Request for Applications
Venture Forum seeks Central Massachusetts-based startups to participate in our 2023 5 Minute Pitch Contest.
The 5 Minute Pitch (5MP) provides personalized advisory and mentorship assistance to Central MA-based startups with a business model or technological innovation. The 5MP program is designed to help companies who have an existing MVP optimize their business models and gain strategic, operational, and financial traction.
Participants selected begin their 5MP experience by presenting their current pitch decks to an audience of peers, business professionals, and mentors in Venture Forum’s network. This first pitch allows participating companies to gain exposure in Central MA’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and serves as the basis for the customized mentorship to follow. Venture Forum expects to host the first pitch event in January 2023.
Post-pitch, entrepreneurs are matched with an experienced mentor for approximately two months. The mentors and entrepreneurs will identify the most pressing needs of the participating company and devise a customized mentorship plan to address those needs.
At minimum, the mentor and entrepreneurs will have at least 4 meetings:
- One to go through the strategy and give mentor an opportunity for feedback
- One to review the next iteration of the strategy
- One to fine tune the pitch based on the strategy
- One to serve as a timed rehearsal of the pitch
Our mentors are seasoned entrepreneurs or executive level professionals with experience launching companies and/or products. They are here to help participating companies navigate and succinctly articulate their go-to-market or growth strategies by addressing common challenges areas such as:
creating a sales and marketing roadmap or scalable system for generating leads and repeat sales
understanding how/where the company wants to grow and long-term goals
developing effective functions of a company such as HR, marketing, manufacturing, distribution, etc.
developing projections, understanding cash flows, securing capital
At the end of the mentor period, entrepreneurs present their 2nd pitch for a chance at non-dilutive funding to scale their business.
The 5MP program also includes a peer network component. Participating companies will meet as a whole cohort at least twice during the program. These meetups may include a speaker on a topic relevant to growing companies and a chance for participants to get to know each other and learn from one another.
To participate, companies must:
- Be headquartered in Central Massachusetts or desire to move to the area;
- Have a scalable business opportunity
- Have an MVP for a technology or business model innovation
- Founders have a demonstrated commitment to their startup
- Have raised <$1 million in equity financing
- Open Application Period: Monday, November 14, 2022
- Application deadline: Friday, January 6, 2023
- Finalists selected: Friday, January 13, 2023
- Kickoff meeting*: Tuesday, January 24, 2023
- First Pitch Event*: Tuesday, February 7, 2023
- Cohort Meetup*: Tuesday March 7, 2023
- Pitch Practice: Day before final pitch event
- Final Pitch Event*: Tuesday April 11, 2023
*Mandatory participation. Events will take 1-2 hours. Details will be communicated in advance.
There will be a cash prize for the top 2 companies. Amounts will be disclosed at a later date.
Teams will be evaluated on*:
- Company Purpose
- Business Model
- Innovation: Problem/Solution
- Market Potential
- Competitive Advantage
*Companies will be provided the evaluations guidelines after the initial pitch
Benefits to Participants
- Personalized support from mentors and the VF community
- Connections to leading experts and mentors
- Access to VF’s network of investors
- Cohort learning / Peer network
- Improved investor presentation that conveys information necessary to entice potential investors to go to the next step
- Opportunity for non-dilutive funding