OFFICIAL RULES AND REGULATIONS 1. GENERAL iStart Competition is intended to simulate the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting startup funds from early stage investors and venture capital firms. 2. KEY DATES • April
http://www.emanuel.ro/ro.research.center • April 30th 2013 – Business Plan Executive Summary Submission (outline of the business idea) – form on website http://www.emanuel.ro/ro.research.center • May 24th 2013 – Full Business Plan Submission – on email at firstname.lastname@example.org • June 1st - 2nd – Prescreening of business plans for final presentation • June 3rd 2013 – Business Plan Competition
3. BUSINESS IDEA REQUIREMENTS The business ideas submitted to iStart Business Plan Competition are expected to meet the following criteria: 1. Online business – the business activity should be carried out mainly online without the need to rent should storages, factories or shops 2. Mainly services – the business activity should involve mainly services 3. Large marketplace – the business should target big markets such as USA, EU. 4. Original idea 5. Start-up capital – no more than 5.000 EURO required to actually launching the business 6. Launching speed – no more than 2-3 months required to actually launching the business
4. SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS All submissions for iStart (teams registration, executive summary, full business plan) must be done using the official communication channels found in this document. Submissions through other channels will be considered invalid. • Registration of participants must be done by the specified due date using the form on website http://www.emanuel.ro/ro.research.center • Executive summary must be submitted by specified due date using the form on website http://www.emanuel.ro/ro.research.center •
Full Business Plan must be submitted in electronic format at iStart official email address email@example.com. We recommend saving the file in a PDF format to ensure it maintains its characteristics when opened by others. We also recommend having at least 2 hard copies for the Competition Day to hand them to the jury.
* Details regarding the required format for the written business plan are found in section 7.1 of this document! 5. TEAMS - GENERAL REQUIREMENTS The competition is open to all Emanuel University students, enrolled in the academic year 20122013, both Bachelors and Masters, and to external participants as well. Each team must meet the following requirements in order to compete in the 2013 iStart: • Teams must confirm their participation and membership by April 19th 2013 •
Teams must submit the executive summary of their business plan by April 30th 2013
Team Composition: 1. We recommend participants to team up with other aspiring entrepreneurs 2. Master students are encouraged to include at least 1 bachelor student in their teams 3. We encourage forming transdisciplinary teams 4. External participants are recommended to include at least 1 student from Emanuel University in their teams
6. JUDGING CRITERIA AND EVALUATION PROCESS 6.1. GENERAL The competition is intended to simulate the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds. The judges function as venture capital investors deciding on which business venture they would most likely fund. The quality of the idea, the strength of the management team, and the clarity and persuasiveness of the written plan and oral presentation, all influence the judges’ decisions. Ultimately, the winning team is the team in which the judges would most likely invest their money. 2
Most of the judges of the iStart come from the business community and are involved in making early-stage investment decisions on an ongoing basis. Their ranking of the top plans is guided by a scorecard, but should be consistent with the approach that would be used by a venture capital or early-stage investor. Judges in this competition should assume that they would be open to investing in any type of new business venture, assuming that other criteria are met. 6.2. JURY COMPOSITION - SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS The members of the jury will be selected at a later date but no later than 3 days before the competition. During the competition, judges are asked to evaluate each team individually and should not discuss their evaluation with other judges until all judges’ evaluation forms have been submitted. During competition judges are not allowed to coach any of the participating teams. They can do so if the wish only after the competition has ended. 6.3. SCORING – CRITERIA The winners of the competition will be determined by the judges’ ranking of the plans. This ranking will be based on the judges’ willingness to invest in the company. Judges will rank the teams from 1 (team most likely to receive funding) to X 1(team least likely to receive funding). To assist the judges in this decision process the judges will fill-out 2 scorecards for each business plan. The 2 scorecards will cover: Part I Written Business Plan Part II Verbal Presentation
6.4. SCORING PROCESS Each judge will assess the written business plans, oral presentations, and business viability of the participants in the day of the contest. 6.4.1. SCORING FOR WRITTEN BUSINESS PLAN EVALUATION Judges will review the written business plans of each of the teams. Part I of the scorecards is designed to help assess the written business plan, focusing on key elements and the effectiveness of the summary financial data. 1
X – according to the number of teams enrolled in the competition 3
6.4.2. SCORING FOR ORAL PRESENTATIONS Each judge will listen to and evaluate the oral presentations of the teams in day of the contest. Judges will use Part II of the iStart Scorecard as a guide to determine their rankings. Judges will score each team that presents on a scale of 1 (Excellent) to 7 (Very poor). Judges should evaluate each team based on how convincingly they present their business concept, such that the judge would want to learn more about the company as a potential investor. The best teams are those teams that an investor would want to schedule a follow-up meeting for further discussion because they believe this company represents a strong investment opportunity. The best teams should communicate the following: o Clear explanation of their product/service and the problem it solves o How their company is unique and differentiated o Sizable market opportunity and ability to penetrate that market o Viable business model o Clear measures of success o Understanding of how much money is needed and how it will be used The quantitative assessment provided by the Scorecards is only meant to serve as a guide to the judges for ranking the business plans. The rankings will determine the overall winners based on where judges would most likely invest their money. 6.4.3. OVERALL SCORING The winning team/business plan will be determined by the judges ranking of the teams within each of the two parts of the Scorecard. This ranking will be determined after all teams have presented to the judges. The judges will rank the teams from 1 (highest) to 11 (lowest). The scores from all judges will be aggregated and the team with the lowest total score will be declared the winner. In the unlikely event that there should there be a tie after the initial tabulation of rankings, the team with the most number of first place scores will be declared the winner.
7. THE WRITTEN BUSINESS PLAN AND THE PITCH 7.1. WRITTEN BUSINESS PLAN A complete written business plan from the confirmed teams will be submitted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than May 24th 2013. Files should be named according to the following format: BP-CompanyName.pdf 7.1.1. GENERAL GUIDELINES Written business plans are limited to 20 pages of text , typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman font no less than 10pt., and 1” margins on all sides (excluding financial statements). Detailed spreadsheets and appropriate appendices should follow the text portion of the plan but will be limited to 10 pages. Plans with fewer than 10 pages of appendices may not use the remaining pages to increase the size of their business plan beyond 20 pages. In total, the maximum number of pages is 30. 7.1.2. CONTENTS OF THE WRITTEN BUSINESS PLAN Your business plan should include but is not limited to: o Executive Summary o Product or service description o Customer/Market analysis (market size and potential market share) o Sales and Marketing Plan (go-to-market strategy) o Intellectual property status (e.g., patents, licenses, etc.)- if applicable o Competitor Analysis (competitors and your competitive differentiation) o Management team and/or advisors, including relevant experience o Financial highlights (cash flow, income statement, & balance sheet) o Offering of the company (how much investment you are seeking, uses of funding, possible exits) • Business Plan Financial Data: Financial data should include a cash flow statement, income statement, and balance sheet. This data should be included in a summarized fashion in the main section of the business plan. Include an explanation of the offering to investors indicating how much money is required, how it will be used, and possible exit strategies. Detailed financial data and tables should be included in the appendix. • Appendices: should be included only when they support the findings, statements, and observations in the plan. Because of the number of teams in the competition, judges may not be able to read all the material in the appendices. Therefore, the text portion of the plan (20 pages) must contain all pertinent information in a clear and concise manner. All appendices must fall within the 10-page limit; any pages over this limit will not be posted or otherwise provided to the judges.
7.1.3. CHANGES TO YOUR BUSINESS PLAN Once your written business plan is submitted on May 24th 2013 you will not have a chance to modify your written business plan. However, if you feel the need to modify your plan, when you make your oral presentations, you can incorporate these changes into your presentation. 7.2 ORAL PRESENTATION (PITCH)- OVERVIEW The Oral Presentation is your business overview that you should be able to deliver powerfully and concisely to any investor who happens to ride the same elevator as you. The first impression is critical in capturing the attention of a potential investor or customer. The Oral Presentation should provide enough information to pick the interest of potential investors and strategic partners. It should provide a clear picture of the company and its solution. It should be delivered effectively and succinctly. 7.2.1. SUGGESTED GUIDELINES FOR THE ORAL PRESENTATION To help you focus your Oral Presentation, remember to highlight the following key topics – remember you’re just providing a “teaser” to the audience with the purpose of having them ask "tell me more about your company": o Product and service offering (e.g., the problem and your solution) o Brief description of offering o What problem or need does it solve? What are the benefits of your product? o Unique Differentiators o Why is this unique or different from competition? o Is this difference sustainable (e.g., patents, intellectual property, etc.)? o Market Opportunity & Target Customers § Who are the targeted customers? o What is the size of the market? o Is there evidence they will buy the product? o Business Model – how will the company generate profitable revenue? o Milestones and Success Metrics o What are the success metrics? o Capital Needs o How much funding is needed to move forward? o How will the money be used? o Why is your business an attractive investment? Common Oral Presentation Mistakes 1. No energy and passion in the presentation 2. Too much technical language; focusing on the technology rather than the customer need 3. Failure to explain what customer problem you are trying to solve 4. Too much discussion about the idea and product and not enough explanation about the market, business opportunity, and revenue models 8