Sunday 14. November 2010

Alumni New Venture Contest

$25,000 cash prize to the winning team. Register now!

Harvard Business School's Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and the Office of Alumni Relations are pleased to announce the second annual Alumni New Venture Contest (NVC). With over half of HBS alumni classifying themselves as entrepreneurs at some point in their lives, this Contest is designed to shine a spotlight on alumni ventures, support promising new ventures and award a $25,000 cash prize to the winning team.
Local Contests will be held by 16 participating HBS Alumni Clubs in 12 regions around the world.

Contest Rules & Submissions

The rules & requirements for entering teams are as follows:

Timeframe & submissions:
Applicants / teams

  • should carefully read the following criteria and information and
  • write us a.s.a.p. a short informal e-mail with at least some very basic notes about the team and the business plan or the started new venture to info @ 
  • must submit their complete business plan / venture description (see criteria below) until January, 31 2011 to the same e-mail address and double-check that we really have obtained the submission, if not confirmed by return of mail.

Judging will take place in February-March 2011, and the winners of the local rounds will travel to HBS for the Finals, to be held at HBS on April 25.

There will be one $25,000 first prize awarded to the Contest winner. In addition, every finalist team will receive mentoring from an HBS faculty member prior to the judging, as well as participate in educational sessions through the Contest and on campus during the Finals.

Teams/plans will be judged on the likelihood of creating a successful, significant new venture. This "Evaluation Sheet", which will be used during both the local and finals rounds, will give teams a better sense of the specific criteria. Note that investment funds and acquisitions will generally not be considered as "new ventures."

Teams must meet the following requirements:

  • Each team must have at least one (1) HBS alumnus/a. The HBS alumnus/a needs to be a substantive member of the founding team, with a senior management and operating position and participation in the company's equity pool in a manner consistent with that role and position. At least one (1) of the HBS alumni must be among the group (of a maximum of two (2) team members) who appears in Boston and presents at the NVC Finals in April.
  • Participating teams may not have raised/utilized more than $500,000 in total debt and equity capital, and must have less than $500,000 in revenues. It is not necessary that the teams actually be seeking funding. I.e., they may already have raised the small amount (less than $500,000) of capital they need to reach an initial milestone, or they may have a very cash flow positive business model that essentially requires no outside capital.
  • In general, written business plans are preferable to "PowerPoint" style plans because the reader can more fully grasp the logic and substance of a plan. Slide decks generally rely on this to be filled in by the presenter, but the presenter may not be there during the initial view of the plans by the judges. That having been said, we do recognize the reality that many businesses develop only a PowerPoint style plan, and those plans are acceptable submissions. However, in the instances when a PowerPoint style plan is submitted, we also require a 2-5 page executive summary of the business plan.
  • Both the PowerPoint and prose style plans should meet the following guidelines:
    no more than 35 pages of either a prose plan or slide deck plus executive summary. Also, the material should clearly articulate:
    • the product or service;
    • the market need/pain it is designed to address;
    • the team, their background, skills and experience, and their current level of effort/commitment to the venture;
    • the target customer and market, competitive landscape, how that customer will be reached, and the potential of the opportunity, including the size and growth of that market;
    • the technology—if any—on which the underlying product or service is based; and, if it based on a technology, the status of its development and a clear picture of the IP landscape and the protection/defensibility the team believes it will have;
    • the competitive advantage and defensibility of the business; and
    • the financial potential of the business, including: projected income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements for at least 3 years—preferably on a quarterly basis—in order to present a clear picture of the capital needs of the business, the anticipated timing of these capital requirements, a notion of when the business will achieve cash break-even. In addition, the financial plan in conjunction with the narrative should provide a picture of what will be achieved with each tranche of capital, in terms of risks reduced and business objectives achieved.

Past Winners 

On Monday, April 26, the 2010 Alumni New Venture Contest Finals were held. The winner of the 2010 Alumni NVC was Krishna Mahesh (MBA 2005), CEO of Sundaram Medical Devices.
Watch the video of the event. Read more about the seven Regional Finalists and read the HBS press release on the 2010 Alumni New Venture Contest.


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