MegaWatt Ventures is dedicated to providing a high-energy forum that encourages students, engineers, universities, researchers, and entrepreneurs to develop innovative products and companies that address today’s global energy issues. While only ten teams will be selected to compete for the $50,000 prize, all applicants are encouraged to take advantage of the workshops and contact networks that MegaWatt Ventures is able to provide.
The selected finalist teams will be required to participate in a virtual training program and are expected to proactively tap into the contacts that are provided to assist in accelerating the development of a relevant product prototype and a fundable business plan.
Who can apply?
In order to participate in the MegaWatt Ventures competition, at least 50% of any participating team’s “formal team members” must be actively enrolled in an accredited U.S. university or college. “Formal team members” are defined as those individuals eligible to directly receive prize money or services awarded. Teams must be “student-led”, meaning the efforts and execution of the business must be from students.
Entrants must be early-stage ventures. Teams must meet the following criteria:
- Ventures may not have equity capital totaling more than $200,000 prior to selection of the MegaWatt Ventures competition winner
- Teams are not required to incorporate before entering the competition, but must be incorporated and have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) prior to receiving awards or prizes
- Student members of the formal team must have combined minimum equity of 20% of the company
- Teams can be located anywhere in the U.S; Teams from the following states are highly encouraged to participate: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee
The submitted technology must support one of the U.S. Department of Energy EERE categories:
- Renewable Electricity Generation
- Solar Energy Technologies
- Geothermal Technologies
- Wind and Hydropower Technologies
- Sustainable Transportation
- Vehicle Technologies
- Bioenergy Technologies
- Fuel Cell Technologies
- Energy-Saving Homes, Buildings, and Manufacturing
- Building Technologies
- Advanced Manufacturing
- Federal Energy Management
- Weatherization & Intergovernmental
For more information regarding the eligible technology categories - click here.
Technologies or research from any US-based university or national lab can be incorporated into the proposed product concepts.
Applications must be relevant to the MegaWatt Ventures goal: to foster growth for early-stage ventures who are developing technologies that solve urgent energy- and sustainability-related issues and have a clearly defined business model.
Teams should me made up of members with a diverse background in business and technical fields, made up of students and advisory board members.
Applicants must clearly articulate commercial applications and the market opportunity for their technology/research. The chosen markets must align with sectors that have strong future growth potential.
Technologies must have a degree of intellectual property coverage in order to create a competitive barrier within the market.
Expectations for All Applicants:
- Attend on-campus networking events to identify teammates, mentors, and technologies
- Submit all required application documents, including:
- A business model canvas (download a template here) that outlines the nine core elements of your (anticipated) business model
- A completed three-page executive summary, based on the template provided here, that aligns with eligible technology categories and that has all required letters of support from university and research partners
- All additional forms covering team background and additional information
- Tap into local resources for assistance with writing an executive summary and creating a business model canvas
Expectations for Ten Finalists:
- Incorporation of a new company that will be the recipient of MegaWatt Venture funds (if not already incorporated)
- Mandatory attendance by all team members in the 8-week virtual training program covering cleantech entrepreneurship
- At least one team member be available to pitch your company at the Grand Prize showcase at the end of May 2017 (date & location to be announced soon) in Orlando, FL.
- Meet with UCF Venture Accelerator staff to determine coaching needs and next steps for commercialization strategy
- Development of a product prototype that can be showcased at the final event
- Development of a fundable business plan and an investor presentation
- Proactive utilization of assigned mentors to assist in business plan/product development
- Consistent access of the MegaWatt Ventures business, investor and technical networks
Expectations for Grand Prize Winner:
- Usage of all MegaWatt Ventures funds to develop a commercially viable prototype/ continue with commercialization of product
- Continued maturation of the company into a sustainable venture
- Good faith negotiation with any third parties to obtain licenses to relevant IP
- Participation in the national DOE Cleantech UP competition
- Active utilization of MegaWatt Ventures mentor network