The LAUNCH Contest is the main contest of the MIT $100K Competition. In this contest, teams come together to develop business plans that would launch their startups, while competing for the $100,000 grand prize!
Three rounds of submissions
Round One: March 22, 2013 6 PM ET: Application closes
The first submission is open to anyone meeting our eligibility criteria and consists of an Executive Summary and three pages for freelance use (more information below). After a round of judging by industry experts, up to 50 semi-finalists will move on to the track finals. There will be an average of 10 teams per track for a total of up to 50 teams. The winner of both the Pitch and Accelerate competitions will be rewarded with automatic placement as a semi-finalist in the MIT $100K Launch competition, bypassing Round 1 judging.
Round Two: April 27, 2013 6 PM ET (Business Plan) and April 29, 2013 6 PM EST (12-Slide PowerPoint Pitch Deck): Round 2 submission closes
Moving to the second round entitles the selected teams to formal legal and venture mentoring, an expense account to be used towards developing the business, and access to invite-only events to broaden the team’s network in the larger entrepreneurial community. The deliverables due during the second round include a full business plan + cover sheet and a 12 slide pitch deck. These deliverables will undergo a final round of judging before any cash prizes are awarded. Additional specifics around each of these areas are included below.
Wild Card Round
The Wild Card Round is the round where the second and third place team from each track (i.e. the second and third place teams from Round 2) compete to advance to the final round. The teams will not need to submit additional materials, but will need to present to judges on an evening in early May.
Final Round: May 15, 2013; Finale round submission due: May 10, 2013 6PM ET
The five track finalists and two wild card finalists along with the top-performing MIT team from the Clean Energy Prize will deliver presentations to a panel of judges and to the event audience at the Business Plan Contest Finale event. This event will be held the evening of May 15 in Kresge Auditorium.
Submission of Entries
- All entries must be submitted online – no paper entries will be permitted
- Entries must be received on time and in the appropriate format
- Round One: March 22, 2013 6 PM ET
- Round Two: April 27, 2013 6 PM ET (Business Plan) and April 29, 2013 6 PM EST (12-Slide PowerPoint Pitch Deck)
- Final Round: May 110, 2013 6 PM ET (finale event held May 15, 2013)
- The decision of the MIT $100K Organizing Team regarding late or non-conforming submissions is final
Business Plan Contest will give out the following prizes:
- Triple Crown (prize given to any team that is a finalist in all three $100K Contests) – $1,000
- AARP Prize – $10,000
- Data Prize by Thomson Reuters – $10,000
- Track Finalist Prizes – $15,000
- Business Plan Contest Winner – $100,000
Round One Submission Requirements
The first round submission includes the following documents: (1) a two-page Executive Summary, (2) three freelance pages and (3) key accomplishments of each team member. Below are outlined the formatting standards for each of these documents. If the submitted documents do not comply with these standards, submissions will be automatically disqualified and no feedback will be provided. Decisions regarding submission compliance will be provided by the MIT $100K Organizing Team and are final.
Inc. magazine wrote a good article on how to write executive summaries that you may find helpful.
2 Page Executive Summary
- All Executive Summaries must not exceed 2 pages, single-spaced (Standard 8.5″ x 11″)
- The two pages must include all team information, logos, exhibits, and content (Additional title pages, cover sheets, appendices, or other pages are not allowed and will result in disqualification)
- Entries must be in PDF format
- One inch margins (vertical and horizontal) are required
Note: You may include images and select any font, but unreadable entries (as determined by the organizers) will be disqualified.
When submitting your executive summary, we highly encourage you to address questions related to team, profit opportunity, market, and uniqueness. For a more comprehensive list of questions to consider for your Executive Summary, please visit our FAQ.
Three Freelance Pages
You can use these pages however you would like. The purpose is to use these pages to convey information that you could not in your executive summary. This is not intended to be three additional pages of an executive summary, but complementary. Please keep in mind that if you provide information that is illegible or perceived as unprofessional, this will impact the judges’ opinion of your preparation for this contest.
Examples of what teams might use the pages for the following purposes:
- Mini-pitch deck: Include 3 slides on these three pages that act as a mini-pitch deck
- Mock-up / Pictures: Show mock-ups or pictures of what you are working on
- Market research findings,financial or customer data: Data or findings that show the potential impact and opportunity of your idea/company
These pages must be submitted in PDF format and as one file. Please note that application materials are printed out for the judges to review, so links to video submissions will not be accepted.
During the Semi-Finalist Period (April 4 – April 29)
Teams that advance to the second round will be given $1,000 expense accounts. Any money spent must be submitted ahead of time in a funding request when the second round begins. In order to get reimbursed for these expenses, teams must have received approval for their expenses and must also complete the contest (this is defined as being eliminated through judging or finishing the final round of the Business Plan Contest).
Goals During Business Plan Contest
Please spend up to one page, 12 point font, explaining what you hope to accomplish during the Business Plan Contest. The goals should be business-oriented and should support your case the business plan that semifinalists will submit in the next round. One of the goals must be about gathering customer feedback. You will be judged on how actionable and impactful these goals are for your company. These goals will be metrics for evaluation at the track finals.
The purpose of the team agreement is for the judges to understand that the teams are aligned on its vision and goals. The team agreements should not be legally binding agreements, but a general understanding between teammates. The team agreement should, at the minimum, include the following:
- Vision for the company
- Team roles
- Intended growth trajectory of company
The agreement should not exceed two pages: the first page is for the agreement and the second page for the team member’s signatures. The agreement is not an evaluative part of the contest. It is a requirement and will only hurt a team’s chance of continuing if visions are misaligned.
Throughout Business Plan Contest teams will be required to attend certain events. Attending each event will be worth access to ⅕ of the allotted expense accounts. The events include two receptions held by sponsors (Brown Rudnick on April 10 and Segal Family Foundation on April 24), an MIT $100K networking reception held by sponsors (April 25), the mentoring dinner, and the track finals judging event. The Emerging Markets Track teams will be able to miss one of those events (if they need to) but must attend the April 24th reception hosted by the Segal Family Foundation. See the “Important Dates” page on the Business Plan Contest part of the website for more information.
Round Two Submission Requirements
- 10 Page Business Plan + 1 Page Cover Sheet (DUE April 27 at 6:00 PM EST)
- 1 page maximum of your goals (DUE April 27 at 6:00 PM EST)
- 12 Slide PowerPoint Pitch Deck (DUE April 29 at 6:00 PM EST)
- Address your progress on your goals
10 Page Business Plan + 1 Page Cover Sheet
- Business Plans should include one Cover Sheet that does not count toward the page limit. This Cover Sheet may include only company name, team member names, team member email addresses, and company logo.
- The Business Plan should include no more than 10 pages (8.5” x 11”), with a maximum of four additional pages for charts, graphs, exhibits, footnotes, etc.
- Entries must be in PDF format
- One inch margins (vertical and horizontal) are required
Note: You may include images and select any font, but entries that are unreadable, as determined by the organizers, will be disqualified.
Qualified entries will be printed in black and white with default printer settings and margins for evaluation. Any entry that is illegible in this format will not be reviewed. Before you submit your Business Plan we urge you to print it out using default printer settings, review it, and revise it if you have to squint to read it. Remember, if it looks like you’re trying to cram everything into 10 pages it probably won’t look good to the judges who are reading many of these.
12 Slide PowerPoint Pitch Deck
YOU MUST PRINT A COPY OF YOUR DECK AND BRING IT TO YOUR ROUND 2 PITCH
- PowerPoint decks must include one title slide that counts toward the 12 slide limit. This title slide must include company name, team member names and company logo.
- PowerPoint decks cannot exceed 12 total slides. All titles, content, exhibits, and other information must be included on these 12 slides. Any deck that has more than 12 total slides, including the title slide, will result in the disqualification of the entry.
- The PowerPoint deck must use standard-size slides (default to PowerPoint)
- Any color or theme is allowable, but the slides must be legible when printed in black and white.
The qualified entries will be printed in black and white, four slides to a page. Any entry that is illegible in this format will not be reviewed. Disqualified entries, including those exceeding the 12 slide limit, will not be reviewed and will receive no feedback.
Progress During Business Plan Contest
Due to the change in deadline, we will not require you to type up a 2 page paper addressing this any longer. Submit your 1 page goals in PDF format with your Business Plans.
Wild Card Round
Teams that place second in the track finals will move on to the Wild Card Round. There are no additional submissions required for this round. Any finalist team should keep that evening available in case it becomes a wild card contender. The top two wild card teams advance to the final round. There is no cash prize for the winners of the Wild Card round, but the two teams compete for the $100K grand prize.
A total of eight teams will advance to the final round: five track winners, the highest placing MIT team in the MIT Clean Energy Prize, and two wild card round teams. The teams that advance to the finale must submit their (1) revised business plan, (2) updated 12 slide pitch deck, (3) goals to accomplish during Business Plan Contest (this should be the original document you submitted or a modified document if approved by the MIT $100K), (4) an update on what you accomplished with respect to your goals, and (5) an analysis of how your customer research impacted your business/idea. The deliverables are due by May 10th at 6:00 PM ET.
The same rules apply to this business plan as applied to the business plan in the previous round.
12 Slide Pitch Deck
The same rules apply to this pitch deck as applied to the pitch deck in the previous round.
Goals to Accomplish During Business Plan Contest
The same rules apply to these goals as applied to the goals in the first round.
Update on Accomplishments During Business Plan Contest
The update should focus on what your team has accomplished with respect to the goals it set. If it did not accomplish anything, please be sure to address why and what you learned. Answers will be submitted in an attachment and limited to 500 words.
Analysis of Customer Research
Please reflect on how, if at all, the customer feedback has influenced or changed your business model. Please submit this as an attachment and limit it to 500 words. Make sure to reference your high-level findings.
Each round’s judging only takes into account information submitted in that round. Judges will consider the following information, and potentially more, when judging:
- Timing: Ability to launch a business and generate revenue in the next year.
- Impact: The company/team is going to have an impact on its targeted customer.
- Size of market: Is this a large or small market?
- Profit model: Does the business have an attractive profit model to make profit over a long time horizon?
- Team: You have the right team to execute your stated goals for your company/team.
- Originality: The idea is at least somewhat original in that it will not be one of 1,000 companies trying the same approach to the same market.
- Feasibility: For technical businesses/ideas, this is an assessment of the technical feasibility of the product/service. Teams must prove that their technology, if applicable, is executable.
- Go to market strategy: The team has a clear idea of how to market and sell its product/service.
- Other: The judges will take into account other information and their expertise that they can draw upon.
Ultimately, the final threshold judges will use is whether the company will be successful. If you can prove that, you will do well in this contest.
- There is no fee for entry.
- Submissions may be entered by individuals or teams.
- Each team may enter one idea per track and the same idea cannot be entered in multiple tracks.
- Each team must have at least one currently registered MIT student; if you are submitting as an individual, you must be a currently registered MIT student
- Currently registered MIT students include all full-time and part-time undergraduates, graduate students, and Post-doctoral candidates.
- MIT students must submit their
@mit.eduemail address at submission time.
- Note: The required events must be attended by at least one MIT student on each team. Team members who are not MIT students are also encouraged to attend, but at least one MIT student per team is required to attend.
- Any individual may only serve as the qualifying MIT student for one team per track. A single individual cannot be the sole qualifying student for two teams within the same track.
- Entries must be the original work of entrants.
- Entries are subject to the following funding requirements
- Teams must disclose any funding already received at the time of registration.
- Teams must not have accepted any institutional funding for the idea being presented (i.e. the team cannot have sold equity to anyone outside the team – including non-managing founders).
- Teams must not have accepted any non-institutional funding in excess of $100,000. Non-institutional funding includes contests, grants, friends and family, bank loans, etc. where there is no equity ownership associated with the funding.
- There are forms of funding that may fall into a gray area. In these cases, the $100K Organizing Committee will deliberate on the eligibility and communicate the decision to the team. The decision of the Organizing Committee on the eligibility of the entrant is final and cannot be appealed.
- At least one member of the team must be present at the finale Poster Session as well as the Finale Show on May 15, 2013. Failure for at least one member of a team to show up will result in the forfeiture of any prize won.
- The Judging Panel reserves the right to disqualify any entry.
Teams are encouraged to seek the involvement of MIT faculty, alumni, post-docs, researchers, staff, students from other schools, and people from outside the MIT community. All team members must be full-fledged members of the team.
Entries must be the original work of entrants and may be entered by a single student or a multi-student team (up to 5 members). Each team may enter one idea per track. The same team cannot have two ideas in one track. The same team cannot enter the same idea in multiple tracks. The MIT $100K Organizing Committee reserves the right to admit any given idea in a track different from the one selected by the team at the time of online registration. If the team is admitted to a track other than the one selected by the participant, the Organizing Committee will communicate this decision to the team.
Teams that have already secured arrangements for capital from any source must disclose the amounts and sources clearly in their entries. Teams must not have accepted any institutional funding for the idea being presented and non-institutional funding is limited to $100,000. Any source of funding that has an equity ownership component, including funding from non-managing founders, is considered institutional. The decision of the Organizing Committee on the eligibility of the entrant is final and cannot be appealed.
By submitting a business plan, you represent and warrant to the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition that you have all right, title and/or interest in the business plan submitted and the information it contains is accurate and complete, and that by submitting the document to the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition you are not and will not be violating any contract or third party rights including any patent, copyright, trade secret, proprietary or confidential information, trademark, publicity or privacy right. The Judging Panel of the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition reserves the right to disqualify any entry that in its judgment violates the letter or the spirit of the Competition guidelines, processes and rules of the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition. The decisions of the Judging Panel are final and binding.
Access to submitted executive summaries is only granted by the MIT $100K Organizing Committee to the members of its judging panel. The MIT $100K Organizing Committee, the IT team, and the Judging team members are the only other individuals who may be provided with the submitted executive summaries by the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition. Reasonable steps are taken to limit access to the submitted executive summaries (collectively referred to as “summaries”).
The judges of the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition are venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and lawyers who are used to dealing with confidential material on a regular basis. If some part of the entered Executive Summary is confidential, contestants will need to clearly mark that information as “CONFIDENTIAL,” and the MIT $100K Organizing Committee will retain that legend in any copy of the summary provided to the members of the judging panel. However, even if contestants mark their information as confidential, there will be no confidentiality obligation by any recipient of the summary for information which: (a) is publicly available prior to the time of its disclosure to the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition or becomes publicly available thereafter through no wrongful act of the recipient, or (b) was known to the recipient prior to the date of disclosure or becomes known to the recipient thereafter from a third party having an apparent bona fide right to disclose the information, or (c) is disclosed by recipient in accordance with your approval, or (d) is disclosed by you or any member of your team without restriction on further disclosure, or (e) is independently developed by a recipient; or (f) the recipient is obligated to disclose to comply with applicable laws or regulations, or with a court or administrative order.
The identities of the contestants and the short description of the business disclosed in the registration, as well as any pitch delivered during any MIT $100K event are considered of public domain and can be used by the MIT $100K Organizing Committee for marketing and PR purposes.
Teams can create businesses using technologies that they have permission to use. This could mean that they created the technology, that the patent is in their name, or that they have the explicit (i.e. written) permission of the person or organization that owns the intellectual property. Any team that violates this will be automatically disqualified from the contest. Before submitting entries, the MIT $100K Organizing Committee urges contestants to confirm with appropriate advisors or legal counsel that any intellectual property described in their summary is protected; i.e., by appropriate intellectual property filings, notices, (patent, copyright, etc) by the owning institution and/or individuals. The MIT $100K Organizing Committee also recommends that contestants determine in advance whether their summary describes a technology, invention, copyrightable work or other intellectual property owned by MIT in accordance with MIT Policy. The MIT Technology Licensing Office is available to answer any related questions.
For any doubt about the legal status of contestants’ own or third party intellectual property or any other aspect of their plan, the MIT $100K Organizing Committee advices to seek independent legal counsel.
Prize payments will be distributed as follows:
- Equal shares of any prize money won will be paid to each individual on a winning team
- If equity (stock) is divided among the team members, then teams with non-MIT students can only receive equity if the MIT students on the team also have equity in the company
- The individual recipients of prize money will be responsible for the tax implications of their winnings
- Teams may forfeit their individual shares of prize money in favor of granting the full amount of the prize money to a registered business entity if, and only if, all of the following conditions are met:
- Team registered as a business entity prior to March 22, 2013
- Team has a Federal Tax Identification Number (also known as an Employer ID Number) prior to March 22, 2013
- All members of the team have agreed in writing to forfeit their individual portions of the prize money in favor of granting the full amount of the prize money to the registered business entity. We strongly recommend that teams seek legal consultation prior to signing such an agreement.
- MIT faculty are not eligible for prize money; the payment they receive is distributed among team members. However, they can participate on teams.
- Note that prize payments are treated as income by MIT and the IRS, regardless of whether the payment is made to an individual or a company. Non-U.S. citizens are taxed on their prize money up front at a rate of 30%, which is withheld from their prize checks.
All teams are required to participate in media and press opportunities related to the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition. This includes, but is not limited to, the following opportunities:
- All teams may be asked to provide a 150-200 word description that will be made available to media and may be released publicly, either in part or in its entirety;
- All teams may be asked to speak to the media for competition related interviews when requested by the organizing committee;
- All teams may be asked to provide quotes and/or content for any competition related press releases.
Participating in media and press opportunities in no way, shape or form requires teams to disclose any proprietary or otherwise confidential information related to their businesses. The MIT $100K organizing committee agrees to provide consultation to any team, upon request, to avoid such disclosures while participating in press related opportunities.
You agree that you will not use the name of “Massachusetts Institute of Technology,” or any variation, adaptation, or abbreviation thereof, or of any of its trustees, officers, faculty, students, employees, or agents, or any trademark owned by IT in any advertising or publicity without the written permission of the Director of the MIT’s News Office.
MIT MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND CONCERNING THE MIT ENTREPRENEURSHIP COMPETITION, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED. IN NO EVENT SHALL MIT, ITS TRUSTEES, DIRECTORS, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, STUDENTS, THE MIT ENTREPRENEURSHIP COMPETITION JUDGES AND MENTORS, AND AFFILIATES BE LIABLE FOR ANY ADVICE, INFORMATION OR DECISIONS MADE FOR OR ON BEHALF OF THE MIT ENTREPRENEURSHIP COMPETITION OR FOR INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING ECONOMIC DAMAGES OR INJURY TO PROPERTY AND LOST PROFITS, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER MIT SHALL BE ADVISED, SHALL HAVE OTHER REASON TO KNOW OR IN FACT SHALL KNOW OF THE POSSIBILITY OF THE FOREGOING.