The Next Great Startup
Oregon State University's Startup Competition
OSU’s campus-wide, multi-round startup competition where student teams have the opportunity to win cash prizes totaling over $25,000, gain feedback from leaders in the business community, and expand their network. The competition takes place starting in January with many teams and ends in March with four teams competing in the final. The purpose of the competition is to allow participants to experience an entire cycle of new venture creation - from creating a strong pitch to conducting marketing and financial analysis and validating a business model.
In order to apply, an Intent to Compete form must be submitted before the deadline of Monday, January 16 by 8 a.m. All eligible teams who submit an application will be invited to come for the auditions.
This competition is open to all current OSU students. The team may have other members who are OSU faculty or from outside the University. However, only current OSU students are able to present to the judges. Teams are able to add and remove members throughout the course of the competition. The proposed ventures may be for a consumer or industrial product or service and they may be for-profit or non-profit with the most competitive businesses able to demonstrate high growth and/or a large market potential.
Teams that are considered excluded from the competition are buy-outs/turnarounds, expansions of already existing companies, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area, and spin-outs from existing companies. Ventures who have attained revenue or have raised capital from sources other than members of the team prior to the current academic year are also excluded.
On January 17th, we will hold “auditions.” All applicants that have completed their application will then take turns pitching their ideas to the NGSU team consisting of entrepreneurs, and experienced investors. Each pitch will be three minutes and should be prepared for 3-5 minutes of question and answer. It is recommended that the pitch be additive to the application. Between twelve and sixteen teams will be selected to move on to the first round. We strongly encourage teams that do not pass the auditions to join on other teams moving forward in the competition. Just like in the real world, team component and skill sets are critical for success.
Note: Prior to the auditions, teams will be provided with a short educational seminar on the tools used to assess and judge the business models and on making effective pitches. There will be another seminar after the auditions for teams that have been selected to move to Round 1. Dates and times to be announced.
Before Round One teams will submit their Summary as described below to be submitted no later than February 6th by 8 a.m.
Selected teams will be provided with $200 to help assist with this part of the assessment. Teams are expected to start a Business Model Canvas (BMC), and begin validating presumptions. The goal for this round is “Customer Discovery.” The primary objective is to determine your first customers. See the contestant guide sheet and judges scorecard for assistance.
The BMC should have the target customer section validated. Each team is required to write a summary of up to two pages. The summary is due by February 6th and includes a description of the solution, a summary of what was tested, testing results and the potential market size.
On February 9th, each team will make a three-minute pitch without Power Point presentations to the judges to describe their work and outcomes. This will be followed by five minutes of questions and answers from the judges. At least, one team from each coach will be eliminated from the competition.
Before Round Two teams will submit their Summary as described below to be submitted no later than February 20th by 8 a.m.
Selected teams will be provided with $300 to help with this part of the assessment. Teams are expected to continue to evolve their Business Model Canvas and validate presumptions. The goal for this round is “Product Market Fit (PMF).” The primary objective is to best achieve product market fit with your business model's Value Proposition, Customer Segment, and Revenue model. One of the best indicators of PMF is that you can validate a large a sufficient target market and try to have the customers in this segment part with their hard earned cash. This may not be possible in the time allotted for this competition. Please note that actual sales are a great form of company validation.
Each team must write a no more than 1 ½ page Summary due by February 20th that includes a description and evidence of a large market, that the solution is an important problem for this market, and the customers in this market are actively searching for a solution. Having a minimal viable product at this stage will be worth many points for the judges.
On February 23rd, each team will make a three-minute pitch without Power Point presentations to the judges to describe their work and outcomes. This will be followed by five minutes of questions and answers from the judges. At least one team from each coach will be eliminated from the competition. Only four teams will move to the final round.
Before the Finals, teams must submit their Summary as described below to be submitted no later than March 6th by 8 a.m.
Teams are expected to have a completed Business Model Canvas with validated presumptions. The written Summary due for the finals is only to provide evidence of the validation points in each team canvas. The Summary should be in bullet form and no more than 1 ½ pages. Short and concise is very effective for the judges at this stage.
In addition, each team will prepare an investor ready slide deck and be prepared for a seven minute presentation followed by five minutes of questions from the judges.
The Finals will be held on March 9th, time and location to be announced.
The judging for the grand prize is based on which business is most likely to succeed, had the greatest amount of success, and has the most viable business. Factors that the judges seek are the market opportunity, the advantage and path for the opportunity, the teams’ management capabilities and skills to execute, and the financial strategy to determine if the business would be a worthwhile venture for investment.
All Summaries should be submitted by email to Annisa.Goss@oregonstate.edu as required by the rules above. Late submissions will not be accepted. Please keep your sent email as evidence of submission.