39th INSEAD Venture Competition


The Rudolf and Valeria Maag INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship

Empowering entrepreneurs to build new businesses

The INSEAD Venture Competition is a bi-yearly competition that represents a natural and exciting step in the INSEAD entrepreneurial students venture’s development, allowing them to pitch their venture concept and planning. Whether they become winners of prizes, go on to implement their ideas or simply take advantage in the learning, the competition represents a valuable initiative for entrepreneurs to build on their ideas and take their ventures forward.

The prize purse from our generous supporters comprise:

  • €35,000 for the winner of the IVC
  • €15,000 for 2nd place winner
  • €5,000 for Patrick Turner MBA'78 Prize
  • €5,000 for Coromandel Foundation Social Impact Award (Optional*)
  • €5,000 for Low Tech Award (Optional*)

      * To be awarded at the discretion of the judging panel

Dates to remember

Teams go through three rigourous stages of the competition that culminate in a final with the best teams pitching their ventures to a panel of judges. Judges will use a scoresheet with elements found under IVC Criteria as a guide for judging each entry.

Stage 1: Call for entry – Team registration / Venture summary / Judges’ screening

Application open: Mon, 2 September 2019
Closing date : Mon, 30 September at 09:00 CEST / 15:00 SGT
Announcments of semi-finalists: Thu, 24 October

  • Teams to submit their venture summaries (up to 4-page).
  • Submissions screen by judges from the pool of INSEAD Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EiRs). Each venture summary assess by at least three screening judges.
  • Judges will evaluate based on quality of venture summary to determine the most compelling ventures (up to twelve) to progress to the next stage of the competition.

Stage 2: Submission of full venture plan / Semi-finals

Closing date: Wed, 6 November at 09:00 CET / 16:00 SGT
IVC Semi-finals: Wed, 20 November

  • Semi-finalists to submit full venture plan (maximum 25 pages, including exhibits and appendices).
  • Teams will be connected to at least 2 mentors.
  • Teams will have a total of 10 minutes (5 mins pitch / 5 mins Q&A) to present to judges. Judges will select up to six top teams as finalist.

Stage 3: Revised venture plan (optional) / Finals

Closing date: Mon, 25 November at 09:00 CET / 16:00 SGT
IVC Finals: Wed, 4 December

  • Finalists have the option to submit revised venture plans.
  • Finalists will have a total of 15 minutes (7 mins + 8 mins Q&A) to pitch their ventures to judges who are entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, incubators and spotters of entrepreneurial talent.
  • All teams’ presentations are across campus with judges on both Fontainebleau and Singapore campuses (linked via webcam/video conference).
  • Mentoring and Practice Pitches will be organised for teams in the Semifinals and Final rounds.
  • Only Final presentations are videotaped and along with all documents and materials may be used in future INSEAD MBA Electives and as examples for future IVCs.
Tips to consider:
  • If you have social impact built into your business model, do not forget to mention it in your pitch!  (Also, do not force social impact into your venture if there is not one. The judges will be able to know if it is genuine or not.)
  • It is always helpful to mention how you will use the prize money if you should win.
  • If you can answer the questions without a slide, go for it!  Do not lose valuable seconds by clicking around to search for an appendix slide when you can just say the answer.

Know your rules!

The INTERNAL competition is open only to current INSEAD degree programmes of MBAs, EMBAs (GEMBA and or/TIEMBA) and MFin participations. Teams must have an INSEAD degree programme participant who will play a primary role to develop the venture plan and pitch to the judges. The member would then be a significant part, as a founder/co-founder, should the team wins in the competition. A panel of distinguished judges, who are either venture capitalist, angel investors and/or entrepreneurs, will designate the prize and award winners of the competition.


  • Maximum of 6 members. Each member can only participate in the submission of ONE ENTRY to the competition. Multiple entries are not allowed. Involvement of team members from outside INSEAD is admissible.

  • Venture idea should come from the INSEAD degree programme participants. They should also be the ones to prepare most of the plan and deliver the presentation. External or outside INSEAD members can only participate in the Q&A sessions.

  • Add or drop of members allowed until before the semifinals submission of the venture plan.

  • Past competition, prizewinners are not to compete. Any teams that did not win in any cash prize in previous competition may compete with the same business idea but should show significant highlights of growth made over the last plan.


  • New venture defined as not formed, in operation or incorporated earlier than 12 months at the time of announcement of the current competition “Call for Entry”.

  • Have not yet received any funding/investment in exchange for equity/ownership from outside the founding team, friends and family (this includes all forms of convertible investment instruments).

  • May have qualified for grants, but the grant is not tied to equity or ownership or voting rights of any kind.

  • No restrictions regarding business sector other than the business activities must be legal. Social-oriented ventures are admissible and encouraged.
    Evaluated for all round viability more than just the written plan. See judging criteria.

Confidentiality & IP protection

  • IVC participants are responsible for any information that they share as part of the competition. The INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship (ICE) takes no responsibility for unwanted or unintended disclosure of protectable ideas or content shared by the participants or teams. It is advisable for participants to seek their own legal counsel if they have any questions regarding the protection of their ideas or content.

  • Entries to the competition must agree to make their venture summaries and plans available for INSEAD’s pedagogical purposes. Videoes of Finalist presentations will be uploaded and make available online after each competition.

  • The Executive Committee of the INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship reserves the rights to update these rules at any time.

Only for Winners - Claim of prize monies

  • The winning team members must be founders on the founding company’s documents. If a member is no longer involved or if the newly incorporated company’s name is different from the original winner’s prize award, all IVC team members will have to submit a written approval before the claim of the prize money.

  • Team members are responsible amongst themselves for any agreements, ownership rights and engagements before, during and after the competition.

  • Winners will need to incorporate their company legally (anywhere in the world), within six months after the official announcement. The company must have an official account with the necessary bank details. Disbursement of fund will be to this account only and not individual founding members.

Winning prizes

The judges will determine the awards using a combination of raw scores, rankings and any other means that they deem appropriate at the time. Feedback are encouraged and given to teams as determined by the IVC and ICE leadership. Such feedback may or may not fully represent all factors considered by the judging panel when determining the winners of any prize.

First place - Thomas C. Barry Prize: €35,000

  • + Automatic berth in the summer NAA UK Entrepreneurs Group Business Angel Event
  • + $15,000 in AWS Promotional Credit and 1 year of AWS Business Support
  • + Bespoke introduction and access to leading investors in your choice of Europe (Central Europe, Eastern Europe and/or Israel), the UK, the US (Silicon Valley and/or New York), and Asia (Singapore and/or Hong Kong). The offer is open to the winning team, either the team collectively or the team members individually.
  • + 30 days development support from MOHARA
  • + Free incorporation and Free Corporate secretary from BlueMeg Basic Tier (USD 650 per annum; applies for simple structures, that have up to 5 individual directors/shareholders) for the first year of services

Second place: €15,000

  • + 10 days development support from MOHARA
  • + $15,000 in AWS Promotional Credit and 1 year of AWS Business Support
  • + Free incorporation and 75% discount on Corporate secretary from BlueMeg Basic Tier (USD 650 per annum; applies for simple structures, that have up to 5 individual directors/shareholders) for the first year of services

Patrick Turner MBA'78 Prize: €5,000

  • + $15,000 in AWS Promotional Credit and 1 year of AWS Business Support
  • + Free incorporation and 50% discount on Corporate secretary from BlueMeg Basic Tier (USD 650 per annum; applies for simple structures, that have up to 5 individual directors/shareholders) for the first year of services

Coromandel Foundation Social Impact Award: €5,000 (optional) – Venture that has meaningful social impact. Possibility of further mentorship and additional seed funding based on the discretion of the Coromandel Foundation.

Low Tech Award: €5,000 (optional) – Venture with a focus on retail or consumer goods.

Our distinguished supporters

The competition funds and supports come from our generous INSEAD alumni and industry partners. Their mission is to help build great entrepreneurial leaders and successful ventures for our students.

  • Rudolf Maag, MBA'73 for his kind and generous support for entrepreneurship activities at INSEAD.
  • Thomas C. Barry for his kind and generous support of the IVC First Place Award.
  • Neil Raymond, MBA’98J and Pacific Prime for their kind support to the IVC.
  • Ben Ling GEMBA’16A for his kind support to the IVC.
  • All alumni and friends of INSEAD who donated to the Patrick Turner MBA’78 Memorial Fund
  • Kathryn From, MBA‘91J for supporting the Low Tech Award.
  • Sajan Koch, EMBA’08D for supporting the Coromandel Foundation Social Impact Award.
  • David M. Roth for his support to the IVC and his role as a Chairperson.
  • Ben Blomerley, MBA'11J
  • National Alumni Association UK Entrepreneurs Group Business Angel for providing a pitching berth at its event.
  • Ian Brown, IEP’00 and Entrepreneur in Residence for providing an in-kind prize of introduction and access to leading investors.
  • MOHARA and Ben Blomerley, MBA'11J for providing development support.
  • BlueMeg
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Ideas on Stage


Only for current INSEAD MBA, EMBAs (GEMBA and or/TIEMBA) and MFIN students. Registration is CLOSED.

Registrants are to submit their entry along with the 4-page venture summary. Each team is allowed a minimum of one member and maximum of six members.

To access the registration page, you will need to use your INSEAD email account and password. If you are denied access to the site, kindly check the rules on your eligibility. If you have forgotten your password or have issues with your login, please send your request to the INSEAD IT Service Desk.

Register Here

39th IVC Semi-finals

Up to twelve teams will be selected to present to panel of judges in Singapore and Fontainebleau campuses. If a team member is based in another campus where the main team member is presenting, he/she could join in the presentation via Webex audio/video link. Each team will have 5 minutes for presentation followed by 5 minutes Q&A from the judges.

Programme for Wednesday, 20 November 2019
Agenda (Tentative)
3.50 pm8.50 amWelcome Address
4.00 pm9.00 amTeam Bye-Buy: Makoto Ibi, Yooyoung Lee & Akito Miyakawa – MBA19D
4.15 pm9.15 amTeam Native: Denis Arendt, Reina Cheng - GEMBA
4.30 pm9.30 amTeam Right&Physio: Francisco Cary, Jack Nolan – MBA19D
4.45 pm9.45 amTeam RoundPeg: Chris Leung, Vallari Gore, Sukh Jolly – MBA19D
5.00 pm10.00 amTeam Self-ie: William Park, Diana Mok – MBA19D, Pauline Thanusutiyaporn, Joey Donovan & Jodi Vongvanij
5.15 pm10.15 amBreak – Campus Switch
5.30 pm10.30 amTeam Alfie Gin: Alfredo Molinas, Duc Le, Lisa Dominguez, Yuki Ojima, Jung Hahn – MBA20J & David Good
5.45 pm10.45 amTeam waterFUL: Julia Streuli, Cristina Prat Taranilla, Sara Guaglio, Danielle Dennewald – MBA19D
6.00 pm11.00 amTeam FunDa: Shiyu Wu, Xu Ren – MBA20J & Zhipeng Wang
6.15 pm11.15 amTeam Micro Escola: João Augusto Zaratine, Rodrigo Bergmann, Ricardo Moreira, Beatriz Costa Madeira, Felipe Cirne Lima – MBA20J
6.30 pm11.30 amTeam Move-it: Eleanore An, Gokalp Aslan, Olesia Kurganova, Isha Dhoble – MBA20J
6.45 pm11.45 amTeam Neural Pathways: Fabrizio Crisafulli, Farooq Husain – GEMBA & Panagiotis Salvaras
7.00 pm12.00 pmTeam Velvet.Capital: Vasily Nikonov, Lujia Lin – MBA19D & Dias Bekzhanov, Vladimir Nazarov, Ekaterina Nikonov & Ulan Aliekov
7.15 pm12.15 pmLight Snacks & Network
8.15 pm1.15 pmJudges’ Feedback and Announcement on both campuses

39th IVC Final

Seven teams will present to a panel of judges in Singapore and Fontainebleau campuses. Each team will have 7 minutes for presentation followed by 8 minutes for Q&A, a total of 15 minutes. All presentations will be videotaped and may be used in future INSEAD MBA Electives.

Programme for Wednesday, 4 December 2019

3.50 pm

8.50 amWelcome Address by Nancy Hsieh, Executive Director of INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship and Ben Ling, Chairperson of 39th IVC
4.00 pm9.00 amTeam Self-ie: William Park, Diana Mok – MBA19D, Pauline Thanusutiyaporn, Joey Donovan & Jodi Vongvanij
4.20 pm9.20 amTeam Right& Physio: Francisco Cary, Jack Nolan – MBA19D
4.40 pm9.40 amBreak - Campus Switch
4.50 pm9.50 amTeam Neural Pathways: Fabrizio Crisafulli, Farooq Husain – GEMBA & Panagiotis Salvaras
5.10 pm10.10 amTeam Move-it: Eleanore An, Gokalp Aslan, Olesia Kurganova, Isha Dhoble – MBA20J
5.30 pm10.30 amTeam Micro Escola: João Augusto Zaratine, Rodrigo Bergmann, Ricardo Moreira, Beatriz Costa Madeira, Felipe Cirne Lima – MBA20J
5.50 pm10.50 amTeam FunDa: Shiyu Wu, Xu Ren – MBA20J & Zhipeng Wang
6.10 pm11.10 amTeam FUL: Julia Streuli, Cristina Prat Taranilla, Sara Guaglio, Danielle Dennewald – MBA19D
6.30 pm11.30 amCoffee Break & Network
7.30 pm12.30 pmClosing Remarks follow by IVC Awards Ceremony Presentation

Teams' synopsis

FunDa is an education technology company. Based on their well-designed children’s development system, they provide a series of carefully selected toys and picture books for children of 0-7 years old and provide a guide for parents to engage with their kids while playing.

FUL is a new kind of food company harnessing earth's oldest life source to sustainably nourish generations of tomorrow.

MicroEscola is to enable teachers to start, in their own homes; affordable primary schools for 10 students at a time (think Airbnb for schools / replacement for conventional schools). By doing that, teachers can earn similar wages, work in a less violent environment, and do what they do best: help kids thrive.

Move-It solution is a transparent and tracked market place app, which pools the resources targeting non-contractual deliveries carried out by the small to mid-sized fleet owners as well as individual truckers.

Neural Pathways has been setup to develop an AI-powered mobile camera system that can be deployed on moving vehicles for traffic law enforcement (TLE) and public safety.

Right& Physio will be the right hand of every physiotherapist; an indispensable product that assists in providing the best quality treatment to patients. This console will combine 3D sensor technology and video tracking to run gamified software aimed at acquiring and analysing patient data during their recovery process, leading to improved patient outcomes.

Self-ie mission is to help the population of Thailand gain access to the latest non-invasive cosmetic dental technology, without breaking the bank - helping people gain increased confidence in their appearance and smile, and have the courage to face what is ahead.



Criteria & Judges' profiles

Judges will use a scoresheet based on the elements as a guide when evaluating the team's venture summary and/or plan. Cash prizes awarded to teams, in the judges' opinion, offer the best combination of business potential and likelihood of successful implementation. The social entrepreneurship award is for a team that demonstrates significant societal impact in addition to financial sustainability.

Summary & Venture plan requirement

Judges for all rounds of the competition are experienced and successful multinational professionals who have domain expertise ranging from sales & marketing, operations, startups, large ventures, mergers & acquisitions, investment and finance.

Elements to consider when writing your summary or plan:

  • Team: quality of team and fit with the idea; advisory board, strategy partners - credentials to show that they have the capability to take on these roles and responsibilities
  • Execution Plan: clear and believable path forward; they know what must be done and how; timeline and execution plan
  • Financials: business model; financial forecasts & valuation; funding required & equity offered
  • Screening round - Structure of Venture Summary: clarity and quality of writing; structure and sequence of ideas; the document reads well - Stage 1 only
  • Semifinals & Final - Presentation & Structure of Plan: clarity and quality of writing; structure and sequence of ideas; presentation slides; Verbal presentation/Q&A
  • Innovation & Value Proposition: original/innovative idea; solving a problem for customers; must-have vs. nice-to-have; feasible, marketable, profitable
  • Market Opportunity & Strategy: potentially large/fast growing market; niche identification; competitor and customer analysis; effective strategy
  • Sustainable Competitive Advantage: sustainability; differentiation from competitors; IP strategy
  • Product & Services (Platform): clear product/service/platform description; product/service is superior to competitors; addresses actual customer needs
  • Potential to invest in this idea: credibility and persuasiveness; it can work and will create value; understanding of entrepreneurship; demonstrates industry knowledge
  • Viability: Long-term survival; sustainable profits

Judges' Profiles

Our pool of INSEAD Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EiRs) will be the judges for the initial round of competition. Each entry will be assessed by at least three of the screening judges.

Judges on Campus for Finals, 4 December

Judges on Campus for Semifinals, 20 November

Frequestly asked questions

Can I participate if I am not an INSEAD student?
The IVC is an internal competition mainly for current INSEAD students. The objective is to help them accelerate an idea during their course of study and subsequently create a new venture upon graduation.

Is there a minimum or maximum number of team members allowed on a venture’s team?
Teams may have a minimum of 1 and maximum of 6 members. Involvement of external members from outside INSEAD degree programme, allowed up to maximum of 2 members.

I am an exchange student at INSEAD but would like to take part. Can I participate in the IVC?
The competition is open to current students of the INSEAD degree programme. As an exchange student, you may ask to join in a current student’s team but will not be allowed to pitch during the semifinals or final round.

Can I participate in multiple teams?
Each person can only participate in the submission of ONE ENTRY to the IVC. Being a member in multiple teams is not allowed.

I am wondering if I can be associated with two submissions. I have a social enterprise that I have set up which I would like to submit but at the same time also working on another idea with a classmate that we would like to submit.
You may be part of only one team. However if your venture is not chosen to advance to the semifinals round, you can always join the team later. As an example, you may like to submit your social enterprise idea and your classmate the other idea. Should the former not selected for the semifinals and the latter is, you can still join that team, provided the team allows.

If I register to participate, may I withdraw from the competition later on? At what point am I fully committed to the competition?
You may register when the competition is open for entry but should you wish to withdraw, due to unforeseen circumstances, we would need you to inform us immediately.

Would you only accept a 4-page venture summary at the first (screening) stage or will a first version of the business plan be acceptable? What criteria will the judges use to evaluate my submission?
The first stage of the competition requires teams to submit only the 4-page venture summary. Judges will evaluate these summaries based on a set of elements provided in a score sheet. You may find the general guide under Judges & Criteria.

Are students allowed to participate after graduation? 
INSEAD alumni or friends are allowed to participate as part of a member in an existing student’s team. They will not be allowed to pitch to judges but can participate during the Q&A.

I am working on developing an idea with an external company, founders of whom are not INSEAD students.  If I am playing an active role in the development of the business, am I able to apply?
You are eligible to participate as long as your business idea is less than a year from the point when the "Call for Entry" is announced. Your team members can be external partners or non-INSEAD participants but they will not be allowed to pitch to judges during the semifinals and final round of the competition.

I had already participated in the previous competition with no success. Can I participate again with the same project?
If your venture did not win a prize in any of the previous IVC, then technically you are still eligible to use that project.

I have a reasonably mature business idea that I would like to present for the competition. Can I register my business idea if my company is not yet incorporated? 
The IVC is restricted to new ventures. As long as you have not yet received any funding/investment, qualified for grants or incorporated the business, you are eligible to register for the competition

Is the company’s incorporation a requisite at present time or only in the case when the venture is awarded a monetary prize?
The criterion to incorporate the company within 6 months only applies to award winners after the competition.

We are in the midst of recruitment, assignments and classes. Is it possible to extend the IVC summary/plan submission past the stipulated deadline?
The competition is intense and all deadlines are fixed. No exceptions to the deadlines will be made.

Are there any specifications for the documents of the business plans (font size, margins and spacing)? Must it be submitted in word document or if detailed power power slides would be appropriate?
So long as it fits into the maximum 25 pages, inclusive of exhibits and appendices, there is no set format on how you should present your plan.

My team member and I are based on different campuses. We would both like to present if we are selected for the semifinals or finals. Will there be video conferencing that allows us to pitch our project together? Which option should I choose in the form regarding the campus?
Presentations are connected via webex/video conference across both campuses. If you have team members on both campuses, do inform the ICE admin in advance as this would determine the team’s line-up. Teams based on one campus would present first follow by teams on the other campus. There are technical details like switching the control of the presentation slides and the camera angle for judges to see when teams are presenting. Advance notification are required for this pur

Is there a dress code for the presentation?
There is no particular dress code but our suggestion is to dress smart since you are presenting to panel of judges/and or audience who may be your potential investor.

We are part of the IVC team and although very interested with all the projects, we were just wondering whether if it would be possible to attend at a specific time so as not to miss our classe
It is fine for you or any of your fellow classmates to drop in any time whilst the competition is ongoing. We do understand that your classes take priority. However please be mindful when entering the Amphi or Auditorium, especially when a team is presenting, to avoid loud noise and minimise disruption.


Mentors & Resources

Internal Support

Many of our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EiR) volunteer their time on campus to share their expertise and provide students with direct feedback on entrepreneurial topics in all stages of the entrepreneurship journey. Currently over 100 entrepreneurs across both campuses who cover a wide range of domains and industries. Have a one-on-one conversation with an EiR, get their advices on your startup, and learn about what it is like living an entrepreneurial life.

Quote: “Point of view of people who have been through the process of starting up ventures, being in the position of running and growing a small company. Sincere feedback on improvement areas. Genuine interest in our project and networking opportunities.”

Alumni Support

INSEADAlum Ventures Pte Ltd (“IAV”) is a investment company focused on providing seed funding, value-added resources and mentorship to selected INSEAD alumni who are becoming entrepreneurs after graduation. IAV is founded by two INSEAD Alumni with successful track records as entrepreneurs and investors; Deepak Shahdadpuri (MBA‘98D) and William Klippgen (MBA‘03D). IAV will invest from SGD $50k to $200k in each start-up and will help develop the start-ups to a point where they easily can raise further seed or Series A funding.

INSEAD Angels (Asia), an alumni investment club, provides early-stage seed minority investment to high-calibrate start-ups where the founder or co-founder is an INSEAD alum. The club encompasses alumni with diversity of thought and experience. They balance their vision on three pillars: i) funding and mentoring for the entrepreneurs, ii) returns for the investors, and iii) contributing portion of the returns to INSEAD.

IVC Support

Amazon Web Services provides startups with low cost, easy to use infrastructure needed to scale and grow any size business. AWS Activate is a program with resources designed to help startups get started on AWS. Join some of the fastest-growing startups in the world and build your business using AWS.

BlueMeg is an independent corporate services provider, bridging the gap between tailored quality services and the new digital era. We provide corporate services supported by innovative technology to enhance clients’ experience at competitive and transparent pricing.

Ideas on Stage helps leaders deliver powerful presentations, create inspiring events and empower their organizations with high quality public speaking coaching and training. In a world of boring conferences and endless meetings, you will stand out and shine. The team brings together business experts, voice coaches, presentation designers and directors, event managers, master of ceremonies, keynote speakers and more to offer a unique blend of skills.

Useful links

AccelerAsia brings a team of highly experienced international business builders, and a well-established network in the region. Over the years, we have helped more than 40 companies take their first steps in the burgeoning market that is Asia -

Map of Money, a Singaporean-based platform to connect amazing entrepreneurs to great investors in Southeast Asia. Co-founder and INSEAD EiR, Arnaud Bonzom shares some answers to common questions on resources for the Venture Capital Industry composed of 16 sections and 500+ resources.

Creatella's Library has resources for the entrepreneur which includes marketing, business development, project management, technology design, and team leadership.

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