41st 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 awards and prize purse (will be updated in the coming weeks) from our generous supporters are:
- €25,000 for Thomas C. Barry Prize
- €10,000 for Patrick Turner MBA'78 Prize
- €10,000 for Runners Up Prize
- €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 the IVC Criteria as a guide for judging each entry.
Stage 1: Call for entry – Team's registration / Venture summary / Judges’ screening
Application open: 25 September 2020
Closing date: 19 October 2020, 09:00 CEST / 15:00 SGT
Result of Semi Finalists Announcement: 30 October 2020
- Teams to submit their venture summaries (up to 4 pages).
- Submissions screen by judges from the pool of INSEAD Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EiRs). At least three judges will assess each venture summary.
- 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: 16 November 2020, 09:00 CET / 16:00 SGT
IVC Semi-finals: Friday, 27 November 2020 - Pitches will be done remotely (more infor to follow nearer date)
- Semi-finalists to submit full venture plan (maximum 15 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 to the Finals.
Stage 3: Revised venture plan (optional) / Finals
Closing date: 30 November 2020, 09:00 CET / 16:00 SGT
IVC Finals: Wednesday, 9 December 2020 - Pitches will be done remotely (more infor to follow nearer date)
- Finalists have the option to submit revised venture plans.
- Finalists will have a total of 17 minutes (7 mins + 10 mins Q&A) to pitch their ventures to judges who are entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, incubators and spotters of entrepreneurial talent.
- Mentoring and Practice Pitches will be organised for teams in the Semifinals and Final rounds.
- Only Final presentations will be 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 the rules!
The IVC is an INTERNAL competition open only to current INSEAD degree programmes of MBAs, EMBAs (GEMBA and or/TIEMBA) and MFin participants. 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 also have a significant role, as a founder/co-founder, should the team win 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 ideas should come from the INSEAD degree programme participants. They should also be the ones to prepare most of the business plan, pitch deck and deliver the presentation. During the semifinals and finals, external team members can only participate in the Q&A sessions.
- Changes to team members are allowed up until the semifinals submission of the venture plan. ICE admin must be informed of any changes made.
Winners of past IVC are NOT to participate in the competition with the same venture idea. However, members who have participated and did not win a prize may compete with the same venture idea but should show significant highlights of growth made over the last competition.
- New venture is defined as not formed, in operation or incorporated earlier than 12 months at the time of the competition's “Call for Entry”.
There are no restrictions regarding business sector other than the business activities must be legal. Social-oriented ventures are admissible and encouraged.
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.
- Entrants to the competition must agree to make their venture summaries and plans available for INSEAD’s pedagogical purposes. Videos of finalists’ presentations will be uploaded and made 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 are responsible amongst themselves for any agreements, ownership rights, change in team members and engagements before, during and after the competition.
- The newly incorporated company, as presented during the IVC, must have at least an INSEAD team member(s) as founders or co-founders on the company’s documents.
- The company is to be incorporated legally (anywhere in the world), within six months after the official IVC prize announcement. The company must have an official account with the necessary bank details. No disbursement of funds will be made to individual founding members.
- IVC admin team should be informed, in advance via email, should there be any changes in the company's name or team members before the claim of the prize money.
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.
Winner - Thomas C. Barry Prize: €25,000
- + 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
Patrick Turner MBA'78 Prize: €10,000
- + $15,000 in AWS promotional credit and 1 year of AWS business support
Runners Up: €10,000
- + 10 days development support from MOHARA
- + $15,000 in AWS promotional credit and 1 year of AWS business support
Low Tech Award (optional): €5,000 – 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
- 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
- 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
- Amazon Web Services
- Ideas on Stage
The IVC is an internal INSEAD competition open to current INSEAD MBA, EMBAs (GEMBA and or/TIEMBA), MFIN and MIM students only.
In this initial round, registrants are required to just submit a 4-page venture summary and team member's name. 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.
Entry to the 41st IVC will be open on 25 September 2020 at 09:00, CEST / 15:00, SGT.
41st IVC Semi-finals
Up to twelve teams will be selected to present to a panel of 5 judges. More information will be provided to the teams nearer the date. Each team will have a maximum of 5 minutes for presentation and another 5 minutes Q&A from the judges.
Programme for Friday, 27 November 2020
|3:50 pm||8:50 am||Welcome Address|
|4:00 pm||9:00 am||Team 1|
|4:15 pm||9:15 am||Team 2|
|4:30 pm||9:30 am||Team 3|
|4:45 pm||9:45 am||Team 4|
|5:00 pm||10:00 am||Team 5|
|5:15 pm||10:15 am||Team 6|
|5:30 pm||10:30 am||Break|
|5:45 pm||10:45 am||Team 7|
|6:00 pm||11:00 am||Team 8|
|6:15 pm||11:15 am||Team 9|
|6:30 pm||11:30 am||Team 10|
|6:45 pm||11:45 am||Team 11|
|7:00 pm||12:00 pm||Team 12|
|6:15 pm||12:15 pm||Break - Deliberation|
|7:15 pm||1:15 pm||Judges’ feedback to all teams follow by announcement of finalists|
41st IVC Final
Up to six teams will present to a panel of judges. Each team will have 7 minutes for presentation follow by another 10 minutes for Q&A, a total of 17 minutes. All presentations will be videotaped and may be used in future INSEAD MBA electives.
Programme for Wednesday, 9 December 2020
|4:00 pm||9:00 am||Welcome Address|
|4:10 pm||9:10 am||Team 1|
|4:30 pm||9:30 am||Team 2|
|4:50 pm||9:50 am||Team 3|
|5:10 pm||10:10 am||Break|
|5:20 pm||10:20 am||Team 4|
|5:40 pm||10:40 pm||Team 5|
|6:00 pm||11:00 pm||Team 6|
|6:20 pm||12:20 pm||Break - Judges' Deliberation|
|7:30 pm||1:30 pm||Closing Remarks followed by IVC Awards Announcement|
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
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 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.
Our pool of INSEAD Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EiRs) will judge the initial round of the competition. Each entry will be evaluated by a team of at least three screening judges.
IVC Chairperson & Judges - Profile of judges will be updated nearer the date
Ben Ling, GEMBA16A
Founder/CEO of Equilibria Hotels & Properties
Frequently 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
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 them to get advice 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.”
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.
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.
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 -
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.
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.