The spirit of the competition is to allow companies conceived and developed during the graduate school experience to participate. This means excluding companies that were started before graduate school admission or are an expansion of an established business.
This document sets out guidelines to capture these goals. Not every circumstance can be anticipated. We reserve the right to disqualify any team that violates the rules, regulations or the spirit of the competition. Any questions regarding eligibility should be sent to the VLIC Director, Rob Adams.
Faculty advisors are responsible for ensuring their teams meet these requirements. The teams are also responsible for ensuring their own eligibility.
If at any point you have questions about the rules please send an email to infoVLIC@mccombs.utexas.edu for clarification
- Teams requiring non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) should not participate.
- All sessions of the competition are open to the public and may be broadcast to interested persons through media which may include radio, television and the Internet.
- Any data or information discussed or divulged throughout the competition should be considered information that will enter the public domain.
- The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business and the organizer of the Venture Labs Investment Competition may make photocopies, photographs, video recordings and/or audio recordings of the presentations including the business plan and other documents, charts, media or other material prepared for use in presentation at VLIC.
- The above entities may use the materials in any book or other printed materials and any videotape or other medium that they may produce, provided that any profits earned from the sale of such items is used by these entities solely to defray the costs of future Venture Labs Investment or affiliated Competitions. These entities have non-exclusive world rights in all languages, and in all media, to use or to publish the materials in any book, other printed materials, videotapes or other medium, and to use the materials in future editions thereof and derivative products.
Written Business Plans
- The business plan is required for each team at submission, but may not be evaluated by the judges. In the case of a particularly engaging executive summary, the judges are encouraged to include the business plan in their decision.
- Plans should be submitted as a single, printable PDF file. The documents are limited to no more than 10 pages (not including a single cover page and single table of contents page) and can include up to 6 additional pages of appendices. Page format is 1.5 line spacing with 1 inch top, bottom, left and right margins, and 12-point font. This line spacing and font requirement applies to the textual content of the document and not to titles and descriptions accompanying pictures, graphs, tables or worksheets. All pages must be numbered excluding the cover page. The cover page must include venture name and university affiliation.
- Financial data should include cash flow, income statement, and balance sheet details.
- Delineate the exit strategies if equity is part of the offering.
- Appendices should be included only when they support the findings, statements and observations in the plan.
- The presentation format is 30 minutes running clock. Judges may interrupt at any time with questions.
- Each member of the team present at the competition must participate fully in the formal presentation of the plan.
- Teams may not observe other teams’ sessions in their division until after they have presented their own plan.
- Each team needs to supply its own PC-compatible laptop computer and is responsible for assuring it works with the provided audio-visual equipment in advance of their presentation.
The competition is for student created, managed, and owned ventures. This is the most common area for requested rules clarification. The guidelines are:
- Students played a major role in conceiving the venture by having key management roles and owning significant equity in the venture.
- Significant equity is 50% or more of the equity allocated to the management team and key advisors.
- The objective of this rule is to exclude ventures formed and managed by non-students who have token student representation to compete on the investment circuit.
This is a competition for graduate students; teams with a minority of undergraduates can compete. Students from any graduate program (not just MBAs) are eligible to participate, including executive and evening format programs. Non-students may be members of the venture’s management team and may participate in planning the venture, however only students may participate in the competition.
Any team participating in an undergraduate competition, regardless of team re-configuration, is disqualified from the Venture Labs Investment Competition.
The competition is for students currently enrolled in graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin. Executive or evening program formats are eligible in the next competition season following their graduation.
Nature of Ventures
Companies must intend to be operating companies with corporate structures and financial statements that reflect real operating revenues and expenses. This is intended to exclude investment vehicles, partnerships, licensing and other pass-through entities where returns are measured for investment value versus operating earnings.
The competition focuses on new, independent ventures in the seed, start-up or early growth stages. In addition to what is outlined in the above paragraph, generally excluded are the following: buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, roll-ups, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchise based outlets, 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 there has been no previous commercialization. Key in these types of ventures is demonstrating significant added value to the technology through the efforts of the management team.
All ventures must be seeking outside equity capital.
Ventures with revenues in prior academic years are excluded. Ventures that have raised investment capital from sources outside of friends and family before the current academic year are excluded. Ventures and their base concepts may compete for only one season in the Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition.