Have a novel idea or exciting business?  Apply by January 26 to compete for investment of up to $15,000 from the Hampden-Sydney Venture Fund.  In the process, you will learn from seasoned entrepreneurs, perfect your pitch, and have the opportunity to compete for seed funding to accelerate the growth of your venture.  

ELIGIBILITY
Enrolled Hampden-Sydney students and alumni classes 2013-2017'.  For profit business models only.  See General Rules below for details.  

PURPOSE
To provide working capital to start-up ventures that have launched or are close to launch.  

NUMBER & AMOUNT
The decisions whether to make any investments and the amounts of those investments will be at the discretion of the judges.  Depending on the pitch, the investment could range from $1,000 to $15,000.  

TIMELINE

  • November 29 -  On-Campus Information Session (4:00 pm, FCEI Room Brown 203) or participate in a webinar (6pm EST, email jisaacs@hsc.edu or gdempster@hsc.edu to sign up).  
  • January 26  - Teams submit application and signed Program Participant Agreement to jisaacs@hsc.edu by 10 pm EST.  
  • February 9 - Teams are notified by email regarding advancement to Round II as finalists. Return signed Letter of Intent  
  • February 16 - March 30 - Finalists participate in formal and informal entrepreneurship education opportunities and work with mentors to develop their business. 
  • March 30  - Final Business Plan Due  
  • April (TBD)-  Finalists pitch to the panel of judges.  
  • April (TBD) - Finalists are notified of results by email.  

APPLICATION
Apply by January 26 at 10pm EST. Application and program Participant Agreement available here. (Application PDF)  

JUDGING CRITERIA  

  • Business Purpose - Explanation of the problem that exists and how the business idea solves this problem.
  • Potential - Support for the commercial potential, viability, and prospects for success of the business idea.
  • Validation - The idea has been tested in some way, big or small, with real potential customers. (customer interviews, prototypes, surveys, etc.) 
  • Team - The credibility, "backability," and passion of the individuals behind the business idea.  

MENTORSHIP & ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION
The following is a sampling of the benefits available to the finalist teams.  

EDUCATION
Prior to the pitch competition, student and local alumni teams will participate in entrepreneurship clinics covering how to create a business model canvas, start-up life and pitch preparation.  Non-local alumni will have access to alternative educational resources, like access to the Entrepreneur's Dashboard powered by IdeaSharesTM.   

MENTORING
Work with experienced mentors and entrepreneurs in the Hampden-Sydney community and beyond.  

NETWORKING
Connect with the Hampden-Sydney entrepreneurial ecosystem including investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders with a diverse range of expertise.  

COMMUNITY
Community is an important part of the Hampden-Sydney Venture Fund experience.  Teams are expected to learn as much from one another as they do from the Hampden-Sydney College Venture Fund staff and mentors.  

GENERAL RULES   

ELIGIBILITY - HAMPDEN-SYDNEY COLLEGE VENTURE FUND INVESTMENT

  1. Each team must include at least one current Hampden-Sydney student or a member of the graduating class of 2013-17.  
  2. Currently enrolled Hampden-Sydney student(s) and/or a member of graduating classes of 2013-2017 must own 30 percent or more equity in the business to be eligible for an investment.  
  3. One currently enrolled Hampden-Sydney student or a member of the graduating class of 2013-2017 must deliver the pitch and answer the questions from the judges.  
  4. Ventures of winning teams must be organized in limited liability form (corporation, LLC, LLP, or similar structure) in order to receive investment funds, although teams may enter and place in competition without limited liability organization.  

CONFIDENTIALITY & PERMISSIONS

  1. Confidentiality of information is not guaranteed and teams should not include any confidential information in their submissions, including trade secrets or other proprietary information that would be at risk for disclosure  
  2. Entry into this competition may be considered a public disclosure for patent purposes. If teams plan to file patent protection on an aspect of their business, they should consult with an intellectual property attorney before entering.  
  3. Intra-team confidentiality is the sole responsibility of team members.  

ADDITIONAL RULES

  1. There is no requirement that judges make an investment in any team.  The investment will be granted in the judges' discretion.  
  2. Teams are subject to the Hampden-Sydney College honor code.  
  3. Student teams must attend all clinics in February and March. (Non-local alumni and students studying abroad will participate in alternative activities) 
  4. Teams may be disqualified at any time before, during, or after the pitch competition for failing to comply with these general rules or the conditions set forth in the program participation agreement. 

HAMPDEN-SYDNEY VENTURE FUND INVESTMENT PROCESS
Investment from the Hampden-Sydney Venture Fund is an investment by Hampden-Sydney College (or a subsidiary of the college) in a Hampden-Sydney student or young alumni business venture.  While teams may compete and win the investment without being incorporated (or, in the case of a limited liability company, organized), the investment will only be disbursed to a corporation or limited liability company.   The winning team(s) will have the option to structure the investment as either a convertible note or a warrant.  If the convertible note is structure selected, then the team will enter into a Convertible Promissory Note and a Loan Agreement with Hampden-Sydney College or a subsidiary of the college (referred to as the "Investor").  If the warrant structure is selected, then the team will enter into a Warrant and Investment Agreement with the Investor.   Copies of the form agreements for both structures are available for teams to review - email Justin Isaacs (jisaacs@hsc.edu ) for copies.