Startup Eligibility: VCIC is not for student projects! The students at VCIC are the mock investors. The startups at VCIC must be in the process of raising an equity round. Any startup raising venture capital may apply here.

Selection Process: For each regional finals event, three (3) startups will be selected to participate. A total of 60 startup will participate across our 20 regional events, each of which will have its own selection committee of individuals selected by VCIC HQ and regional coordinators, which may include investors, tech leaders and other individuals in the startup ecosystem. All decisions by selection committees are final.

Priorities of Selection Committees: Priority #1 is to identify the top 3 most VC-backable startups in the region. A second priority is to have a variety of sectors represented at the event. Your startup could be the #2 candidate in your preferred region but also be too similar to the #1 selected startup. When this is the case, you may receive an invitation to another region if you have identified other regions on your application.

What size of raise is the best fit? The best candidates are raising their first institutional or later seed stage round, having already raised significant funding from angels and/or friends and family. This may vary by region, but prior funding ideally is in the $150k-1.5M range, with the current raise in the $2-15M range and future plans to raise $5+M. There are always exceptions, so please do not hesitate to apply if you fall outside of these guidelines.

Confidentiality:  VCIC is not a public event, and we take the confidentiality of our startup seriously. Student participants will consent to a non-disclosure agreement. Judges and other startups generally will not unless there is some special circumstance. Contact if you have confidentiality concerns.

Required Materials: Your goal at the event is to get as many term sheets as possible. The best way to do that is to be as forthcoming and transparent as you would with real investors. Please create a robust “investor package” that includes: a robust pitch deck, financials, an equity ask including valuation expectations, and anything else that will help teams with due diligence, such as, product demo videos, market and/or report(s), customer reviews, testimonials, letters of intent, etc.

One Regional Event Only: Startups may be considered for numerous events depending on what you indicate on your application; however, you may only participate in one region. Organizers will make every effort to match you with your preferred region.

Cost to Apply: $0.  Cost to participate: $0

Prize Money: $0. Regional winners will receive a travel stipend to participate in VCIC Global Finals at UNC Kenan-Flagler in Chapel Hill, NC, in April.

How to “win” your Region: It is a simple game. Get the most term sheets from the six participating student VC teams and win Most VC-Backable Startup of that region. In case of a tie, the startup chosen by the winning student VC team will receive the honor. (Note: the VCs in attendance are not directly selecting the winning startup. Rather, they are judging the student VC teams. Usually the winning team and the judges are in agreement about the winning startup.)

Invitation to Global Finals: Winning a regional finals event makes a startup eligible but not guaranteed to be invited to the Global Finals in Chapel Hill, NC. We will have 20 startups winning our regional events but will only have room for 12 startups at Global Finals.

What if you close a round prior to an event?  If you are invited to participate and then close a round of financing prior to the event, please email VCIC coordinators immediately. If your financing has not been publicly disclosed, it is possible that you may still participate.

Who from the startup should pitch? It is most common and most effective to have a founder/CEO pitch at the event, but exceptions can be made in special cases. Up to two other members of the team are invited to attend.

Who is competing, students or the startups? Both. Students are evaluated by the investors/judges on their team’s performance as a VC firm. Startups are judged by the students, who must pick one of the three in which to invest and put down a term sheet.

So, the judges are not judging the startups? Correct, not directly. It is their job to pick the best student team. However, to do so, they are necessarily immersed in a daylong due diligence process with only three startups. They get to know you well. You will receive feedback between various elements of the competition (see what it’s like) and have lunch with the investors. It is difficult to convey the camaraderie at these events, where everyone has come together with a broader goal of education and networking.

More information? Please do not hesitate to email if you have any questions.