The 2010 HBS Alumni New Venture Contest (NVC)

With over half of HBS alumni classifying themselves as entrepreneurs at some point in their lives, this Contest is designed to shine a spotlight on alumni ventures, support promising new ventures and award a $25,000 cash prize to the winning team.

Contest Overview: This year's NVC is the first of what HBS is hoping will be an annual event for HBS alumni.Local Contests will be held at eight HBS Alumni Clubs around the world, including ours here in Boston.  Other clubs participating this year include New York, Chicago, Northern California, Southern California, London, Brazil and India.  It will truly be an international competition!

"in the news"

>> One Entrepreneur to be Awarded Funds to Launch Idea (press release, 11/24/09)
>> HBS Launches New Entrepreneurial Contest (Harvard Crimson, 12/02/09)


HBS Alumni Club of Boston Timeframe and Events, all at HBS:

12/1/09, 6pm-9pm       HBS Alumni NVC Kick-Off and Expert Panel (Location: Hawes 101)

1/19/10, 6pm-9pm       Practice Pitch  Sessions with Judges & Feedback ("Evaluation Sheet")

                                     (VC, PE & Entrepreneur Judges will use same evaluation criteria utilized to select finalist)  

2/20/10, 10pm             Full plans due

2/28/10                        Top 10 teams selected and notified

3/16/10, 6pm-9pm       Top 10 teams present, top 3 teams selected

3/30/10                        Top 3 teams present to decide winner of the Boston competition

4/26/10                        Global NVC Finals at HBS

Prize: There will be one $25,000 first prize awarded at the April Finals. In addition, every finalist team will receive some mentoring from an HBS faculty member prior to the judging, as well as participate in an educational session on campus during the Finals.

Criteria: Teams/plans will be judged on the likelihood of creating a successful, significant new venture. This "Evaluation Sheet", which will be used during both the local and finals rounds, will give teams a better sense of the specific criteria. Note that investment funds and acquisitions will generally not be considered as "new ventures."

Eligibility: Teams must meet the following requirements:

Each team must have at least one (1) HBS alumnus/a. The HBS alumnus/a needs to be a substantive member of the founding team, with a senior management and operating position and participation in the company's equity pool in a manner consistent with that role and position. At least one (1) of the HBS alumni must be among the group (of a maximum of two (2) team members) who appears in Boston and presents at the NVC Finals in April.

  • Participating teams may not have raised/utilized more than $250,000 in total debt and equity capital, and must have less than $250,000 in revenues. It is not necessary that the teams actually be seeking funding. I.e., they may already have raised the small amount (less than $250,000) of capital they need to reach an initial milestone, or they may have a very cash flow positive business model that essentially requires no outside capital.
Submissions: In general, written business plans are preferable to "PowerPoint" style plans because the reader can more fully grasp the logic and substance of a plan. Slide decks generally rely on this to be filled in by the presenter, but the presenter may not be there during the initial view of the plans by the judges. That having been said, we do recognize the reality that many businesses develop only a "PowerPoint" style plan, and those plans are acceptable submissions. However, in the instances when a "PowerPoint" style plan is submitted, we also require a 2-5 page executive summary of the business plan.Either a "PowerPoint" or a prose style plan should meet the following guidelines: no more than 35 pages of either a prose plan or slide deck plus executive summary. Also, the material should clearly articulate:
  • the product or service;
  • the market need/pain it is designed to address;
  • the team, their background, skills and experience, and their current level of effort/commitment to the venture;
  • the target customer and market, competitive landscape, how that customer will be reached, and the potential of the opportunity, including the size and growth of that market;
  • the technology—if any—on which the underlying product or service is based; and, if it based on a technology, the status of its development and a clear picture of the IP landscape and the protection/defensibility the team believes it will have;
  • the competitive advantage and defensibility of the business; and
  • the financial potential of the business, including: projected income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements for at least 3 years—preferably on a quarterly basis—in order to present a clear picture of the capital needs of the business, the anticipated timing of these capital requirements, a notion of when the business will achieve cash break-even. In addition, the financial plan in conjunction with the narrative should provide a picture of what will be achieved with each tranche of capital, in terms of risks reduced and business objectives achieved.

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