Overall Guidance


Important Notes on Submissions

  • File Naming Convention: In order for reviewers to easily identify attachments, please use the following naming convention for files to be uploaded to this attachment.  'Organization' and 'initials' must be the organization and initials of the Team Leader: 'organization' - 'initials' deliverable type.format (e.g. UCLA - GWB Resume.pdf) 
  • If there are multiple groups within the same organization with the same initials, the CAI team will assist in adjusting team names
  • Only one file should be uploaded for each attachment category (Resumes, Stakeholder Engagement Form and Collaborators).  For example, if you are uploading resumes for each member of your Challenge Team, please combine all resumes into one file and upload that one file to the resume category
  • Each attachment should try to be no more than 1-2MB in file size
  • Image files and executable files will not be accepted (e.g. jpg, .gif, .bmp, .tif, .exe)

Jotform Online Submission


Phase 0 will be using the Jotform platform for submitting documents.  Please read the important notes below for properly submitting your forms.

  • Only use the online click-through as a proper submission.  If you are having issues with the system, please email the Challenge Hosts
  • For security purposes and to safely return to your survey, you should try to access your from the same computer and browser as you first filled out your survey.
  • You can save your jotform by selecting the "Submit OR Save" Button on the lower-right corner where applicable.  Upon the first time submitting/saving, you will open a thank you window and receive an email to the the address you provided with confirmation and an edit link to return to your form.  Only this edit link will allow you to return to your previously edited form.  If you did not receive an email or edit link, please email Jonathan@thecenterforadvancinginnovation.org

Phase 0: Deliverable Guidance


All Phase 0 deliverables are due by May 1st, 2016 at 11:59pm (EST)


Letter of Intent (LOI) Form: The team leader should submit ONE (1) Letter of Intent form via the Jotform online submission system.  To answer the Letter of Intent to completion you will need these things from your team:

  • The Invention you have chosen
  • Universities represented by your team
  • Relevant Business / Research experience for your invention
  • Startup experience
  • Venture Capital / Fundraising experience
  • Type of Collaborators / Stakeholders on your team

CDA form: All team members (team leader, core team members, mentors, advisors, and collaborators) need to populate the CDA form

  • At the end of the LOI and CDA forms will be a Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA) click-through; you must agree to the CDA's terms to participate

Resumes and Optional Documents: one (1) file containing all resumes for all team members, mentors and advisors

  • Your team must submit resumes for all of your team members excluding your collaborators (information on collaborators are optional and can be included in another document)
  • Pull together all your team member resumes to be submitted in one file
  • Resumes are limited to two (2) pages per team member
  • Please include a header on the top of each resume indicating what their role is on the team (e.g. Core Team Member, Mentor, Advisor, etc.)



Optional Deliverables


Stakeholder Analysis ToolWe also strongly urge you to perform the proper stakeholder analysis for all phases of this Challenge.  We are providing a "Stakeholder Analysis Tool" for your use.  The Stakeholder Analysis Tool is used to identify stakeholders, and to assess their influence and favorability.   Stakeholders are individuals and groups, both inside and outside the Challenge team/start-up, who can: 

  • influence the success of the business plan and start-up 
  • be impacted by the new start-up
  • actively support the start-up through funding, mentoring, etc.   

The Stakeholder Analysis Process: Brainstorm a list of stakeholders, asking the following questions:

  • Who can influence the success of my business plan and start-up and who can be impacted by the start-up?  Segment the stakeholders into meaningful clusters as appropriate (functions such as R&D, sales/marketing; regions,etc.) 
  • To what degree do they have the power to influence the success of the ultimate start-up?  Use the 1-5 scale shown on the Stakeholder Analysis Tool template 
  • What is this stakeholder’s current level of commitment to the start-up?  How favorably do they view the start-up?  Use the 1-5 scale shown on the template 
  • For our start-up, what does success look like to this stakeholder, what would they consider to be wins? Identify proactive actions to achieve these “wins," and to engage key stakeholders to provide your perspectives on how this initiative can create a value add for them in particular

Industry and Academic Collaborators:  Please also consider creating an optional document that contains all your collaborators (put all the collaborators information in one document with headers to separate different collaborators); please upload all collaborator information in one file and submit with your Resumes.  See a list of types of collaborators below.

  • Non-Profit
  • Economic Development
  • Key Opinion Leaders
  • Patient Advocacy Groups
  • VCs / PE / Angel Investors
  • Federal Government / University Collaborators
  • Pharma Collaborators
  • Service Providers (CRO, CMO, law firms, accounting firms)


Criteria, Guidelines, and Scoring


Overall Scoring: Accepted teams will be determined by the Challenge hosts based on the criteria below.  Final Communications to accepted teams will occur on May 2nd, 2016


Mandatory Documents: Provide all mandatory documents outlined above in the "Phase 0 Overview and Submission Requirements;" as indicated, you will find a sample of all the documents here

Scoring Criteria: Please find below criteria and guidelines that will assist you in entering the Challenge

Overall Criteria: Adhere to the Eligibility requirements and Official Rules 



  • Criteria I: Team Capabilities
    • Core team members have invention relevant experience
    • Team contains members with R&D, marketing/business development, manufacturing and other operational experience relevant to the invention
  • Criteria II: Entrepreneur's Background
    • Founded a company relevant to the invention
    • Has been with company 3 or more years
    • Successfully exited a company, e.g., sold company, IPO, M&A, etc.
    • Raised dilutive and non-dilutive funding
    • Bonus: Licensed inventions from the Federal government or a University
  • Criteria III: University Collaboration
    • Demonstrated cross-university collaboration to gain invention-relevant skills / experience


  • Criteria I: Industry Collaboration
    • Comprehensive Stakeholder Assessment
    • Identified collaborators to improve probability of success, e.g. R&D, CROs, etc.
  • Criteria II: Funding
    • Both dilutive and non-dilutive funders have been strategically identified
    • Potential funders are collaborators, mentors and/or advisors to the team


Phase 0 Accepted Teams


There will be a maximum of ten (10) teams per NASA invention that will move on to Phase 1: Elevator Speech.  Teams will be determined by the Challenge hosts based on the criteria above.

Phase 1: Deliverable Guidance


All Phase 1 deliverables are due by June 5th, 2016 at 11:59pm (EST)
Elevator Speech (2 Minutes):
  • In a good elevator pitch you should be able to convey all the essential information about your company in a clear and succinct manner, all the while communicating in a tone that’s compelling, credible, likeable, and passionate.  Most of the time, it’s good to tell a story
  • Focus on why your business exists, how you make money and why you are differentiated
  • Example Elevator Speeches:
    • Crafting an elevator pitch (here)
    • How to create an elevator pitch (here)
Executive Summary (350 words): The executive summary should be written content that your team would cover in your "live" pitch.  The executive summary should act as a strong opening statement to your business plan and should be able to stand alone as a document independent of the rest of the plan.  You should attempt to intrigue your audience to learn more about your business with this section.  Review the executive summary criteria below to guide you on what to include.
Public Voting: Public voting will occur between June 6th to June 12th, 2016.  There will be a link available to view all teams and their ideas on the Pitchburner Platform.  This will be period of time to gain interest about your team, the invention, and your ideas on how you will eventually commercialize the invention.  Contact friends, family, peers, and stakeholders about your ideas and ask them to provide feedback on your deliverables.  The Challenge hosts will organize training on how to best market your video/executive summary to relevant stakeholders/peers

Criteria, Guidelines, and Scoring

Overall Scoring: Scoring will be based on a combination between evaluations completed by the Challenge judges and each teams' performance in crowdsourcing and public voting

  • Evaluations and scoring will be done by the Challenge judges on the Pitchburner platform
  • Public voting and crowdsourcing will be executed from June 6th to June 12th, 2016
  • Final communication to Phase 1 semi-finalists will occur on on June 15th, 2016

Audience: Remember that the audience could be a person that is unfamiliar with science.  Tailor your pitch to a diverse set of viewers, e.g., potential investors, pharma collaborators, Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), etc.


Elevator Speech Guidelines and Scoring Criteria: In two minutes concisely describe your company, its IP, and its mission/vision while remaining captivating and engaging. Your video will be graded on these three criteria:

  • Criteria I: Presentation
    • Are members of your team represented?
    • Are there quality visual aids accompanying the presentation? (i.e. words and meaningful graphs as well as pictures)
    • Is the presentation creative or imaginative?
    • Do you have good audio/video?
  • Criteria II: Content    
    • What is the problem being solved?
    • What is the product and how does it address the problem?
    • How is the product differentiated?
    • What are the economics of the product?
    • What are the benefits and who will receive them?
    • How easy will it be to commercialize?
    • How easy will it be to perform R&D?
  • Criteria III: Persuasion    
    • Are viewers hooked?
    • Are you memorable?
    • Will viewers want to learn more about this business?

Executive Summary Guidelines and Scoring Criteria: An executive summary is not an abstract!  You should ensure that you touch on nuances that will distinguish you from your competition.  Explain the basic elements of the proposed business.  Below are some things you may want to include (but are not limited to): 

  • Company Overview:  What does the company do?  Who are your target customers?
  • Products: What does your product do? How is it differentiated? Include information on ownership of the technology
  • Competitors:  What is the current competitive landscape?
  • Business Strategy/Model: How are you going to make money?  What are the benefits to the payers? Who will be your payers?
  • R&D Path and Major Milestones:  R&D, Regulatory, Commercialization, Exit 
  • Operations:  Marketing, Sales, Manufacturing, etc.
  • Management:  Who will make up your team?
  • Financial Summary:  Projected cash flow, burn rate, financial value proposition, valuation, time/money to value inflection points

Phase 1 Semi-Finalists
A maximum of five (5) semi-finalists from each invention will move on to Phase 2: Business Plan

Phase 2: Deliverable Guidance


All Phase 2 deliverables are due by September 30, 2016 at 11:59pm (EST)


Business Plan (10 pages + appendices): Begin with the end in mind. Make sure you understand seed funders' criteria for investment and NASA licensing agreement requirements.  Leverage CAI’s templates/guidelines for your business plan, regulatory strategy, development plan, and commercialization plan, etc.


Financial Model (Excel format only):

  • Profit and Loss - shows the revenues and expenses of a company for a particular period.  This should be utilized to show both your near and long term projections for R&D costs, salaries, product sales, funding etc.
  • Balance Sheet - a summary of the financial balances of a corporation.  A "snapshot" of the company's financial condition.  Try to show multiple years of your balance sheet during key moments of your company's lifecycle
  • Valuation and Capitalization Table - provide an analysis of the company's current and projected valuation for each round of investment.  Also provide the founders' and investors' percentage of ownership, equity dilution and potential value of equity for each round

(Optional) Business Model Canvas: A visual chart for describing a firm's product, value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances.  It is a consolidated template for developing and displaying your business model

Live Pitch (20 minutes - 5 minute presentation, 5 minute Q&A, 10 minute preparation time)

  • Pitch Deck (10 pages via Prezi or Powerpoint)
  • Conducted via WebEx.  Ensure that your team has both microphone and webcam capability
  • Teams will be presenting to the Challenge hosts, judges, and potential funders
  • Teams may be asked for a second session if more time is needed or if the judges have additional questions

Please note: provide details regarding any assumptions you have in your financial models, development plans, etc.  If you create a business model canvas please provide appendices that outline your assumptions


Criteria, Guidelines, and Scoring


Overall Scoring: Scoring for Phase 2 will be based on your business plan, your live pitch, and your team's overall performance throughout the Challenge.  Be sure to include all aspects of the guidelines and criteria below to ensure a complete business plan and live pitch

  • Evaluations and scoring will be done by the Challenge judges on a judging platform
  • Final communication to Phase 2 finalists and winners will occur on on October 14, 2016

Business Plan Guidelines and Scoring Criteria: 

  • Criteria I: Comprehensive and Complete
    • Defined commercialization and development plan over the appropriate time period and have included specific milestone events (note: milestone events should include go/no-go decisions for potential investors).  For example, therapeutics will take a longer period of time to get approved unless they are addressing a rare disease/orphan indication
    • Clearly articulated all potential addressable target customer segments and the market/competitive landscape
    • Identified additional plans required, for example, Intellectual Property (IP) plan
    • Evaluated the entire lifecycle of your invention, both branded and generic products, if relevant
    • Identified medical/scientific experiments and developed your overall clinical trials plan in development plan. For the next invention tests required, outlined a very high level protocol with the correct number and type of samples and tests that need to be completed with specific goals for statistical significance. Created a plan for reproducing the results (if relevant)
    • Documentation provided is of high quality and includes sources, assumptions.  Overall plans are pragmatic yet optimistic
  • Criteria II: Ability to Attract Investors/Collaborators
    • Identified specific differentiators and novelty of your Team's product/service to all key stakeholders. Novelty will indicate why the invention is unique from a scientific perspective.  Differentiation will indicate how the invention is better than anything else currently available e.g., better standard of care (e.g., one drug versus several for a shorter period of time with fewer side effects), cheaper, easier to use (e.g., at home diagnostic test), etc.  Note: stakeholders will be defined in your stakeholder engagement plan but should include the end patient, doctors, payers, VCs, etc.
    • Identified a specific exit or liquidity event, e.g., IPO, out-licensing/sub-licensing, funding partners (both dilutive and non-dilutive), revenue from a viable product, M&A, etc.
    • Creatively defined a quick revenue and profit model through your Team's commercialization and development plans that will assist your Team in reducing investment risk, e.g., do you have a way to bootstrap larger investments via, for example, R&D services; do you know if you can get a priority review voucher; can your invention be fast-tracked and approved in Phase II Clinical Trials, etc.
    • Identified how your Team's invention will be reimbursed through payers
    • Created realistic financial models that illustrate how to achieve profitability that is sustainable and growing
  • Criteria III: Operational Feasibility
    • Created practical plans and financial and valuation models estimating revenue, investment requirements and profitability
    • Presented a clear idea of clinical applicability and how to manufacture/market/sell products
    • Outlined specific collaborators that will help your Team at different stages of development
    • Defined a clear regulatory path for any regulatory body, in particular, the FDA
  • Criteria IV: Strong Collaborators, Management Team and Board of Advisors
    • Competent team that works together cohesively
    • Identified dilutive and non-dilutive funders as part of your Management/Board of Advisors/Directors team
    • Comprehensively identified all capabilities (either as collaborators, management team members, business advisors and/or scientific advisors) that will allow you to be successful, e.g., Business Development, Scientific leadership, R&D, Manufacturing, Sales, etc.
    • Clearly described how the management team will be compensated
    • Identified the legal form of ownership of the company
  • Criteria V: Risk Mitigation
    • Identified risks, the impact of these risks and the probability that these risks have of occurring
    • Created a feasible mitigation plan for all the risks that have the highest probability of negative impact and occurrence


Live Pitch Guidelines and Scoring CriteriaLive Pitches will occur from August 22nd to August 26th, 2016.  The Challenge judges will look at the following criteria to evaluate your live pitch:

  • Criteria I: Clarity and Comprehensiveness
    • Team has covered all messaging points concisely and as thoroughly as possible; this includes: what the invention is; what problem it solves; how it will be commercialized (geo, patient population, etc.); how it will be developed; how it will get through regulatory hurdles; the strength of the IP and team, etc.
    • Team has also clearly articulated what risk adjusted value is created for inventors and other company share-holders.
    • Value statement includes: Burn Rate, Time to Profitability, Risk Adjusted Rate of Return.
    • Value proposition is technically accurate 
  • Criteria II: Credibility and Message
    • Pitch is interesting, memorable, succinct, persuasive and provides a call to action/compelling reason to buy
    • Differentiation and value proposition is evident
    • You have three key messages that you remember after the elevator pitch/live pitch
    • Body language also provided information – enthusiasm, passion, and understanding
    • Visual aids were used
    • Speakers engaged through questioning with the audience


Phase 2 Finalists and Winners


A maximum of two (2) finalists and one (1) winner from each invention will move on to Phase 3: Startup

Phase 3: Deliverable Guidance


All Phase 3 startups will be evaluated by TBD.  If an insufficient number of teams have successfully progressed by this date, the Challenge hosts will postpone the 'Startup Medal of Honor" awards ceremony


Startup Action Items: Teams launch their start-ups, including company incorporation, apply for licenses, and executing other regulatory/developmental needs.  Note that all startup legal entities will be formed by the Challenge sponsor.  A generous option pool to the teams will be provided.  The sponsor and venture fund will assist the new startups with creating their board of advisors

  • Incorporate your start-up as soon as possible
  • Revise your deliverables by gaining additional input from KOLs, payers, the FDA, VCs, potential collaborators, CROs, CMOs, service providers, etc.
    • Commercialization plan
    • Development plan
    • Regulatory strategy
    • Comprehensive view of their management team and board of advisors
  • Apply for funding
  • Apply for license
  • Parallel process your deliverable creation – especially seed funding and licensing application; there could be a “chicken or the egg” scenario
Start-up Guidance


Prizes and Seed Funding

Prize Allocation: In the Business Plan phase, teams have an opportunity to win $2500.  No set number of prizes has been decided.  The $2500 will be distributed by the Center of Advancing Innovation to the winning team’s Team Leader. The prize will be in the form of one check paid to the order of the Team Leader.  It is the responsibility of the Team Leader to distribute the $2500 prize to his/her teammates. The Center for Advancing Innovation hold no responsibility in allocating winnings to anyone but the winning teams' Team Leader.  There will be an agreement within the Letter of Intent form outlining these details as well.


Seed Funding: Seed funding is not guaranteed to the winning teams of the Challenge.  Funding will be awarded based on strict due diligence done by the supporting Gazelle Venture Capital Fund


Other Pointers

Creativity: CAI encourages creativity in every sense of the word to help your team have a high probability of a successful outcome and differentiate yourself, while abiding by the “rules” of the Challenge


Branding: Remember to also be aware of branding. Many biomedical companies have names that seem obscure and do not relate to anything the end user can relate to. Challenge participants may differentiate yourself if you choose a name that end users can actually relate to.  Also, be sure to include imagery and tag lines and potentially even a jingle and mascot


Stakeholder Engagement:  Remember to include Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), patient advocate groups, doctors (contemporary and more traditional), venture funds/private equity/angel investors, other inventors, etc.


Due Diligence: Please perform your own due diligence on the inventions in the challenge


Licensing Process and Forms: Please familiarize yourself with the licensing process from NASA