Executive Summaries, Business Plans, and Presentations will be evaluated on the criteria of commercial viability, technical viability, financial viability, and strength of the management team and management and technical advisory boards.
Commercial viability includes all aspects of the competitive environment and value proposition — “what market need are you addressing and how?” The potential need for the product/service, addressable market size, market growth, competitors and competing technologies and the solution’s competitive advantage should be addressed. Attention should also be paid to the customer segments and relationships that will need to be forged and the marketing and distribution channels that will need to be exploited.
Technical viability includes the unique features of the product/service, technological feasibility and intellectual property positions. The business plan should speak to the cost and pathway to development, the timeline to complete the work, and some statement of the likelihood and risks in the development.
Financial viability includes the cost structure and revenue streams of the business model, profit potential, and invested capital required to achieve specific milestones. Attention should also be paid to the risk and return characteristics of the business.
During the Presentation phase of the competition, the criteria also will include quality and persuasiveness of the oral presentation.
Entries that describe exciting technological breakthroughs but fail to show a clear path to commercialization will not fare well in the competition. Likewise, winners will not be chosen based solely on the potential size or profitability of the projected enterprise, but rather on how well the team has prepared its business plan, described the business model, explained the implementation and presented the concept during the live presentation.
Judges will use evaluation forms to guide their decisions; however, the goal of the judging panel is to arrive at a consensus as to which venture they would most likely fund if they were an investment group. Ultimately, the winning team is the team that convinces them to invest in their idea.
Judges comprising the judging panel will be drawn from different functional and industry areas to provide a representative balance of business and technical expertise. As such, the judging panel will include individuals with deep research and technical expertise in various areas of specialty on which to evaluate a concept on its technical merits and product development potential. The judging panel also will include individuals from venture capital and private equity firms, accounting and law firms, and others involved in the business entity creation. All judges will have meaningful experience in, or exposure to, the early-stage technology development process and understand the research, development and business-formation challenges faced by different types of businesses.
Judges will provide team feedback and often advise teams on possible funding sources and strategic partners.
2010 Judges (docx)