True Story: A Great Presentation Wins Big

by Tim Berry

Do great presentations launch businesses? Not always, perhaps, but sometimes, yes. And in this case, yes. Or maybe it’s just a great business.  I was in Austin TX at the event last Saturday when NuMat Technologies, a startup launched at Northwestern, won the University of Texas’ Venture Labs Investment Competition.   I was also at Rice... Read More »

Disrupt Education … Please!

by Tim Berry

I wonder if we as a society are ever going to figure out how technology can disrupt our antiquated systems for educating our children. Think about what’s happened to information, social interaction, research, and business over the web — not to mention mobile technology — and then think about education. Preschool, K-12, and higher education.... Read More »

From the Rice Million-Dollar Business Plan Competition

by Tim Berry

Today and tomorrow I’ll be judging the Rice Business Plan Competition again for the fifth time, enjoying the event thoroughly and proud to be a part of it. This one, now in its 11th year, has prize money totaling $1.3 million. Its also covered in Fortune Magazine and elsewhere, and rivals the University of Texas Venture... Read More »

You Can Take Your IRR and Shove It

by Tim Berry

In pitches and presentations everywhere, bright young entrepreneur tells cynical skeptical investors, usually with great pride and flourish, about their fabulous IRR for their great new startup. I get a gag reflex. IRR stands for internal rate of return. You can check wikipedia or investopedia for what that’s supposed to mean and how it’s calculated.... Read More »

Are You the Entrepreneur of 2011? If So, Act Fast.

by Tim Berry

Are you the winner who will be announced next January? If you want to be, get going, because the deadline for entering is June 15. Picture a large hotel banquet room, something like 50 yards long and 25 yards wide, with a big well-lit stage, two huge video screens, and a podium. It’s set up... Read More »

5 Good Posts for Friday May 6

by Tim Berry

I’m in Austin TX today looking forward to two full days judging the University of Texas’ Venture Labs business plan competition, which is something like a grand finale, bringing together 36 teams that have won other competitions. This is the original Moot Corp, started in 1984, the first MBA-level business plan contest that I ever... Read More »

10 Reflections On 2 Business Plan Competitions

by Tim Berry

Last week I spent three days in Houston as a judge of the Rice Business Plan Competition. I haven’t been home since I left April 7 to judge the University of Oregon’s New Venture Championship. Both of these competitions include four components: the business plan, the business pitch, the responses to questions, and the elevator... Read More »

5 Ways to Make Your Projected Profits Realistic

by Tim Berry

I’m well into my business plan marathon again this year, in Houston today looking forward to judging the Rice Business Plan Competition, one of my favorites. Regarding business plans, instead of just complaining (again) about unrealistically high profitability projections, today I have some specific suggestions. And this has nothing whatsoever to do with the six... Read More »

Business Plan Marathon Again … and Your Profits Are Still Way Too High

by Tim Berry

This morning I start my annual business plan marathon. This is my day as a semi-finals judge at the University of Oregon’s New Venture Championship. From here I go to Houston next week for Rice University’s million-dollar business plan competition, and then in early may to Austin for the University of Texas’ Venture Labs competition.... Read More »

Business Plan Contests Leave Out Bootstrappers

by Tim Berry

I consider myself something of an expert on business plan competitions. I ran one myself for several years, I’ve judged several dozen including several of the most prestigious, my company sponsors more than a dozen a year, I’ve had students in my undergrad business classes competing in them, I’m an investor member of an angel... Read More »