Russ: Welcome back to The BusinessMakers Show brought to you by Comcast Business, built for business. Coming to you today from the campus of Rice University for the 2015 Rice Business Plan Contest and my guest is none other than the managing director of the Rice Alliance, Brad Burke. Okay, let’s kick this off right, I want you to give us an overview of the 2015 Rice Business Plan Contest but do it in the form of an elevator pitch.
Brad: All right.
Russ: Start the clock.
Brad: All right, so here’s the elevator pitch for the Rice Business Plan Competition. The Rice Business Plan Competition is the world’s largest and richest startup competition where we have 42 university teams from around the world compete for more than $1.5 million in prizes in front of 275 judges. And this is not just a business plan competition, it’s a startup competition, so as you’ve seen tonight there are over 169 teams that are alive and well and succeeded in launching their company after competing at Rice. So we’re very pleased to welcome all of you here tonight to the 2015 Rice Business Plan Competition.
Russ: All right.
Brad: I had 40 seconds to spare too.
Russ: That’s right. All right, how about a rules review?
Brad: Rules review, I will and I have to stand up a couple of times; you know I couldn’t do an elevator pitch sitting down. Rules review; all right, so tonight we will go in order as you are seated here tonight. You will have 60 seconds in order to give your elevator pitch. You will see the clock in front of you, it will count down from 1 to 0, when it gets to 0 you’re done. And you know what an elevator pitch is; elevator pitch, you get into an elevator on the first floor, as the doors are about to close Warren Buffet walks in and you’ve got about 33 floors in order to convince Warren Buffet that he should take another meeting with you. That your business and your business investment opportunity is valid enough to take a subsequent meeting. So you’ve got to intrigue him and hook him to that subsequent meeting in that elevator and tonight we have a pretty big elevator with about 500 people here.
Russ: Okay, what about cheat sheets; can you show up up here and have some notes in case you stumble?
Brad: Well I’ll have to ask my rules committee on that whether cheat sheets are allowed. You know I think cheat sheets are – I think we’ve said you’re not supposed to have a cheat sheet and judges you can do whatever you feel like. If you see a person coming up here with a cheat sheet who has and doesn’t know their pitch well enough – it’s a risk that you could take I suppose.
Russ: Okay, what about exaggeration and embellishment?
Brad: There’s none of that here at the Rice Competition.
Russ: All right, one last thing, it always feels like here that there’s some incredible winners – there are lots of winners – but it also feels like that there’s winners here that don’t get any money Saturday night, don’t get win the elevator pitch contest and still leave here as big time winners because there are some pretty significant investors here in the audience; is that accurate?
Brad: It is. Well, part of it’s accurate and part of it’s not. So you said there are people who walk away – competitors – without any money. Well that’s not true because every team that competes at the Rice competition all the way through and attends the awards banquet on Saturday night is guaranteed – you caught that, yes – attends the awards banquet on Saturday night is guaranteed to take home prize money. But there have been numerous teams that have not even gone on to the semi-finals or not gone on to the finals and they have been surprised at the awards banquet with numbers up to, probably exceeding, $100,000.00. In fact, a team took home $1 million last year, complete surprise to that team.
So I would tell you and my advice to competitors is this competition is never over until the awards banquet is over and even then we’ve had many teams that have gone on to get investment from judges at this competition after the competitions over even though you didn’t win. So my recommendation is, and I heard it today on the panel – one our winners’ panel, is you’ve got to be on your game the entire time because that’s how you maximize your chance of winning here.
Russ: Really cool, so let’s get it started all right?
Brad: All right.
Russ: All right, and that wraps up this episode of The BusinessMakers Show brought to you by Comcast Business, built for business.
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