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Below is a list of questions we often receive about the Texas VLIC. If you have a question that is not answered, please email us.

  • What is the Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition?

Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition (TVLIC) launches the process of raising venture capital. The competition allows current graduate students from The University of Texas at Austin to gain real experience while developing and growing new ventures based either on their own ideas and technologies or those developed by others.

  • What is the entry fee for the competition?

TVLIC does not have an entry fee.

  • What is the prize package for the competition?

The top winner receives a $10,000 cash award and the priceless opportunity to join TVL in closing the Nasdaq Market in New York City.  First runner-up receives $5,000 in cash. Second runner-up gets $4,000, third runner-up wins $3,000 and fourth runner-up wins $2,000.

There are additional awards that can be won even if you are a finalist and already guaranteed some cash. The James D. Pippin Award  and $1,000 goes to a team with a U.S. military veteran.  The E. Craig Nemec Elevator Challenge gives $1,000 each to the top three elevator pitches.

  • What types of ventures can compete?

Companies must intend to be operating companies (going concerns) with corporate structures and financial statements that reflect real operating revenues and expenses. This is intended to exclude investment vehicles, partnerships, licensing and other pass-through entities where returns are measured for investment value versus operating earnings.

TVLIC welcomes all companies and focuses on new, independent ventures in the seed, startup or early growth stages. In addition to what is outlined in the above paragraph, generally excluded are the following: buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, roll-ups, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchise based outlets, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area and spin-outs from existing corporations.

Licensing technologies from The University of Texas at Austin’s Office of Technology Commercialization or from the technology transfer offices of other universities or research labs is encouraged assuming there has been no previous commercialization. Key in these types of ventures is demonstrating significant added value to the technology through the efforts of the management team.

All ventures must be seeking outside funding by equity or debt.

  • Does my team qualify for the James D. Pippin Veteran Entrepreneurship Award?

The Pippin Award is a separate cash prize awarded to an eligible team. To be eligible, teams must contain one or more U.S. military veteran co-founders. Texas Venture Labs and its veteran advisory team will make the final determination regarding a team’s eligibility for the award.

  • Can a venture compete in TVLIC more than once?

Yes, if that are still a student and did not win first place in a previous TVLIC with the same venture.

  • Can a student compete in TVLIC more than once?

Yes. Students may compete in subsequent competitions. Students can not submit more than one venture for consideration in a TVLIC application cycle.

  • Can a team compete if the venture is generating revenue?


  • Can a team compete if their venture has previously raised equity capital?

If a company has previously raised equity capital, they may only compete if the current UT graduate students own >50% of fully diluted share equivalence and they meet all other competition eligibility requirements.

  • My team consists of graduate students outside of McCombs School of Business. Can we compete at TVLIC?

This is a competition for any degree-seeking University of Texas at Austin graduate student. Students from any graduate program are eligible to participate so long as all other eligibility requirements are met. Non-students may be members of the venture’s management team; however only UT Austin graduate students may participate in the competition.

  • Can recent graduates compete at TVLIC?

No. This competition is for students currently enrolled in graduate school. Students in certificate programs and postdoctoral fellows are specifically excluded from the competition.

  • How should my venture’s executive summary be formatted?

Summaries should be submitted as a single, printable PDF file. Documents are limited to no more than two pages with the following parameters:  format is double spacing with 1 inch top, bottom, left and right margins and 12-point font. This line spacing and font requirement applies to the textual content of the document and not to titles and descriptions accompanying pictures, graphs, tables or worksheets.

  • How should my venture’s business plan be formatted?

The business plan is not required.  In the case of a particularly engaging executive summary, the judges are encouraged to include the business plan in their decision.

Plans are to be submitted as a single, printable PDF file. Plans are limited to no more than 21 pages (not including a single cover page or single table of contents page). The 21 pages are limited to a maximum of 15 pages of text and 6 pages of appendices. Page format is double spacing, 12 point font, with 1 inch top, bottom, left and right margins. This line spacing and font requirement applies to the textual content of the document and not to titles and descriptions accompanying pictures, graphs, tables or worksheets. All pages must be numbered excluding the cover page and table of contents. The cover page must include the venture name, team member names in alphabetical order and the degree they are pursuing. Appendices should be included only if they are referenced in the written plan and must print out in a font size that is readable.

If these guidelines are not followed the plan will not be distributed.

  • Is there anywhere that our team can get guidance preparing our business plan and/or presentation?

Students may receive support from Texas Venture Labs during office hours from 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM on Wednesdays at the TVL offices in Rowling Hall 1.354 or by appointment. Students are also encouraged to enroll in the New Venture Creation class.

  • What is the format of the presentation?

The presentation format is 30 minutes running clock and judges may interrupt at any time with questions. Each team member at the competition must participate fully in the formal presentation of the plan.

Teams may not observe other teams’ presentations in their division until after they have presented their own plan. Each team needs to supply its own PC-compatible laptop computer and is responsible for assuring it works with the provided audio-visual equipment in advance of their presentation.

  • What audio-visual equipment will be available during our presentation?

Generally speaking, you will have a ceiling-mounted projector with HDMI connections.  Audio interfaces are not necessarily available, depending on the room setup.  Each team is responsible for ensuring that their presentation works with the provided audio-visual equipment in advance of their presentation.  Equipment configuration delays reflect poorly on your team’s presentation.

  • Do Texas Venture Labs or the judges sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs)?

No. Neither the judges nor Texas Venture Labs sign NDAs of any kind.  Your materials submitted or presented for TVLIC should be considered public disclosure.

If you are concerned about disclosing intellectual property, we suggest not disclosing that information and instead talking in general terms about how your product or service works.  <

  • If my team wins, how will the money be awarded?

Team members must be present at the Awards Ceremony in order to receive an award. The prize money will be distributed equally to the presenting students on the team.   Prize money is classified as a grant and will be processed as a scholarship.  In some cases, it may affect your financial aid package. Additional information and eligibility may be required and the TVL staff will follow up with the required information.

  • Can international students participate and win awards?

Yes, but there are certain considerations related to visa status and taxes that must be addressed if award money is distributed to international students. International students will need a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) in order to receive funds.

  • What is a going concern?

A going concern is a term that means the business is real, is launched or in the process of launching and intends to become a successful business. An example of a non-going concern would be a company that was fictitious or had no intent to launch after it won a prize such as a TVLIC cash award.

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