New Venture Contest : Information for Contestants

2012 HBSAB New Venture Competition: Information for Contestants
The HBSAB Alumni New Venture Competition is looking for Big Ideas and Great Teams!

Great exposure to investors, mentoring, coaching, prize money, feedback from very experienced professionals and other non-cash awards. A member of your core team must be an HBS alum. Your revenues must be less than $2 million and invested capital raised to date must be less than $1 million. Great ideas and great teams with no revenue and no capital are welcome!

Long and elaborate written plans are not required for entry. Judging will focus on the quality of the business concept, the team, potential for significant and realistically achievable scale, and the quality of the implementation plans.

All qualified teams will receive real and significant benefits from participation including wide exposure to potential investors.

NVC Benefits include:

  • Cash Prizes. The contest winner will receive a cash prize of $10,000 and the 2nd place finalist will receive $5,000.
  • Exposure to New England Angel and VC Investors.
  • Global exposure. The winner of the HBSAB New England competition will participate in the global HBS competition which will include teams from around the world. The global winner will receive a cash prize of $50,000 and the 2nd place finalist will receive $25,000, plus significant non-cash benefits.
  • Advice, mentorship, and individualized feedback from prominent VCs, angel investors, successful entrepreneurs, and leading professional service providers
  • Panel discussions, workshops, and networking events where all teams will get exposure to investors and professional service providers
  • Non Cash Benefits including:
    • Advice from renowned firms in areas vital to new ventures: accounting and tax issues, corporate entity, intellectual property and other legal issues.
    • Guidance for obtaining growth capital, options for growing an effective team and establishing winning branding and web presence.
    • Qualifying teams will receive expedited entry into the Mass Challenge competition.
    • Teams finishing in the top two will receive considerable free support from sponsor organizations in the above areas as well as expedited entry into the Mass Challenge competition and potential access to incubator office space.
NVP Sponsors

HBSAB NVC Contest Process
** registration has closed **
click here to see participating teams
  1. Are you eligible? (check by going here)
  2. Register your interest/intent (closed)
  3. Do you want a Mentor (March 3 deadline) – Check “Yes” in the above interest/intent survey.
  4. Submit email copy of Business Plan to (registration closed) by 10 PM EST 3/2/12 
  5. Initial screening from business plans to select up to 8 teams for judged presentation
  6. Presentations by up to 8 teams to judges. Final 4 teams selected.
  7. Presentations by final 4 teams to judges and audience.
  8. Awards dinner and announcement of 1st & 2nd place teams.

Contestant Participation

In addition to the competition, all eligible teams will benefit from participation in the full range of NVP events.

  • Speaking panel programs are organized to give the teams access to leading funding, professional service and other resources. "Schedule"
  • The selection of the final winners will include audience inputs - supporters of the teams are encouraged to attend.
  • The 4 finalists will each give 5 minute summaries of their plan at the Awards Dinner. All qualified teams will be acknowledged.
Each eligible team will be given two free tickets to the NVP events including the Awards Dinner.

Questions? email

Important Dates

  • 3/2/2012 (10pm EST) : Business Plan Due (email and Mentor Registration Deadline (complete mentor request survey)
  • 3/9/2012 (10pm EST) : NVP Contest Semi Finalists notified
  • 3/13/2012 : NVP Contest Semi Finals
  • 3/16/2012 : NVP Contest Finalists notified by email or telephone
  • 3/28/2012 : NVP Contest Finals; Spangler Auditorium (HBS campus).
    • 4:30 – 5:00 pm: Registration
    • 5:00 – 7:30 pm: Team Presentations & Judging
    • 7:30 – 8:30 pm: Reception with light dinner, wine & beer
  • 4/11/2012 : HBSAB NVP Contest Awards Dinner at the Spangler Williams Room (HBS Campus). Winner announced and qualifies for Global HBS New Venture Competition(HBS NVC info)
  • 4/23/2012 - 4/24/2012 : Global NVC Finals on HBS campus

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The Prize

The 2012 HBSAB New England competition offers cash prizes of $10,000 and $5,000. In addition to the cash prizes, valuable non-cash resources such as in-kind professional services will be provided.

Eligibility Requirements - Teams must meet the following requirements

  • Each team must have at least one HBS alumnus/a member. 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.
  • Participating teams may not have more than $1,000,000 in total debt and invested equity capital, and must have less than $2,000,000 in revenues. Teams must meet both criteria. Invested capital is defined as funding appearing on the plan’s balance sheet at the time of submission to the regional Hub Club, which is no later than February 29, 2012. It is not necessary that the teams actually be seeking funding—e.g., they may already have raised the small amount of capital they need to reach an initial milestone—or may have a cash flow positive business model that essentially requires no outside capital. Note: investment funds and acquisitions will generally not be considered as "new ventures."

Guidelines - All business plans should clearly articulate

  • The team members, their roles and backgrounds;
  • The product or service, the customer needs it meets, and the market it will serve;
  • The "business model," e.g., how the company makes money; and
  • Income statement, balance sheet and cash flow forecasts for at least three years, including a clear articulation of funding needs, the anticipated timing of funding events, and how these relate to the entity’s accomplishment milestones (e.g., what exactly will you achieve with each round of capital funding). Financing term specifics need NOT be articulated

Suggested Format of Business Plan 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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