Tennessee Venture Challenge

TVC Participant Release Form

About the Tennessee Venture Challenge

The University of Tennessee Research Foundation embraces the mission-critical function of fostering entrepreneurship through the Tennessee Venture Challenge (TVC) to be held from 3:00-5:00 p.m. on April 3, 2014 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

The Tennessee Venture Challenge (TVC) is designed to encourage students, researchers, and community members to create new high-growth businesses in the State of Tennessee. New company creation and development is an integral component of academic technology commercialization, and is increasingly recognized as a key lever of economic growth in the 21st century.

The Tennessee Venture Challenge is a business plan competition for the University of Tennessee community, where University-affiliated startup companies will pitch their business model to a panel of seasoned investors who will choose the winner of the $25,000 cash prize.

The event will provide valuable experience and feedback to all participantBetween February 17th and March 28th teams are expected to follow the Customer Development methodology to test and refine their initial Canvas. In addition to the highly-recommended Udacity course, UTRF, in conjunction with the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Tech2020, will host a series of workshops over this period to assist teams. By Friday, March 28, 2014 teams must submit a revised Canvas and a short summary of the process and results that led to the revised Canvas. Between February 17th and March 28th teams are expected to follow the Customer Development methodology to test and refine their initial Canvas. In addition to the highly-recommended Udacity course, UTRF, in conjunction with the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Tech2020, will host a series of workshops over this period to assist teams. By Friday, March 28, 2014 teams must submit a revised Canvas and a short summary of the process and results that led to the revised Canvas. s and attendees, who will observe firsthand the most effective means of communicating with prospective investors. We hope you will join in by applying to be part of our competition.

The competition encourages the development of the entrepreneurial spirit through teamwork and mentorship. Applicants should consist of small teams interested in commercializing a UT invention or creation. Assistance will be made available in the form of mentors, workshops and courses to guide teams through the phases of new venture creation.

Your venture idea may focus on a technology, consumer product, service, or social venture. Teams must have at least one member from any UT College or Campus. More information regarding specific prize categories will be made available in the future.

There is no limit to the number of teams that can enter the TVC. Based on the initial submissions, the University of Tennessee Research Foundation and its affiliates will work with judges to determine a list of teams that will present their venture pitches at the Finals Event. Teams in the final round will compete for the $25,000 cash prize. Finalists will make their pitch to venture capitalists, early stage investors and successful entrepreneurs serving as judges for the finals round.

Entry

Each team must indicate their intent to compete in the TVC by Friday, February 7. To enter, one individual from each team should complete the online Intent to Compete Form.

UTRF highly recommends the use of the Customer Development process for new venture creation. There are numerous guides available for the Customer Development process, including an excellent online course available for free at Udacity (www.udacity.com/course/ep245). The cornerstone of Customer Development is the Business Model Canvas, and all teams will be expected to utilize the Canvas in TVC.

Finalists will be selected during the semifinal round on March 25, 2014.

Workshops

UTRF, Tech2020 and the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will organize a series of venture development workshops, which will be video conferenced to other UT locations for participants not based in Knoxville. Attendance is strongly encouraged for all participants in the competition. Each team should plan on having at least one representative present at each workshop.

Workshops will be held on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. beginning February 4th. The first session will be held in conjunction with the TVC Kick-Off Event on Feb. 4 in the UTRF Business Incubator (2450 E. J. Champan Drive, Knoxville, Tenn., 37996). Beginning Feb. 11 sessions will be held in Haslam Business Building, Room 403.

Workshop Schedule
February 4, 2014 - Business Model Canvas Overview | Video
February 11, 2014 - Value Proposition & Company Legal Structures | Video
February 18, 2014 - Market Segments, Elevator Pitch & Business Models | Video
February 25, 2014 - Business Model | Video
March 4, 2014 - Financial Projections, Executive Summary & The Funding Continuum | Video
March 11, 2014 - Strategic Timeline & The Mind of the Investor | Video
March 25, 2014 - Semifinals
Week of March 31, 2014 - Presentation Prep & Practice

Cash Prize Conditions

Cash prizes will be awarded to an organization, not to the individual team members. The business entity must have an independent account with a recognized, preferably local, bank prior to receiving the prize money.

Judges Evaluation Criteria

Judges will evaluate the teams based on how convincingly they present their business concept, such that the judge would want to learn more about the company as a potential investor. The best teams are those with whom an investor would want to schedule a follow-up meeting because they believe the company represents a strong investment opportunity.

Successful teams should communicate the following in their pitch:

Final Event

The Final Round includes the following:

Nature of Ventures

The competition is for new, independent ventures in the seed, startup, or early growth stages. Generally excluded are the following: buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area, and spin-outs from existing corporations.

Eligibility Criteria:

1. The startup must be a legally existing company seeking to develop a product or service based (in whole or in part) on intellectual property created within The University of Tennessee system. The obligated technology must comprise an integral part of the startup’s business focus. There is no territorial limitation on the company’s location.

2. Ventures with revenues (excluding SBIR/STTR grants) that exceeded $50,000 in the prior 12 months are excluded, as are ventures that have raised equity capital in excess of $50,000 from sources other than the founders or their friends and families.

3. Teams must consist of 2-4 people. Teams are highly encouraged to have the individual giving the pitch be someone that is committed to taking a leading executive role in the new venture. The judges will be critically evaluating not just the proposed product, but also the capabilities of the team to execute on the business model.