Summer Venture Award Frequently Asked Questions

When does the 2021 Summer Venture Award application open and where can I apply?

  • The 2021 Summer Venture Award (SVA) applications will open on Friday, December 11, 2020 (12:01 am ET)
  • The SVA application will be available on Venture Lab’s SurveyMonkey Apply page.

What is the deadline to submit my 2021 Summer Venture Award application?

  • The deadline to submit completed 2021 Summer Venture Award applications is Monday, February 8, 2021 by 11:59 PM

Who is eligible to apply for the Summer Venture Award?

  • Wharton/Penn undergraduate students are eligible to use the award between the junior and senior years of the undergraduate program.
  • Wharton MBAs are eligible to use the award between the first and second years of the MBA program.  Other Penn graduate students are eligible to use the award during the summer before their final year at Penn.
  • SVA cannot be combined with any other cash award given for the same purpose (e.g., the Jacobson Venture Award).
  • An existing business is only eligible if before the start of the current academic year it has received less than $100,000 in institutional funding. Institutional funding includes any funding from angel investors, VCs (any stage, including seed), and/or accelerator/incubator programs.
  • Non-profit organizations (Ex. 501 (c) (3) organizations), Benefit Corporations (B-Corps), and other mission-focused ventures are eligible to apply.
  • Students must be in good academic standing at Wharton/Penn.
  • Students must be committed to working full-time to develop the venture over the summer after receiving the award.
  • Students must agree to the terms and conditions of the award.

What needs to be provided along with the Summer Venture Award application?

Students must have a well-developed venture concept.  Applications require the submission of the following:

  • Slide deck – Maximum of 20 slides that includes the following information:
    • Cover Slide (Required as the first slide)
      • Company name
      • Your purpose as short text or visual description
      • Contact information (ex: website URL, name & email )
    • The Opportunity/Problem
      • What problem are you solving?
      • How are potential customers solving this problem now?
    • Your solution
      • Why you, why now?
      • Product/service description
      • Value proposition
      • Use cases or user experience
    • Your product or service
      • How does your product or service uniquely meet the needs of your customers?
      • What’s the underlying magic or secret sauce? Do you have intellectual property (IP) that is integral to your startup?
      • Development roadmap
    • Market
      • Total available market
      • Target market segment (your market entry point)
    • Customers
      • Who are your customers, decision-makers, end-users, and influencers?
    • Go-to-Market Plan
      • Customer acquisition process (and pipeline, if available)
      • Sales & distribution model
      • Marketing activities and metrics
      • Customer acquisition process
      • How will you retain and grow your customer base?
    • Business Model (detailed financials are not required for the First Round)
      • Revenue model and pricing – how will you make money?
      • Average customer purchase and/or lifetime value (CLV)
      • Cost structures (cost of sales, talent, overhead)
      • Proforma income statement (if applicable)
      • Funding plan
    • Competition
      • Your primary competitors
      • Competitor characteristics
      • Your competitive advantages
    • Team
      • Current team members, their roles and strengths, and their Penn affiliations
      • Board of Directors or Board of Advisors (if applicable)
      • Who you still need on your team
    • Current status
      • Accomplishments to date
      • Funds raised (if applicable)
      • Traction
      • Milestones
    • Use of SVA Funds
      • Should you be awarded an SVA grant, how will you use the SVA funds specifically?
      • How does the use of funds connect to the plan for your venture laid out in your previous slides?
      • What are your goals for the summer? What do you hope to accomplish during that time?
  • Venture Lab Application that asks key questions about your venture’s progress, goals, and plans for utilizing the awards funds
  • Resumes for the Founder/Co-founder
  • Elevator Pitch Video The video can be an “elevator pitch” or simply a description in your own words of your venture concept. It should be no more than 2 minutes long.
    • Please make sure that the video is set to public, and therefore viewable by our selection committee. Videos that are set to private or password protected cannot be seen and thus could result in your team’s disqualification for an incomplete application.

Who determines which ventures will be selected as finalists?

  • Semi-finalists will be chosen by a selection committee of Penn/Wharton alumni entrepreneurs, VCs, and other professionals.
  • Award winners will be chosen by a group of five Finalist Judges that are also comprised of Penn/Wharton alumni entrepreneurs, VCs, and other professionals.
  • The specific Finalist Judging members will be announced along with the announcement of the 2021 SVA finalists.

When will I know if I’ve been selected as a Summer Venture Award Finalist?

  • 2021 Summer Venture Award Finalists will be announced on Monday, March 29, 2021.

Once finalists are selected, what then?

  • Finalists for the award will be required to pitch their ventures virtually to the selection committee as part of the selection process on Friday, April 9, 2021.

If I have any other questions, is there someone I can reach out to?

  • For any questions regarding the Summer Venture Award, please reach out to Xavier Stewart, Associate Director – Venture Lab