or be eligible for 501(c) status.

  • Examples: Selling a good or service that raises awareness and donates significant portion of the revenues to a cause, organization that provides financial literacy training, cooperative non-profit coffee shop, bike trail, a website to connect community members with volunteer opportunities.

Advanced Technology
Any idea, technology, product, and/or service that relates to materials science, life science, advanced hardware, semiconductors, optics, and/or electronics applications that are not applicable to Clean technology. These products and processes have been likely developed after years of laboratory research and have patent protection.

  • Examples: High-performance skis coated with nanomaterial, vibration detector, new method for testing pharmaceuticals, physical therapy massager.

Products/Services

Product: Any physical, tangible goods offered for sale.

  • Examples: Custom designer eyewear, vending machine, protein shakes, craft beer or alcoholic beverages, innovative water bottle, locally sourced tea, camera backpack.

Services: A value add process for delivering products of fulfilling customer needs.

  • Examples: Lice removal company, meal delivery, custom clothing design, custom song writing service.

Each team will have 10 minutes to pitch, which will be followed by 5 minutes of Q&A with the panel of judges. Judges are advised to act as they would in a closed-door boardroom investment presentation during the Q&A session.

COMPETITON
The Blackstone LaunchPad at UAlbany Innovation Competition consists of two stages: Domain Specific Pitch and Final Pitch.  At the first stage teams will compete within an Academic Area as defined in the chart above. For the Final Pitch, the top winning teams from the Domain Specific will compete against each other.

HOW TO ENTER
The following are the key dates for this Competition: UPDATED TIMING & STRUCTURE

  • Apply! Application deadline is April 10th, 2018
    • Fill out the following Google Form

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdv2iCXqQmpEnxzZ3g9y6SzsAmTYTMMmuvM8WUX2pNgJu8eMg/viewform

Selections will be made April 13th, 2017.

  • Email draft Business Plan Pitch Presentation by April 18th, 2017:
    • Selected entries must email their draft Business Plan Presentation (PowerPoint) including the following example components to LaunchPad@albany.edu :
    • See Business Plan Sections & Questions to Consider below. Business Plan Pitch should include (but it is your decision) Company Information/Organization, Problem Statement, Products/Services, Target Market, Competitors, Marketing/Advertising/Sales Channel Plan, Financial Plan (spreadsheet should be embedded in PowerPoint document).
  • Innovation Competition is April 20th, 2018, Round 1 starts at 9 AM:
    • The first round pitch will be a ten-minute pitch to judges comprised of entrepreneurs and venture managers with a five-minute question period. Awards will be made that day.
    • Slide deck must be submitted to LaunchPad@albany.edu no later than April 18th, 2017 in pdf format.
  • April 20th, 2017 University-wide Final Pitch is at 12 PM:
    • This Final Pitch will consist of the winners from the above Domain Specific Pitches. It also will be the 10- minute pitch to a panel of judges comprised of entrepreneurs and venture managers with a five-minute question period. Awards will be made that day.
    • Slide deck must be submitted no later than April 18th, 2018 in pdf format.

PRIZES
Winners will receive prize money and services for their startup business expenses. These will be awarded at both competition stages. A total of $20,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded.

WHY COMPETE
This is a great way to learn about becoming an entrepreneur and receiving free assistance. The Competitions are an opportunity to pitch your startup to industry experts. It will be fun and educational. There are prizes for all participants! If you have a startup or an idea for a business, this is your opportunity. You should enter if you:

Have an idea for a new venture, product or service

Have an idea that you are passionate about

Are able to articulate the idea in an Executive Summary

Need help developing the idea or business model plan

Have a business plan

Are willing to work with a mentor/coach

Can work on a team

Receive immediate feedback from Pitch Judges

APPLICATION
Fill out the following Google Form

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdv2iCXqQmpEnxzZ3g9y6SzsAmTYTMMmuvM8WUX2pNgJu8eMg/viewform

RULES
Any student can apply from any academic area. The Blackstone LaunchPad at UAlbany Innovation Competition reserves the right to withhold prize money and/or in-kind services from winning teams who do not comply with the eligibility requirements. Prize money is for the entered venture’s business expenses. In order to be eligible to apply for and participate in the competition, all teams must meet the following criteria

  • Teams must consist of currently enrolled University at Albany undergraduate or graduate students. Students will be registered in Blackstone LaunchPad
  • Students may not participate on more than one team.
  • Student entrepreneur teams are required. Single students should talk with a Blackstone LaunchPad at UAlbany staff for guidance on creating a team.
  • Student entrepreneurs must meet with Blackstone LaunchPad at UAlbany staff prior to submitting their Business Plan.
  • A Blackstone LaunchPad at UAlbany mentor will coach for each team, offering guidance, support, and technical expertise.
  • Cumulative public and private capital raised may not exceed $100,000.
  • Full studentship ownership of venture must be 100%, but does not have to be incorporated or registered.

 

WHAT TO SUBMIT AND WHEN
Below are the key Competition dates. Please remember to back up your work.

  • By April 10th, 2017: Fill out the following Google Form

 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdv2iCXqQmpEnxzZ3g9y6SzsAmTYTMMmuvM8WUX2pNgJu8eMg/viewform

  • By April 18th, 2017: Selected entries must email their Business Plan Presentation, including the most of following components:
    • See template requirements for Value Proposition, Company Information/Organization, Products/Services, Target market, Competitors, Marketing/Advertising/Sales Channel Plan, Financial Pan (spreadsheet).
    • Final slide deck must be submitted to LaunchPad@albany.edu in pdf format.
  • April 20th, 2018 the Domain Specific Pitch (first half of day)
  • April 20th, 2018 Final Round Pitch
    • Slide deck must be submitted no later than April 18th, 2017 (Same slide deck as Domain Specific).

The individual/team will decide under which Domain Specific Area their Executive Summary will be submitted. For example, an art student may have an idea for an art related service or product that requires technology, education or another discipline’s tool or skill. Students are invited to attend the Business Plan Development Series offered Blackstone LaunchPad UAlbany during the semester. Mentoring and other support will be available to help students create their business plans. Students will have a chance to refine their business plans between the two stages of competition.

JUDGING CRITERIA
Judging will be based initially on the Executive Summary, the Business Model Canvass and the Business Plan. The Pitches will be evaluated by the judges. Judging criteria include:
(1.) Completion of the items submitted;
(2.) Clarity of the Executive Summary in presenting the idea for a product or service;
(3.) Completeness of the Business Model Canvass and Quality of Business Plan content, format, fiscal and revenue plans, marketing plan including: innovativeness of plan, feasibility of getting product to market, evidence of customer demand for product and likelihood of attracting investors; and
(4.) Pitch, a clear, concise, effective overview of the venture, product or service, and the ability to succinctly respond to judges’ inquiries and give substantive answers.

For any questions, please reach out to:
Blackstone LaunchPad at University at Albany Staff
Email: LaunchPad@Albany.edu.