The Neuro Startup Challenge
Submission Deadline04/25/2015

Phase 2: Business Plan Overview

Congratulations and welcome to Phase 2 of the Neuro Startup Challenge!  For additional information on the challenge, its inventions and future phases please visit our website at

Please read below for submission requirements, the Phase 2 timeline, and the Challenge evaluation guidelines for your deliverables.  For any additional questions, please contact any of the Challenge administrators below:

Jonathan Lui:

Youhong Wang:

How to Submit: 

Deliverables will be submitted on our submission platform used in Phase 1 (the Pitchburner platform).  Simply log back into your pitchburner account and you will be taken back to your old submission form, with additional questions to populate pertaining to Phase 2.

Phase 2 Submission Requirements:

  1. 10 page business plan with dilutive/non-dilutive funders or potential licensees*
  2. A financial model in excel format only
  3. 10 page pitch deck (maximum length is 10 pages Powerpoint or Prezio) - 20 minute live pitch via video conferencing, to the Challenge judges and to potential funders
  4. Optional: Business Model Canvas
  5. Optional: Appendices to your business plan (these documents should not be critical to your business plan and will only be reviewed upon request by the judges

Winners and Prizes:

Winners will be determined and announced on May 6th 2015.  The winners of this phase will receive a $2500 cash award, per team from CAI and Heritage.

Phase 2 Timeline

Business plan phase: The official business plan phase will begin on January 24th, 2015, promptly after the ending of Phase 1.  Teams are welcome and encouraged to begin their deliverables for Phase 2 earlier than this date.  Business plan documentation/deliverables are due on April 16th, 2015.  Live pitches will be conducted from April  20-24, 2015.  Finalist and Winners will be announced by May 6th, 2015

  • Official Start Date into Phase 2: January 24th, 2015
  • Final Deliverables Due: April 16th, 2015
  • Pitches Occur: April 20-24, 2015 as scheduled through the Center for Advancing Innovation
  • Finalists and Winners Announced: May 6th, 2015

Phase 2 Evaluation Process

  • Submit all deliverables on April 16th, 2015. Post your Team's business plan and business model canvas at a link to be provided
  • Submit availability for pitches by April 16th, 2015 on the Pitchburner submission platform.  If CAI has not received dates for your Team's availability, CAI will assign a date/time to your Team.  CAI will only be conducting pitch reviews starting on April 20th, 2015 through April 24th, 2015.  Please indicate if your Team has VOIP and Webcam capability
  • Conduct Live Pitches from April 20th through April 24th
  • Challenge judges will score Business Plans and Live Pitches. Scores will be a weighted combination of the judges' scoring.
  • Finalize scores and identify finalists
  • Communicate to the Phase 2 winners and move to Phase 3: Start Up

Criteria and Guidelines (subject to change)

Criteria I: Comprehensive and Complete:

Defined commercialization and development plan over the appropriate time period and have included specific milestone events (note: milestone events should include go/no-go decisions for potential investors).  For example, therapeutics will take a longer period of time to get approved unless they are addressing a rare disease/orphan indication
Clearly articulated all potential addressable target customer segments and the market/competitive landscape
Identified additional plans required, for example, Intellectual Property (IP) plan
Evaluated the entire lifecycle of your invention, both branded and generic products, if relevant
Identified medical/scientific experiments and developed your overall clinical trials plan in development plan. For the next invention tests required, outlined a very high level protocol with the correct number and type of samples and tests that need to be completed with specific goals for statistical significance. Created a plan for reproducing the results (if relevant)
Documentation provided is of high quality and includes sources, assumptions.  Overall plans are pragmatic yet optimistic

Criteria II: Ability to Attract Investors/Collaborators:

Identified specific differentiators and novelty of your Team's product/service to all key stakeholders. Novelty will indicate why the invention is unique from a scientific perspective.  Differentiation will indicate how the invention is better than anything else currently available e.g., better standard of care (e.g., one drug versus several for a shorter period of time with fewer side effects), cheaper, easier to use (e.g., at home diagnostic test), etc.  Note: stakeholders will be defined in your stakeholder engagement plan but should include the end patient, doctors, payers, VCs, etc.
Identified a specific exit or liquidity event, e.g., IPO, out-licensing/sub-licensing, funding partners (both dilutive and non-dilutive), revenue from a viable product, M&A, etc.
Creatively defined a quick revenue and profit model through your Team's commercialization and development plans that will assist your Team in reducing investment risk, e.g., do you have a way to bootstrap larger investments via, for example, R&D services; do you know if you can get a priority review voucher; can your invention be fast-tracked and approved in Phase II Clinical Trials, etc.
Identified how your Team's invention will be reimbursed through payers
Created realistic financial models that illustrate how to achieve profitability that is sustainable and growing

Criteria III: Operational Feasibility:

Created practical plans and financial and valuation models estimating revenue, investment requirements and profitability
Presented a clear idea of clinical applicability and how to manufacture/market/sell products
Outlined specific collaborators that will help your Team at different stages of development
Defined a clear regulatory path for any regulatory body, in particular, the FDA

Criteria IV: Strong Collaborators, Management Team and Board of Advisors:

Competent team that works together cohesively
Identified dilutive and non-dilutive funders as part of your Management/Board of Advisors/Directors team
Comprehensively identified all capabilities (either as collaborators, management team members, business advisors and/or scientific advisors) that will allow you to be successful, e.g., Business Development, Scientific leadership, R&D, Manufacturing, Sales, etc.
Clearly described how the management team will be compensated
Identified the legal form of ownership of the company

Criteria V: Risk Mitigation:

Identified risks, the impact of these risks and the probability these risk have of occurring
Created a feasible mitigation plan for all the risks that have the highest probability of negative impact and occurrence


For the Official Rules for Challenge Teams, please click on the link below:

Note: Applicants are required to adhere to all requirements/rules outlined on this page to have valid entries in this Challenge

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