Introducing the UofT Venture Competition, 2011

6 Mar

The U of T Computer Science Venture Competition is a new initiative aimed to facilitate venture activities of undergraduate and graduate students in Computer Science at the University  of Toronto. If you are a Computer Science student in any of U of T’s campuses and have an idea you wish to pursue that you believe is of commercial value then read on.

What is the U of T Computer Science Venture Competition?

Simply put it, is a competition that aims to provide “no strings attached” funds (in the form of a gift) to successful applicants in order to pursue their startup idea over the summer. The award funds have to be utilized exclusively as a stipend over the summer so that  you can devote all your time to pursuing your idea.

Why U of T Computer Science Venture Competition?

University of Toronto houses many talented students with great ideas that can lead to successful technology companies. This Venture Competition will provide some funds to bootstrap your startup venture.

How Does it Work?

Submit a one page description (maximum) of your idea by Mar 31 2011. Include the problem you aim to solve and what you plan to do over the summer. Also submit the resume of each member of the team. The applications will be accessed based on commercial and technical merits of your concept and strength of your team.

Who is on the Committee?

A group of angel investors and venture capitalists. This group is totally open to everyone (and if you like to be part of it, send email to ventures@cs.toronto.edu). This committee is also supplying the funds for the awards of this competition. We start the program with the following initial members: Nilesh Bansal (Angel Investor), Nick Koudas (Angel Investor), Scott Pelton (Growthworks Capital), and Amar Varma (Extreme Venture Partners). The composition of the committee may change depending on additional interest in participation.

What is the Value of the Awards?

The awards are equivalent to your stipend in the case of graduate students and to an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award in the case of undergraduate students. You will have funding to pursue your venture ideas for one summer. You will also be provided desk space and computing facilities at the U of T campus of your choice.

How do I pursue my venture if I receive an award?

All work has to take place at U of T utilizing U of T  premises and computing. Any commercial activity taking place subsequently is bound by the University of Toronto policies for intellectual property disclosure. See e.g., here.

What happens at the end of the summer?

The committee will assess your work based on a final presentation and will provide feedback. If requested and there is further interest the committee can assist in making introductions to investors. Committee members themselves may also participate in the future rounds of financing.
Frequently asked Questions:

– Do I have to incorporate a company or have a business plan?

No you do not. All you need is a clearly defined idea, and a talented team with lots of passion and tireless energy.

– What is the role of the committee after the awards are delivered?

The committee is available for consultation and to provide help shaping your venture ideas over the summer. Also the committee is available for technical consultation and to provide feedback based on their business and technical expertise.

– What if I am not a recipient of an award?

No harm really, your ideas are still great and you should pursue them independently if you believe in them!

– How Many Awards are Available?

This is up to the committee; it can award zero or multiple awards.

– When Would Results be Available?

We hope to have the results by the the first week of May. The plan would be to start working on your ideas by mid May.

– What are University of Toronto Intellectual Disclosure policies?

All Intellectual Property developed by UofT is co-owned by the inventors and the University.  Research Services and Innovations at UofT can provide further details for the University policies. See, e.g., here.

– How should idea descriptions be submitted?

Submit a one page description and the resumes of team members. Include emails, student number, and contact details of members of your team. Submit by sending an email with subject [IDEA SUBMISSION] to ventures@cs.toronto.edu. The committee will assess these plans and if additional information is required we will contact you for a brief discussion.

– What are the restrictions on team composition?

While there are no restrictions on number of team members, the ideal team will have 1-4 members. While a team can have non-UofT students, only those members that are U of T Computer Science students are eligible to receive  the stipend for the summer. The team will need to devote all their time and energy during the summer working on your venture.

– What areas will be considered for this program?

Any startup idea relating to computer science and software will be considered.

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