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Penn Wharton Startup Challenge
May 02, 2020

To find the best entrepreneur who can show that their startups are ready to become the next big thing in any industry

Saturday, May 2, 2020
Watch online live as the 8 Finalist Teams in the Penn Wharton Startup Challenge pitch their new ventures to a distinguished panel of alumni judges and compete for $130K in cash and in-kind awards.

We’re looking for the very best Penn student entrepreneurs who can show that their startups are ready to become the next big thing in any industry.

Eligibility Requirements
- Team Leader
The Team Leader must be a currently enrolled, degree-candidate student of the University of Pennsylvania (graduate or undergraduate) at the time of the first round deadline. The Team Leader must have played a significant role in conceiving the venture, hold a key management role in the venture, be actively involved in the business venture, and may be required to be the primary presenter for the pitch events related to the PWSC. Students on a Leave of Absence are not permitted to be a Team Leader, although they are permitted to be a Team Member. The Team Leader must be able to be physically present for all events related to the PWSC, including but not limited to the Semifinals and Finals pitch rounds at the Penn Wharton Startup Showcase.

- Team Members
Teams are permitted to have members who are not students at the University of Pennsylvania, but the Team Leader must lead the team and drive the venture development. Non-members of the University community may not use University of Pennsylvania students primarily as a vehicle to participate in the PWSC. Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship may disqualify a team of it determines in its sole judgment, that a Penn student is being used as a front by others.
There is no limit to the maximum or minimum number of people on each team. Individual students may enter, and an individual may participate on more than one team.

- Ventures
To be eligible to participate in the PWSC, a venture must be a new venture/new business (non-profit businesses are eligible).
An existing business is only eligible if it has received less than $150,000 in institutional funding before the team leader and members enrolled/started classes at the University of Pennsylvania. If any member of the venture takes a leave of absence from the university, this ‘restarts the clock’. For example, a student who takes a leave of absence after junior year, raises over $150K in institutional funding while on leave, and then returns for senior year, is not eligible to enter that venture in the PWSC. A student who raises over $150K in funding over the summer between the 1st and 2nd year of the MBA program is eligible to enter that venture in the PWSC. Teams who bring on an additional team member to circumvent this criteria will not be eligible to participate. Institutional funding includes any funding from angel investors, VCs, and/or accelerator/incubator programs.

Judging Criteria
- Value proposition
- Originality, innovation and thoughtfulness
- Impact on big problem
- Differentiation from the existing competition
- User experience
- Identification and addressing of major relevant risks, and inclusion of contingency plans
Preparation for Launch
- Target market and customer identification and segmentation
- Pricing model
- Core revenue model and ancillary revenue streams

Semifinalists and Finalists will be required to provide 3-5 year financial projections

Execution Plan
- Marketing strategy
- Sales strategy
- Plan to scale
- Product development
- Traction-to-date (relationships with key market participants, sales, downloads, website traffic, etc.)
- Future measurable, achievable milestones
- Expertise of founding team
- Commitment and motivation of founding team
- Strategy to attract additional key people
Wharton School
Grant Thornton
$15,000 cash prize
$10,000 cash prize