How are we different from other competitions?
- Hackathons – we believe hackathons are a great way to learn how to code, but they aren’t focused on developing a new business and validating a business model with customers.
- Startup weekends – startup weekends are a great way to learn about how to startup a company, but due to the short time frame, there isn’t enough time to get validated learning and pivot.
- Business plan competitions – Business plan competitions look at startups as mini big corporations, which a startup is not, because a big corporation is about executing a business model and a startup is about searching for a business model.
How does it work?
1. Create a Business Model Canvas
Take your idea and map it out on a business model canvas. You can use either Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas Business Model Canvas or Ash Maurya’s Lean Canvas
The Chicago Lean Startup Challenge is a competitive program, and we will only accept a select group of applicants. We charge a $200 application fee, all of which goes towards cash prizes for the competition. We will notify you if you are selected by June 20th. If you are not selected, we will refund your application fee. (Registrations will close on July 3rd.) Remember, the CLSC is all about validated learning, so the sooner you start, the more learning you have!
After you register, we will give you free access to Lean Launch Lab, so you can start documenting your lean startup.
4. Start documenting
Once a week create a blog post that
5. Post a Video
After 8 weeks, post a video describing your business model hypotheses, experiments, and what you’ve learned.
6. Choosing the Finalists
Judges will determine the Final 4 on in September. The judging criteria for the finals:
- Validation (40%) – How much of the model has been validated and for those things that are validated, are they really justified.
- Metrics (30%) – Is the company using data to make decisions and is that data shared and updated regularly. Are there vanity metrics (note: that is bad).
- Customer acquisition and retention (30%) – Is there a clear path to the customer? Are CAC and LTV being measured and managed?
7. Intense Acceleration
Judges will provide feedback to each finalist on what they need to do to take it to the next level. The finalists will receive extra mentoring, design and development help to accelerate their progress over a 4 week period, and will receive pitch coaching from Troy Henikoff, CEO of Excelerate Labs.
8. The Finals: Compete for $75,000 in cash and prizes
Finalists will present to a panel of judges and an audience of over 500 investors, mentors, press and members of the tech community on the evening of 10/18. The presentation will consist of a 10 minute presentation, followed by 5 minutes of Q&A from the judges and 5 minutes of Q&A from the audience via twitter. The judges will decide the winners and present the cash and prizes.
The competition is for new, independent ventures in a seed position:
- Booked Revenues: Existing companies that have booked revenue are not eligible to enter the competition.
- Professional Investment: Any existing company or idea that has received angel or venture capital financing is ineligible for this competition. Funding from personal sources, including “family and friends,” is allowed for competition applicants as long as its less than $100,000.
- Venture Type Exclusions: The following ventures are generally excluded from the competition: buyouts, expansions of existing companies, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area, and spin-outs from existing corporations
What Participants Get
Lean Startup Resources
A one day Lean Startup bootcamp, weekly learning materials, checklists and access to classes
Hands on Advice from Amazing Mentors
Help from the best mentors Chicago has to offer.
Essential Startup Tools
Details coming soon
A private space and networking events for participants.
Cash and Prizes
Details coming soon