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 designated VCIC coordinator.
Team Size: FIVE or SIX students: Except in cases of emergency (to be determined by the VCIC Organizational Team), teams must have at least five members. Each school can send one team. Note: we used to have a designation of “observer,” but that does not exist anymore. All teammates are equal.
No Repeat Rule for Regional Winners Only: If a team wins their regional event, only one teammate may return to compete in a region in a later year.
Faculty/Staff/Outside Advisors: Teams may seek advice from pretty much anyone (see Outside Contact below). Up to two advisors per team may attend the event. These can be faculty, staff and/or outside coaches designated by your school, but no students. Advisors must register themselves separately to attend the event and will be listed on the event web page. Advisors attending the event MAY NOT HAVE ANY CONTACT WITH THEIR TEAM between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on the day of the event.
Outside Contact / Getting Help:
During event, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (including Friday night for MBA Global Finals), teams may have ZERO CONTACT WITH ANYONE, including any attending advisor or coach. If a team is caught communicating with anyone during the event, the team will forfeit. Teams must work entirely independently during the day of the event.
Prior to the 8:30 a.m. on the day of the event, teams are free to seek advice from pretty much anyone who is not directly related to the startups. Teams may not contact anyone directly related to any of the participating startups (customers, employees, investors, etc.). Teams MAY NOT SHARE the pitch deck or any other materials or any proprietary information except as explained below under NDA.
NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement): All participating students are required to consent to the VCIC NDA and MAY NOT share startup materials with anyone outside of their team, except up to three faculty and staff advisors and coaches with @yourschool.edu in their email addresses.
Code Names: Teams will be assigned a tree name. Students should make every effort not to disclose their school identity to judges. Note: school anonymity is mostly for fun. Don’t get all worked up about it. We’ve experimented with real and code names, and folks slightly prefer code names.
Substitutes/Replacing Team Members: Teams may substitute or replace team members anytime up to receiving startup pitch decks two days prior to the day of the event. After receiving pitch decks, teams must get approval from VCIC HQ for an emergency to replace a team member (email firstname.lastname@example.org). The same individuals who competed at a regional finals are not required to compete at the global finals. Whenever a team replaces a team member, the team should re-register with updated information, including a new photo mashup.
Invitation and Entry Fee: VCIC is invitation-only. Your invitation will indicate the regional event to which your school is invited to send a team. Each event is designed for six competing teams. Payment of the entry fee guarantees your school one of those six spots at that regional VCIC event and also indicates your commitment to send a team. Schools dropping out negatively impacts events! If you are unable to send a team, you may be offered a refund at organizers’ discretion if organizers have enough time to recruit another school that is able to pay the entry fee.
Prize Money: It is the responsibility of the winning team to follow up within 60 days with host school organizers to initiate prize money payments, or prize money may be forfeited. Checks are mailed by the host school after the event to individuals designated by winning teams. 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 2023: MBA Global Finals: 1st place–$10,000; 2nd–$5,000; Undergraduate Global Finals: 1st place-$5,000; 2nd–$2,500. All U.S. Regional Finals: 1st place–$1,000. (Note that international regions may have different fee structures and prize money. Check with your regional host or email email@example.com with questions.)
It is worth repeating, it is the winning team’s responsibility to follow up with the host school within 60 days. If you forget, for example, until the middle of your summer internship, you will likely forfeit the prize money as universities have moved into the next fiscal year.
Dress code: Dress like a VC. This may differ by region.
Distribution of Pitch Decks: Decks are 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. Students may NOT share pitch decks with ANYONE (see NDA above).
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 do not know them 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.
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. For example, you cannot call the startup before the event, and during the event, 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.
Written Deliverables: Each team must submit one file only to include a one-page executive summary and a one-page term sheet summary, two pages total, template encouraged. Teams may add 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.
Panel Partner Meetings: These meetings simulate investment committee or partner meetings in which a junior partner (the team) is explaining 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 to further explain your written deliverables. There is no specific time carved out for Q&A. PowerPoint presentations are not allowed as we are focused on the written deliverables.
Individual Partner Meetings: These meetings simulate more informal one-on-one meetings with senior partners. Judges may provide any combination of the following:
- Provide feedback: share what they think you did well or could have done better.
- Ask questions: clarify any earlier performance issues to make sure they have all they need to vote for their top 3 teams.
- Share their perspective: talk about how they would have handled this challenge (which startup they would have chosen, what terms they would have offered, what they would have focused on in due diligence…).
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. Your photo will remain on the VCIC website unless you request otherwise.
Honor Code: It shall be the responsibility of each student to obey and support the enforcement of 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.