Student Eligibility: Any student with a full course load currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program is eligible to represent a university and/or business school at that university’s discretion. This may include graduate, undergraduate, executive MBA and exchange students. (New in 2017: there is no longer a restriction for students who work at venture capital firms.)
International One-Year MBA Programs: Students who graduate in December may compete in events within six months of graduation.
No Repeat Rule: Students may only compete in a regional VCIC once. Internal competitions are excluded from this rule. For example, if you compete and lose in your school’s internal event, you may compete again the following year and go on to a region.
Team Size: FIVE students: Except in cases of emergency (to be determined by the VCIC Organizational Team), teams must have five members. Schools may send a sixth student to observe, see below.
NEW IN 2017 – 6th Teammate/Observer: Schools are encouraged to send a sixth student to shadow the team and observe the event. This person may compete the following year (unlike the 5 teammates, who cannot repeat). Student observers are allowed to follow the team throughout the event, but will not actively participate, that is, will not speak during due diligence sessions, partner meetings or negotiations. There is no restriction on observers communicating with their team between sessions.
Staff/Faculty Advisor: Staff and faculty advisors are welcome to attend the event and observe ALL aspects of the competition, including closed-door judge discussions and other teams’ due diligence sessions. Advisors may NOT assist the team during the event, but are encouraged to give feedback after the event and to help future teams.
Substitutes: Teams may substitute members any time. Please give the host school notice so that new name tags may be printed and submit an updated photo to reflect the new teammates.
NEW IN 2017 – Outside Contact: Prior to 9AM the day of the event, there are no longer any restrictions on students contacting anybody for help. However, students may NOT contact anyone affiliated with the presenting startups (founders, investors, employees, customers, investors, etc.). After 9AM at the event, students may not receive help from anyone outside of the team.
Rationale: Prior to 2017, teams were not allowed to receive any outside help after they received business plans. The rule was changed for several reasons: 1) to reflect how VCs normally operate, utilizing their networks; 2) to encourage more interactions between students and VCs resulting in more networking and more learning; and 3) because the old rule was unenforceable.
NEW IN 2017 – School Anonymity: Team names will reflect their school name. (We will no longer attempt to maintain anonymity.)
Rationale: this is to help students make connections at the event by being branded as themselves. Rather than “Jon Doe from Team Oak,” it’d be “Jon Doe from the University of Wherever.” We appreciate that there is a risk that judges may not remain impartial, and we will reinstate the anonymity rule in 2018 if impartiality is a problem.
Prize Money: Checks are mailed after the event to individuals designated by winning teams. It is the responsibility of the winning team to follow up within 60 days with event organizers to initiate prize money payments, or prize money may be forfeited. University accounting can take upwards of 8 weeks to process payments and taxes may be withheld, depending on policies at the host university. Often a social security number is necessary for processing payment. Prize money for VCIC 2017 MBA Finals: 1st place–$5,000, 2nd–$2,500; VCIC 2017 Regional Finals and undergraduate events: 1st place–$1,000.
Dress code: Dress like a VC. This may differ by region.
Non–Disclosure of Business Plans: Students are required to sign a general non–disclosure agreement (NDAs), available at www.vcic.org/nda to help ensure a culture of respect for our startups, without whom we would not have an event.
Distribution of Pitch Decks: Plans are usually distributed two days prior to the event (Wednesday for Friday events, Thursday for Saturday events), by email at 5pm of the time zone of the event.
Familiarity with a startup or VC Judge: If you happen to know one of the VC judges or one of the founders at the event, please pretend you don’t until the end of the day. This helps mitigate the perception of unfairness by other participants.
Startup Pitches: No questions are allowed during presentations. Slides are not distributed.
Due Diligence with Entrepreneurs: There are no restrictions on what teams may ask of entrepreneurs during the sessions. However, no contact is allowed between teams and entrepreneurs at any other time during the competition. For example, entrepreneurs cannot follow up by email to provide additional materials. Teams may quickly introduce themselves to the entrepreneurs (not to judges) upon entering the room before the timer starts. When the timer expires, the session must immediately end, even if in mid–sentence, and the team should quickly thank the entrepreneur and leave the room.
Written Deliverables: Each team must submit a one-page executive summary (for judges only) and a one-page term sheet summary (MBA only, for judges and entrepreneurs). Teams may submit up to three pages of additional information to communicate their decision-making process to the judges. Teams may use the supplied templates or bring their own.
Partner Meetings: 15-minutes simulating an investor meeting in which a junior partner (the team) is presenting an investment opportunity to the senior partners (judges). Judges will have just received written deliverables and will be looking at them for the first time in the meeting. Teams have the floor but should expect interruptions. No specific time carved out for Q&A.
Negotiations: (MBA only) 10-minute negotiation, no Q&A. Teams will be cut off if they have not finished when the timer expires.
Local Teams: Local teams are expected to operate under the same facility restrictions as all other teams. Teams may not take advantage of libraries, computer facilities or other assets that could potentially provide an unfair advantage over visiting teams.
Publicity: All participants agree to allow VCIC to use their names and likenesses for the purpose of promoting VCIC in the future.
Honor Code: It shall be the responsibility of each student to obey and support the enforcement of these rules. All team members must sign a copy of these rules at the kick–off meeting indicating their agreement to be bound by these rules.
Dispute Resolution: All decisions by judges and the VCIC Organizational Team are final. For complaints, questions, concerns or to report possible rules violations, contact the regional VCIC coordinator. These rules may be revised at any time if the purpose of the revision is made in the interest of fairness for all competitors. Revisions will be communicated to all participants as quickly and fairly as possible.