Open submissions begin online January 30, 2014. Specific guidelines for submitting materials for each subsequent round of the competition will be sent to semifinalist and finalist teams directly.

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Each team must be comprised of NYU graduate and/or undergraduate students. Non-students may be members of the team and participant in planning the venture; however, only qualified students may participate in the presentation portion of the competition. The maximum size of the team is four (4) students. The competition is for new, independent ventures in the pre startup-up phase. Every team must have at least one (1) full or part-time the School of Engineering student on their team in order to participate in the competition. The School of Engineering reserves the right to make unilateral decisions regarding eligibility and its decision shall be final.


Due to the nature of the competition, non-disclosure statements will not be required from judges, reviewers, staff members, faculty, audience participants or other parties involved with the planning or execution of the competition. However, confidentiality and appropriate professionalism is expected of all participants. The School of Engineering reserves the right to distribute competition materials for education and promotional purposes. Students and their teams will retain all proprietary rights.

Requirements for the Business Idea

The objective of the Inno/Vention Competition is to provide a meaningful learning experience for students who are interested in pursuing an entrepreneurial opportunity or need an outlet for their creativity. As such, all ideas entered into the competition must be new ideas that have not been previously submitted to other competitions regardless of whether or not the idea received an award. The initial entry requires the submission of a paragraph description of the idea and the problem that it solves. Each stage has requirements that students will prepare and present to a panel of judges. The judging criteria will evolve based on the materials that will be covered throughout the competition.

SparkStart Presentations

  • Maximum 10 slide presentation (not including title slide)
  • IP review
  • Idea Validation
  • Customer analysis/validation
  • Prototype plans
  • Vision of idea


  • Present refined product pitch (problem, solution, etc.)
  • Present customer development and market analysis
  • Present business model canvas iterations
  • Progress of idea
  • Team info w/ faculty mentor
  • Prototype details, models, etc.
  • Present next milestones
  • 3 minute pitch on idea
  • 3 minute demo of prototype & questions from judges


  • Maximum 12 slides, include progress from SparkStart and Prototest
  • Should cover all above including customer acquisition strategy, monetization, scaling strategy, etc.
  • Include wireframes or prototypes (deliverables)
  • Final presentation should be indicative of progress over the last 10 weeks and growth of idea and team.
  • Framework based on an investor pitch deck
  • All teams eligible for a prize based on judge’s decision.

Awards and Reimbursements

1st Place: $5,000 | 2nd Place: $3,500 | 3rd Place: $2,000 | Top Hardware/Software: $1000/each catergory

Winners of the SparkStart stage will receive a cash prize of $500 to support their Prototyping efforts. Teams are not accountable for the spending of the award but it is encouraged that the funds should go to building a working prototype. An additional $250 will be made available by request of the team with the approval of both their faculty mentor and the Inno/Vention Project Manager as a reimbursed check.

Winners receive a $500 credit for additional prototyping efforts when they are chose to advance into the DemoDay Stage. Teams are eligible to be reimbursed up to $500 on activities and purchases approved by their faculty mentor and the Inno/Vention Project Manager.

A prize pool for up to $22,600 is available for the 6 teams that present. Judges decide winners in each category for hardware and software. All teams are eligible for prizes but only the top 4 teams are guaranteed a prize. Third Place prizes are awarded at the discretion of the judges. Top teams are also awarded Summer Tenancy at the incubator and a guaranteed spot in the

Summer Incubation Program
Bottom four (4) teams are seeded into final interviews for the Summer Incubation Program.