UMD's Mtech Pronounces: Business Plan Pitches Are Dead
The six student and faculty finalist teams in the new University of Maryland Business Model Challenge won't be writing business plans or making investor pitches.
Instead, they are assessing the product/market fit of their technologies by talking to prospective customers—lots of customers. The teams then integrate this real-world feedback into their business models, dramatically increasing their value to customers.
It’s hard, frustrating, work but immensely productive and rewarding. What's more, they are mentored by the university's Mtech Ventures team in their customer discovery efforts and given money to travel to customer sites and conduct the necessary interviews.
Finalist teams will have interviewed a minimum of 25 potential customers.
At the final presentations on Friday, April 26, the team that makes the most progress and displays the most ingenuity in integrating their findings into their business model will be awarded additional funding to continue their work and expand their product validation interviews.
"Business plans have their place, just not at the startup phase," said Craig Dye, Director of Mtech's Venture Programs. "The overarching purpose of this approach is to find a repeatable, scalable business model based upon customer feedback. We’re excited to be able to provide UMD students and faculty the opportunity to take their new ventures through a proven process that puts them on a more stable path to success."
Eleven teams, divided into Beginning/Intermediate and Advanced categories, were invited to participate in the Business Model Challenge process from a pool of 44 initial applicants. Up to six teams will present what they learned during the customer development and business model workshop to a panel of judges at the competition finals, held at the University of Maryland on Friday, April 26, from 1-3:30 p.m., in room 1115 of the Computer Science Instructional Center. The event is open to the public (register here).
Beginning/Intermediate level teams include:
Advanced Level Teams include:
The University of Maryland Business Model Challenge, managed by the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), a unit of the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, encourages students, faculty, researchers, staff and recent alumni at UMD and University of Maryland, Baltimore to leverage their talent and ideas to create tomorrow's leading companies. The competition process, its mentors, partners and cash prizes have helped many students, faculty and researchers build their own companies.
Now in its thirteenth year with a new format, the competition was formerly called the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition. Historically, the competition has spurred the commercialization of university technologies and served as a launch pad for multi-million-dollar companies, including AnthroTronix, RioRey, Alertus Technologies, Squarespace and Lurn.
For more information about the University of Maryland Business Model Challenge and the finals event, visit www.bmc.umd.edu.
April 23, 2013