Each team must meet the following requirements in order to compete in the 2014 InNOLEvation Challenge:

Student Enrollment: The competition is for students enrolled in a degree program (students enrolled only in certificate programs are not eligible) in the current academic year, i.e., from August/September 2013 through June 2014.  Students who graduated in the preceding academic year are not eligible to participate.  However, an exception will be made for students who both worked on their business plan or technology in the prior academic year and graduated during the preceding summer, i.e., the summer of 2013.

Team Size: A team should include at least one student and not exceed five students. Non-student team members are welcome to attend the Final Stage with the student team, but are prohibited from participating in the presentations or Q&A sessions. Faculty advisors or other team mentors are encouraged to attend.

Team Composition: This is a competition for all students (undergraduate and graduate), and at least one student must be a member of the venture’s startup management team.  All graduate students, not just MBA candidates, are eligible to participate in the competition.  This includes executive MBAs, MD candidates, JD candidates, other Masters candidates, and PhD Candidates.  Individuals in University Postdoctoral positions are not eligible to compete as students.

Non-students may be members of the venture’s management team and may participate in planning the venture.  However, only students may present the plan and answer questions from the competition judges.  The maximum number of student competitors on a team participating in the competition is five (5), although there is no restriction on the total size of the venture’s founding team.

Outside Funding: All ventures must be seeking outside equity capital, typically early stage venture investment or early stage angel investment.  Except in the case of teams entering into socially responsible ventures, all ventures must be “for profit” entities.

Student Involvement: The competition is for student created and managed ventures, including new ventures launched by licensing university technology.  Students are expected to:

  1. be the driving force behind the new venture,
  2. have played the primary role in developing the business plan,
  3. have key management roles in the venture, and
  4. own significant equity in the venture.

In general, a member of the student team should be CEO, COO, or President of the venture, or members of the student team should occupy 50% or more of the functional area management positions that report directly to the CEO, COO, or President.

Members of the student team are expected to also own equity in the new venture.  It is anticipated that the presenting students should own 50% of the equity that is allocated to the management team, and 20% overall equity.  (One objective of this rule is to exclude ventures formed and managed by non-students who have given little or no equity to students for writing their business plan.)

The competition is supportive of teams that have created a business plan to launch a new venture based on university-developed research and innovations.  A goal of the competition is to support the commercialization of promising university technologies through the licensing of technologies to start-up ventures.

Recognizing that the equity structure of these new university-based ventures may not yet be established, the 50% equity ownership rule may be waived in this situation.  This waiver will be examined on a case-by-case basis.

The Jim Moran Institute has the final decision on which teams are invited to compete in The InNOLEvation Challenge – The Jim Moran Institute Business Plan Competition and reserves the right to include or exclude any teams for any reasons.

University Sponsored: We highly recommend that the business plan be prepared under faculty supervision. Ideally, the business plan will be prepared for credit in a regularly scheduled course or as an independent study. The business plan must represent the original work of members of the team. While not required, all teams are strongly encouraged to send faculty or other university advisors to accompany their team to the Finale/Shark Tank Stage.

Nature of Ventures: The competition is for new, independent ventures in the seed, start-up, or early growth stages.  Generally excluded are the following: buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area, and spin-outs from existing corporations.  Licensing technologies from universities or research labs is encouraged, assuming they have not been commercialized previously.

Prior Activity: Once a venture finishes in the top ten, they will not be eligible to compete in any subsequent InNOLEvation Challenge competitions.

Ventures that have raised equity capital from sources other than the members of the student team or their friends and families before the current academic year, i.e., before August, 2013, are excluded.  However, both student and other team members may have worked on an idea or new technology in previous academic years or in the case of the student team members even prior to entering graduate school, provided that their venture raised no outside equity capital prior to the current academic year.


Shark Tank Finale 2014


1 Wavelet


3 BarStool App

4 ArrowDynamix

5 AstroQueue



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