Student Eligibility: Any student currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program or within six months of graduating from such a program is eligible to represent a university and/or business school at the discretion of that school’s VCIC faculty advisor.

Team Size: FIVE students: Except in cases of emergency (to be determined by the VCIC Organizational Team), teams must have five members.


  • No Repeat Rule for Global/National Finalists Only: Students are allowed to return the next year to compete a second time in a regional VCIC event UNLESS the student competed in the national or global finals in Chapel Hill.
  • Additional Participants: each team may bring up to two (2) additional participants, either staff, faculty and/or students. Students may be either role. Staff and Faculty MUST be Judge Shadows (updated 1/31/20).  Additional participants may compete in future events.
    • Team Shadow: Stay with the team all day. Help/coach team in the study room but do not participate in live sessions with founders or judges.
    • Judge Shadow: Stay with the judges all day. Observe all the teams. Hear the judges’ comments between sessions. Attend the judges’ lunch meeting during which they discuss their analysis of the startups. Provide invaluable feedback to the team at the end of the event. ABSOLUTELY NO CONTACT WITH TEAM DURING EVENT, or the team may face disqualification.
  • School Anonymity: No more in 2020! Your team name will be your school name.

Substitutes/Replacements: Teams may substitute or replace team members at any time for any reason. The same individuals who competed at a regional finals are not required to compete at the global finals. Please re-register your team with updated information, including new photo mashup.

Outside Contact: There are no restrictions on students contacting anybody for help prior to 9AM the day of the event. 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, other than a team shadow (see above).

Prize Money in U.S.: Checks are mailed by the host school 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. In other words, if you forget to follow up until summer break, then you should go ahead and forget about it forever. University accounting systems may not be able to accommodate the late request due to fiscal and academic year endings. Expect 6-8 weeks to process prize money payments, and taxes may be withheld, depending on policies at the host university. Often a social security number is necessary for processing payment, again depending on the policies of the host school. Prize money for 2019 U.S. regions: MBA Global Finals: 1st place–$5,000, 2nd–$2,500; Undergraduate Global Finals: 1st place-$2,000, 2nd-$1,000. All Regional Finals: 1st place–$1,000. (Note that international regions often have different fee structure and prize money. Check with your regional host or email with questions.)

Dress code: Dress like a VC. This may differ by region.

Non–Disclosure for Pitch Decks: Students are required to sign a general non–disclosure agreement (NDAs) to help ensure a culture of respect for our startups, without whom we would not have an event. Per the NDA, students may NOT share startup materials with anyone outside of the team. 

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 Judge or Founder: 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

Inside Information: If you happen to be familiar with one of the startups pitching at your event, you should focus on the materials and information available for this event and not introduce any information not available to current participants. Be careful that you are not working off old assumptions that may have changed. Also, note that judges may not be familiar with information outside of the context of the event.

Startup Pitches: No questions are allowed during presentations.

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.

Written Deliverables: Each team must submit a one-page executive summary (for judges only) and a one-page term sheet summary (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: These 10-minute meetings simulate investment committee or partner meetings 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: 10-minute negotiation followed by 3-minute Q&A from judges (optional), but sometimes our judges insist on a few questions. Be ready for it! 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 rule

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.