Startup Competition


  • Audience Choice Video Voting

    NOTE: This FAQ applies only to teams that have been admitted into the competition following the application phase.

    During the first pitch event each team will be asked to deliver on-camera a one-minute pitch to be used in the Audience Choice Video Voting contest conducted for each cycle. The video voting contests for each cycle will take place online between the first pitch event and the competition finale. All teams presenting at the first pitch event, must follow the instructions linked below, however only the teams that advance beyond the first pitch event will have their video included in the contest. Teams may include any team members desire and may include the use of props, if desired or practical. Please note to ensure fairness all videos will be taped in the same location using the same backdrop. The one-minute pitch is not taped during your pitch to the judges, this pitch is recorded at a separate time during the day.

    Audience Choice 1-minute Pitch Instructions

  • How will final business plans and presentations be evaluated?

    The judges will score each submission using a 20 point scale (1 being the lowest, 20 being the highest) in the following areas.

    Value Proposition- 
    Does this idea address a real problem or unmet need?  Is it innovative but practical?  Does the plan make a strong case for the idea?

    Market Opportunity-
    Is the market real?  Can it be profitable?  Is it growing?  What about the competition, present and future?  Is the strategy for reaching this target market viable?

    Management Team-
    Is this group capable of leading the company at this particular stage?  Are future needs addressed?

    Financial Information-
    Are the projections thorough?  Are the revenue projections realistic?  Are the cost projections realistic?

    Was the plan clear and well presented?  Did the presentation effectively make the case for the team’s plan?

    Poor (1-4)- Significant problems, weak/nonexistent market
    Fair (5-8)- Has potential, major issues with value/market
    Adequate (9-12)- Good idea, some issues with market/value
    Good (13-16)– Well done, good potential, minor issues
    Excellent (17-20)- Superior execution, significant market potential

  • How will my application be evaluated?

    The judges will score each submission using a 5 point scale (1 being the lowest, 5 being the highest) in the following areas.

    Idea/Concept – unique/innovative

    Marketability – product/service satisfies a need

    Intellectual Property/Barriers to Entry – potential to satisfy requirements for market entry

    Growth Potential – potential for high growth

    Financial Projections – reasonable and realistic

    Customer Demand – current and/or potential customer base

    Business Management Team Skill/Experience – qualified management team

    Pitch Presentation Materials – clear demonstration of idea/concept and how it satisfies a market need

    Business Model Canvas – demonstrates clear understanding of business model

  • If I created a YouNoodle account before, do I need a new account in order to apply for another round?

    No, users with YouNoodle accounts do not have to open a new account.

  • How can I learn how to apply?

    Alabama Launchpad offers a free “how to apply webinar” prior to the application closing date for each round.  Check the calendar for more information on upcoming webinars.

  • What must be submitted in order to apply?

    The following steps must be completed/submitted through your YouNoodle account before the deadline in order to officially apply (these tasks can be completed in any order, but must be completed in order to activate the “submit” button:

    1. Competition Application Form and Personal Form

    2. Video Pitch (3 minutes or less)

    3. Business Model Canvas

    4. Pitch Deck (max 10 slides, two per page)

    5. Project Budget Proposal

    6. Agree to competition terms

    7. Pay $150 application fee (payments processed through PayPal)

  • When is the application deadline?

    Monday, August 15, 2016 @ 9:00 am

    Please see the calendar for all the competition deadlines.

  • When does the application open?

    Cycle 3

    Monday, July 11, 2016 @ 9:00 am

  • Is there a fee to apply?

    Yes, the application fee is $150.00 (Paid through Paypal, credit cards accepted)

    The application fee is required in order to submit your completed application, but is not required in order to begin an application.

  • What is YouNoodle and do I have to open an account?

    This year’s competition will be managed using the competition platform YouNoodle.  To apply, you must first create a free YouNoodle account.  A YouNoodle account provides each applicant cloud based access to collaborate, review, submit and track applications. YouNoodle will be the primary communication vehicle for the Alabama Launchpad  startup competition. Each application owner can invite other team members to view and/or edit an application.

  • How long do I have to pitch at the first pitch event?

    Each presenter will have eight minutes to present.  A countdown timer will be used to monitor each presentation.

  • In the budget proposal template, how do I project out finances and estimate profit 5 years in advance?

    The 5 year projected finances are simply estimates on how you expect to move forward. Some innovations may not be ready for the market until the third year. Some teams expect more development cost and will operate at a net loss for a few years before they start making sales. It is not about showing a profit, it is simply projecting how you expect to move forward. By estimating revenue and expenses as your project progresses, reviewers can get a sense of where you are in the development process.

  • Can I provide a Youtube video of my pitch?

    Yes, YouTube links are the only format accepted.

  • What information do I put in the video pitch presentation?

    Your video pitch presentation should be directed to potential investors who have never seen your innovation before. Simply stated the video is your elevator pitch.

  • How many milestones should my project budget have?

    The template provides ten milestones but each applicant is free to use as many or as few as appropriate for their circumstances.

  • Where can I find templates of the required documents?

    Templates can be downloaded from the application page.

    Business Model Canvas (PowerPoint file)

    Project Budget (Excel file)

    Business Plan Template and Guidelines (PDF files)


If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact Greg Sheek or Mary Hope Garmon.

Greg Sheek

Mary Hope Garmon