Tulsa StartUp Series Rules

The Tulsa StartUp Series consists of categorized pitch competitions followed by an open submission for a StartUp Series Demo Day event during Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW).

Each pitch competition shall have a separate category focusing upon 1) Tech/Apps; 2) K-12 Students (entrants must be students in an Oklahoma primary or secondary school or homeschool); 3) Physical Products/Food/Retail; 4) Social Enterprise.  The 5th and final round shall be a Wild Card round in which any startup can enter.

To Enter:

Entrants in the StartUp Series pitch competition must upload a 60-second video pitch onto the StartUp Series website that explains their business and why they need $2,500 to test their concept or advance their business. Each pitch round shall have three judges consisting of an industry expert, a StartUp Cup alumna and an entrepreneurial program leader. The judges shall score each video pitch on a numerical scale based upon 1) presentation of the problem the business solves; 2) how the business will solve the problem; 3) how the business will use the $2,500 prize money to test their business concept. Judges will determine the top 5 video pitches, and those entrants will move on to the live pitch round.

Live Pitches:

Pitch finalists will be invited to give a live pitch at 36 Degrees North on the 3rd Wednesday of the Month at 5:30 p.m. (unless indicated otherwise). At the live pitch, finalists will have five minutes to pitch to judges, followed by questions from the judges. The winner will be announced live following the pitches. The pitch series winner shall be awarded $2,500 to test or advance their business, a three-month membership to 36 Degrees North, a spot in the Venture Assessment Program at i2e and a mentor who will be available to meet with the business owner weekly for at least three months.

Most importantly, the Live Pitch Winners will receive automatic entry into the DEMO DAY semifinals and a chance to compete to win $15,000 awarded at DEMO DAY during GEW, along with a year-long membership to 36 Degrees North and a dedicated mentor. *In order for a pitch series winner to qualify as a DEMO DAY semifinalist, the winner must upload a 10 slide-pitch to the StartUp Series website prior to the close of the DEMO DAY application period.

Eligibility Requirements for Tulsa StartUp Series Pitch Competitions:

In order to qualify for the Pitch Series, the applicant must be an Oklahoma resident whose business is based in Oklahoma in the idea or prototype phase or have a business that is less than one year old. Furthermore, the business must have less than $25,000 in revenue, invested capital or debt. Company officers/participant team members must be legal residents of the United States. Additionally, company officers/participant team members cannot be directors, officers, or employees of the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation, Riata Center for Entrepreneurship at OSU, Cox Business or Cox Media. Immediate family members of each of the above are also disqualified. Students who are not employed by the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship at OSU are allowed to compete. Not-for-profit submissions will be be accepted so long as the pitch is for an idea utilizing business principles for revenue generation. A for-profit business which benefits or donates its proceeds to a registered non-profit is not disqualified under these rules.

To enter, applicants must fill out an entry form that includes valid contact information and their 60-second video pitch. Prior to beginning their pitch, the applicant must read the Tulsa StartUp Series Info and Disclaimer which states “My name is ____, my business is called ____, and this is my pitch for the Tulsa StartUp Series.”

By submitting a pitch, you represent and warrant to the Tulsa StartUp Series powered by the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation that you have all right, title and/or interest in the pitch and related documents submitted and the information it contains is original, accurate and complete, and that by submitting the pitch and related documents to the Tulsa StartUp Series powered by  Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation you are not and will not be violating any contract or third party rights including any patent, copyright, trade secret, proprietary or confidential information, trademark, publicity or privacy right.

Demo Day Submissions:

At the conclusion of the categorized pitch competitions, applications will open for the Demo Day competition. Applicants for Demo Day shall submit an application containing contact info and a 10-slide deck as outlined on the Tulsa StartUp Series website that includes the following information:

10-Slide Pitch Deck Requirements

  • Slide 1 – Elevator Pitch
    • A short, 1-2 sentence explanation of your company:
    • What your company does
    • How your company does it
    • Why your company does it
  • Slide 2 – The Problem
    • What is the problem your company solves?
    • Who has the problem?
    • Why is that problem a big deal?
  • Slide 3 – Your Solution
    • How do you fix your customer’s problem?
    • How is it different, better than others?
    • Customer example / demo
  • Slide 4 – Unfair Advantage
    • Proprietary technology
    • Experienced team
    • Market traction
  • Slide 5 – Business Model
    • Top sources of revenue
    • Cost of goods sold
  • Slide 6 – Market Size
    • Top Down or Bottom Up Calculation
    • Characteristics of the market
  • Slide 7 – Marketing Plan
    • How do you get customers?
    • How many customer can you get?
    • How much will it cost you to get these customers?
    • How many leads will convert into customers?
  • Slide 8 – Competitors
    • Who are all of your competitors?
    • How are you different/better?
  • Slide 9 – Team
    • Who is on your team?
    • Expertise
    • Experience
  • Slide 10 – Milestones
    • What are your goals for the next year?
    • How will you achieve these goals?
    • How will winning help you achieve these goals?
    • Pitch Series winners also need to explain how they used the $2,500 prize money to test their business concept

Tips for making slide deck:

  1. More graphics, less text
  2. Slides are not your script
  3. Font should never be less than 30pt
  4. Slides should be in PDF format

Eligibility Requirements for DEMO DAY:

Applicants for the DEMO DAY competition shall be Oklahoma residents with a business less than three years old and with $100,000 or less in revenue. Company officers/participant team members must be legal Residents of the United States. Additionally, company officers/participant team members cannot be directors, officers, or employees of the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation, Riata Center for Entrepreneurship at OSU, Cox Business or Cox Media. Immediate family members of each of the above are also disqualified. Students who are not employed by the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship at OSU are allowed to compete. Not-for-profit submissions will be be accepted so long as the pitch is for an idea utilizing business principles for revenue generation. A for-profit business which benefits or donates its proceeds to a registered non-profit is not disqualified under these rules.

A panel of five judges shall review the applications based upon 1) quality of the 10 slides; 2) business viability and shall select up to 10 finalists to pitch live at DEMO DAY Semifinals.

At the DEMO DAY Semifinals, judges will hear up to 10 live 10-slide pitches. Pitches shall be five minutes in length and must reference all 10 slides’ subject matter. Judges shall have five minutes to ask questions after each pitch. At the StartUp Series DEMO DAY Semifinals, judges shall select five businesses to present a live pitch at DEMO DAY during Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). The other businesses shall have the opportunity to set up a booth at DEMO DAY to present their product in a trade show fashion to maximize exposure of participant’s brand.

At the StartUp Series GEW DEMO DAY, the top five finalists from the DEMO DAY Semifinals shall pitch their business in five minutes with five minutes of Q & A. The winner of the competition will be announced live and will receive $15,000 to advance their business, along with a year’s membership and desk at 36 Degrees North and a dedicated mentor for 12 months.