April 24, 2015
Fact: having the benefit of strong colleges and universities in a startup ecosystem is always a good thing. Consider for a moment the benefits that universities can offer the ecosytem in terms of talent, and in return, the benefits the ecosystem offers these institutions: it’s a perfect symbiosis.
Here in San Diego we have some powerhouse universities with their respective programs to help give young entrepreneurs unique opportunities for success. Last night I was invited to my alma mater, The University of San Diego (USD – disclosure below) to see exactly what they had to offer with their V2 Pitch Competition: I was, to say the least, impressed.
V2 does it differently than a lot of places. They offer two different tracks for application, one being the USD Student Entrepreneur track, the other the Bi-National track. They also work closely with strategic industries like aerospace, telecom, and biotech in a region known as Cali-Baja: a combined force between San Diego and Tijuana.
All told, there were 55 different companies that entered the V2 Pitch Competition from the USD track and 67 from the Bi-National track – only four from each track were selected as finalists. Each of the companies was then given seven minutes to pitch before an expert panel of angel investors for their respective group. The Judges:
USD track (left):
Bi-National track (right):
After the pitches, each team met with their investor-judges in one on one meetings for fifteen minutes. We, the audience, were invited to join in as a spectating third party and witness the conversations live.
And then the evening wrapped up when the angel investors revealed their decisions to divide the $50,000 prize of cash and in-kind services to the competitors. However, the money is treated like it would be in an investment deal: the investors take the $50,000 and distribute it as they see fit to the different companies. There’s technically no winner or loser, as each company walks away with something.
“V2 is a beneficial experience because when you go out into the world, it’s very hard to secure funding to develop your venture. Our coaching and networking during the program has proven to be a strong first step for launching a successful business,”says Regina Burnal, Entrepreneurship and Experiential Learning Coordinator for the School of Business Administration at USD.
That speaks to the overarching philosophy behind the V2 Pitch Competition though as they want to make sure this is a learning experience for the companies. As the team says, a big part of the V2 Pitch Competition is to help entrepreneurs on both sides of the border.
The four companies pitching in the USD track are:
The four companies pitching in the bi-national track are:
- Stella: $10,300 IOS Office Space
- Brecher: $10,000 Angel Ventures Mexico – $4,500 Hub STN
- Mocket: $7,142.85 in cold, hard cash
- GiftCar: $14,000 Angel Ventures Mexico – $4,000 Mind Hub
Disclosure: I got my degree at the University of San Diego but I am in no way affiliated with the V2 Competition, nor did I know any participants prior to the event.
Did you like this article?
Get more delivered to your inbox just like it!