1. The technology associated with the product/service idea can either be owned by the participating university or by one or more of the student team members from that university.
2. Each team must have a faculty adviser with expertise in the technology underlying the product.
3. Teams can consist of any number of individuals, but all must be either a current student or have been enrolled at the University sometime during the academic year preceding the event (although exceptions presented to the I2P LA committee may be considered).
4. Teams are strongly recommended to have at least one student member with an academic background in a relevant science/medical/engineering discipline.
5. Teams are strongly recommended to have at least one student member with an academic background in business.
6. A single team member may meet both background requirements.
7. The event will be structured in the form of a ten-minute presentation followed by a fifteen-minute question and answer session:
1. on Day 1 (feedback round), this will be in front of judges and the other teams and all faculty advisers;
2. on Day 2 (challenge round), teams will be judged by an external panel of technology, commercial and investment experts.
8. Teams must accomplish all the requirements listed at the Deadlines.
9. Teams are not required to submit a full business plan.
- The very best entries will have a unique product that uses an innovative technology with a clear market demand, i.e. present two key criteria:
-a technology product/service answering a clear market need;
-a demonstrable route to market for that product/service
- The technology can be, but does not need to be, brand new technology or necessarily ‘high tech’. The entry can utilize existing technology and/or modification of existing technology for a creative new product/service.
- By ‘route to market’, we are looking for the team’s understanding of their product’s place within a market and the identification of a clear and logical target customer with a real need that the product addresses. The team needs to have a clear picture of the development necessary for the technology and the proposed product.
- As a technology commercialization rather than a business plan challenge, the competition does not address:
-expanded distribution and marketing strategies,
-detailed financial analyses,
-finalized team CVs and advisory panels etc.
A well-developed business plan will not place a team in a stronger position relative to a team that has no business plan.
- If a team’s entry is just at the idea stage the team needs to be able to assure the judges that the technology is feasible. The team does, however, need to have a product in mind, not just a technology. If this is an early stage idea, the team needs to be able to offer assurances that it is feasible to create the product/service.
- To be judged highly, you do not have to assume that the team can or will be the ones to take the idea to market.
- For a good entry, it should be reasonable to assume that the product could be built and sold at enough of a profit, to enough of the targeted customers, to sustain a business. The technologies do not necessarily need to be ‘Venture Capital-fundable’.
- The closer the team members are to the inception or invention of their technological innovation, the stronger their position will be in the judges’ eyes. In other words, a presentation made by the inventors will score more highly than one by those only peripherally involved in the birth of the technology.
I2P – A Tech Commercialization Competition
Not Just Another Business Plan Competition – Idea to Product Latin America is a technology commercialization competition, in which student teams from the best business, science, engineering and technology colleges in Latin America present innovative ideas with clear routes to market. However, as an innovative competition format, the differences between a business plan competition (BPC) and one involving technology commercialization is not always clear. This web page outlines those differences:
Technology commercialization plan: pre-business plan without team-building aimed at clarifying the commercial potential of a technology idea, and identification of a technology opportunity. The requirements for this approach are laid out in I2P International’s questions to entering teams, who must be comprised of current university students:
1. What is your product or service?
2. What is the technology that underlies your product/service?
3. How is your underlying technology unique?
4. Is your product or service innovative? How?
5. How would you define the best initial set of customers? (Who will buy it?)
6. What marketplace need does your product or service address better than any other option? (Why will they buy it?)
7. Describe how you create value for your customers.
8. What is the market and its size (provide some indication of the general size of the market)?
9. How do you anticipate developing IP protection/strategy for your technology?
Business plan: aimed at investors and focused around building a team to launch the new venture, identifying a full-blown business opportunity. Here are the judging criteria for a team’s entry into its New Business Challenge:
* Is there a clearly identified market opportunity?
* Have the team identified a target segment?
* How far has the product/ service been developed?
* Is there any evidence of proof of concept or prototyping?
* Is there an appropriate team in place, or gaps in the team identified?
* Have the team identified a clear route to market and rollout strategy?
* How much progress has the team made?
* Was the presentation strong and convincing?
* Would you invest?
* Quality and experience of the team
* Financial statements and analysis
Key differences summarized: a) Idea: technology commercialization competitions require an explicitly technology-based product or service, while BPCs rarely stipulate business type. b) Team: technology commercialization competitions, assume that technology businesses need to be run by experienced people so do not require that the presenting team pretends to be the business team; the team – or at least a skeleton of it – should already be established in a BPC, frequently putting relatively-inexperienced students at an automatic disadvantage. c) Investment: technology commercialization competitions assume an investment-credible team will be assembled when the technology is at the required state of development, so relatively early-stage ideas can be entered: since investors typically invest in teams, BPCs assume ideas will be investment-ready.A technology-commercialization competition emphasizes university technology, does not over-privilege age & experience, and allows relatively early-stage ideas to enter.