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Applications for VentureCat 2023 are now closed.

To receive updates for students on VentureCat news, deadlines and more, please join the student e-mail list.

The application will entail:

  • 10 slide pitch deck
  • 60 second simple elevator pitch video (no graphics, just you speaking to camera)
  • Application questions based on the judging criteria (see below)
  • A completed W9 for your company - please read full details on the eligibility requirements page

VentureCat is a startup competition, not a business idea competition. Applicants should be able to demonstrate that they have taken concrete steps to build a product or service that is addressing a market need. Teams may be in different stages with their businesses, but all applicants need to show progress beyond an initial idea.  

Review the judging criteria below and determine if you are ready to address each area. Many applicants will be pre-revenue, although some may have already shown traction via sales or pilot programs.   

Student founders should be actively working on your startup and able to demonstrate your level of commitment.

The judging criteria for all stages of application and competition is as follows:


  • Significant problem identified
  • Validated by primary or secondary research
  • Customer groups sized and identified

PROPOSITION (Value Prop & Business Model)
  • Compelling solution with path to scalability or growth
  • Differentiated customer value
  • Demonstrated understanding of the competitive marketplace 
  • Business model outlined with realistic revenue sources

PROGRESS (Progress & Traction)
  • Progress beyond idea stage: examples could include - proof of concept, customer research, customer outreach, testing, product development, patent or trademark application, sales, etc.
  • Proposal for additional funding to accelerate progress


  • Presentation materials and Q&A demonstrates expertise, commitment, coachability, and thoughtful approach
  • Immediate term and near-term team needs and skills identified
  • Commitment to continuing beyond graduation

Learn more about the VentureCat program

Hear from past participants about their experience and the long-lasting impact.

Resources to Prepare