Startup Challenge 2015 FAQs

We will maintain a list of frequently asked questions on this blog post, which is also linked from the main contest webpage.

Am I eligible to enter?

There’s a quick checklist on the competition webpage, but we’ve reproduced it here for completeness’ sake. If you can answer yes to all these questions then you are most likely eligible to enter, but you’ll still need to check the official rules for the small print:

  • Is your corporation, LLC, partnership, non-profit, or other corporate entity already legally formed?
  • Do you employ fewer than 50 people?
  • Is your revenue or balance sheet capital under US$10 million?
  • Is the product or service you are entering new and not yet commercially available?
  • If your product is based on an open source technology, has it made substantial additions or changes to it?
  • Are you and your country free from any trade restrictions or sanctions enforced by the United States?

Can I enter as an individual?

Yes, and no. According to the official rules:

The Competition is open only to corporations (including not-for-profit corporations and other nonprofit organizations), limited liability companies, partnerships, and other legal entities that, at the time of entry are legally formed, and employ fewer than fifty (50) people and have under $10 million in revenue or balance sheet capital (“Organizations”). Size of organization shall include any affiliates, parent, or subsidiary entities.

Thus you cannot enter as an individual, but you can enter if you are a legally incorporated corporate entity with only one employee, i.e. yourself.

Can I enter if I just have a great idea but no business plan?

No. The judging process will of course take into account how good the idea is, but it will also place a lot of emphasis on how good your plan is to turn that idea into a commercial success. You can check the full judging criteria in the official rules.

If you’ve got an idea that you want the Pistoia Alliance to investigate further but have no plans to turn it into a business yourself, then feel free to submit it to IP3 for the Pistoia Alliance community to discuss.

Who is round 2 open to?

Round 2 is only open to the finalists with the highest scores awarded by the judges at the end of round 1. No new entries will be accepted for round 2.

Will you be publishing or sharing my business proposal?

No. Only the judges will see the business proposals. However, as part of the entry process you will be asked to submit a one-paragraph summary of your plan that will be published openly. Please bear this in mind when writing the public summary so that you don’t include anything confidential or sensitive in it.

Will I know who judged my entry?

No. The identity of the judges will not be disclosed.

What if one of the judges is employed by my competitor?

All our judges are asked to sign up to a code of conduct that requests them not to read or score any entry that might represent a potential conflict of interest. They will make this decision after reading your public summary paragraph.

Will I get any feedback even if I’m not a finalist or winner?

All entrants will receive written feedback from the judges.

Can I register my interest now and complete my entry later?

Yes. The iStart system allows you to create your entry without completing all the fields. You have right up until the deadline to complete or edit your entry and submit it.

What is “commercially available”?

We are running this Challenge to support new ideas that are not available on the market while the Challenge is in progress. This means that they cannot be bought and/or installed by a customer before the Challenge winners are announced (mid-February 2015). We understand that some companies use early-adopter sales to support pre-launch development of a new product, and so we would disregard any early-adopter sales when considering commercial availability.

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