Responding to current realities in the startup world, the UC Berkeley Bplan Competition─ Haas' marquee startup competition─has changed its format and name to the UC Berkeley Startup Competition.
The competition not only gives rising startups the opportunity to showcase their venture and attain critical funding, but also pushes teams to further their ideas by working with leading members of the entrepreneurial community and iterating their business model. Its new format reflects a shift in the competition's deliverables from a long-form business plan to an executive summary, "business model canvas," customer feedback summary, a ten-slide pitch, and a prototype.
The new format was unveiled last fall as teams were required to submit executive summaries in January. An initial pool of more than 150 entries has been winnowed down to 37 semifinalists in four different tracks: IT & Web, Life Sciences, Energy & Cleantech, and Products & Services. From those 37 semifinalists, judges will choose eight finalists─ two per track─ at a private event on April 24. First-place track winners will receive $5,000 each, and second-place track winners will receive $1,000 each.
On April 26, the eight finalists will make another private presentation to a new panel of judges─ startup lawyers, venture capitalists, and angel investors─ who will choose the winner of the $20,000 grand prize.
That evening, at 6 p.m., the public finals in Andersen Auditorium will offer the Haas community a chance to learn about the teams and award some prizes of their own. After the eight finalists pitch their businesses one last time, live voting will determine who wins the $5,000 People’s Choice Award. Then, the remaining semifinalists will compete for $1,000 with one-minute elevator pitches.
This year’s semifinalists include Facebook app ConcertCrowd, solar water-heating company ColSolAgua, and lunch-delivery service Fresh Picks.