Guide to Submitting a Competitive Application 2015

Launch DePaul. The following is a collection of tips, advice and questions to guide you through the Launch DePaul application. It is intended to help you and your team think more deeply about the application questions. If you have any other questions, please contact the Coleman Center at cec@depaul.edu.

Please note: Adhering to the outline below does not guarantee a winning application. All applications will be reviewed by a panel of judges that will determine which teams will continue on in the competition.

  1. General information about the team members, including names, email addresses, ID numbers, anticipated graduation years (if applicable), preferred phone numbers and each member’s connection to DePaul.
  1. Information about each team member’s role, skills, education level, schools, past companies, past projects, URLs, etc.
  1. The name, URL, and brief description of your company and its product or service. (75 words max)
  • Start with a nontechnical description of the concept simple enough for everyone to understand. Think of this as your elevator pitch in writing.
  • If you wish, you can go into detail that describes the concept using the appropriate technical, scientific or professional jargon – within the word limit.
  • DO NOT share anything you consider proprietary. Doing so may prevent you from patenting or obtaining other legal protection for your product or service.
  1. Describe your value proposition. What is the problem you are solving? (75 words max)
  • Think about how your customers will benefit from using your product or service.
  • What customer needs are you satisfying?
    • Is it convenience, efficiency, entertainment, etc.?
    • Are you helping customers get more out of work or life?
    • Are you helping customers meet their goals (e.g. saving money, living greener)?
  1. What’s new, interesting, or different about what your company will do? (75 words max)
  1. Provide information on current or likely competitors, and include key differentiators. (200 words max)
  • What is the competitive landscape for your product or service? Who is offering something similar?
  • Who is offering a substitute to your product or service?
  • Why will customers use or purchase your product or service over your competition’s product or service?
  1. How do you plan to make money? What are your revenue streams? (150 words max)
  • Describe how you plan on charging your customers for your product or service.
  • Will you use a certain pricing model, such as a subscription or freemium model?
  • Do you plan to generate most of your revenue via advertising? If so, from whom?
  • Do you plan to generate most of your revenue by aggregating information? If so, who are potential buyers of the data?
  • If you are considering multiple revenue streams, how much does each contribute to your overall revenues?
  1. What is your cost structure? What is the most expensive cost inherent in your business model? (150 words max)
  • Provide an overview of the cost structure of your venture (consider both fixed and variable costs).
  • Which key resources and activities are most expensive?
  • What is the most expensive cost inherent in your business model, and how will you incorporate that cost into your growth plans?
  1. How far along are you? (75 words max)
  1. If you have accepted outside funding, please describe sources and amounts. (75 words max)
  1. Describe any market research or customer feedback you have gathered. What have you learned? (200 words max)
  • Have you engaged with customers to obtain feedback on your product or service? With how many, and in what way(s)?
  • What changes have you made to your business based on customer input?
  • Have you pivoted your venture? If so, how and in what ways?
  • How do you (or plan to) incorporate customer feedback into your business in an ongoing way?
  1. How do you plan to get your first (or next) customers? (150 words max)

For ventures that are in the planning stages:

  • How will you attract and acquire your first customers?
  • How have you identified your target market? How do you plan to reach them?
  • What are your marketing or advertising plans?
  • Are you going to give your product or service away for free to a certain number of customers? If so, what is the financial impact of this?
  • What do you anticipate as your greatest growth challenges, and how will you address them?

For ventures that have already launched:

  • How did you attract and acquire your first customers? Has this changed?
  • How did you identify your original target market? Has this changed?
  • What were (are) your marketing or advertising efforts?
  • Did (Do) you give your product or service away for free to a certain number of customers?
  • How do you plan on gaining more customers?
  • How do you plan on generating more revenue?
  • Do you have plans to expand geographically or to extend your business in other ways?
  • What do you anticipate as your greatest growth challenges, and how will you address them?
  1. How do you plan to grow? (200 words max)
  1. If you receive funding for your company (either from this competition or elsewhere), how do you intend to use the funds? (150 words max)
  1. Is there any other information you would like to share? (150 words max)

Guide to Submitting a Competitive Application 2015