New Venture Capstone And RedHawk Startup Pitch Competition

Zandaland's members present their idea at the Venture Pitch Competition
 The winning Zandaland team poses for a photo
 Students make their pitch during a preliminary round of the Venture Pitch Competition
 A group photo of Venture Pitch Competition participants
With a cross-discipline focus that engages undergraduates from majors across campus, The John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship employs a practice-based, immersive approach to entrepreneurial education that requires students to apply knowledge they accumulate in the classroom through specific curricular and co-curricular programs that require practice. The New Venture capstone takes a practice-based, immersive approach, providing undergraduates with “hands-on” experience at starting a company. Students form small teams of 3-4 founders to launch a startup that:
  • Defines and addresses real market problems and opportunities
  • Identifies target customer segments and sizes the addressable market
  • Defines key features of a product or service that drives problem/solution fit
  • Develops a customer acquisition strategy
  • Establishes a plan to launch and scale a viable business around that product or service
  • Projects future revenues and financial capital requirements for the startup business

This process takes place over a 14-week period. At the conclusion of each semester, startup teams pitch their startup ideas to more than 50 judges in a format modeled after a typical startup accelerator demo day.

Held bi-annually at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters, the $20,000 RedHawk Venture Pitch Competition provides student-founders completing our RedHawk Launch Accelerator Program as well as our Startup Launch and Technology Commercialization courses an opportunity to pitch startups to angel investors, venture capitalists, and accelerator directors in a Demo Day-style format. In 2018-2019, one hundred and twenty-eight angel investors, VCs, accelerator directors, and ecosystem builders from 12 states across the U.S. participated in RedHawk Venture Pitch Competitions held at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters, including California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Washington D.C. across the nation served as judges.

Over the past four years, more than 550 students have pitched 120+ startups to hundreds of investors, accelerator directors, and ecosystem builders. Five student-led startups have landed spots in technology accelerators—OROS Apparel (The Brandery) and  Devoo (OCEAN Accelerator) in Cincinnati,  Nomful (DreamIt Ventures) in Baltimore, Apex Sports (UpTech) in Covington, and Swivel Ventures (Queen City Fintech) in Charlotte. Collectively, startups that have participated in the Miami University Startup Pitch Competition have raised more than $12M in seed and early-stage funding.