The Winning Pitch: How Team Flipped Health Nailed the TVL Investment Competition

By Pitch Academy

We’re excited to announce that on February 5, 2015, our very own Flipped Health won the 2015 Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition!

Read on to find out what set Flipped Health’s pitch apart from the other teams to come out as champions with a $5,000 check…

On the 32nd anniversary of TVLIC, more than 20 startup companies pitched their business plans to a panel of some of the most notable venture capital investors and entrepreneurs in the industry, including partners from Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), Bunker Incubator, and PuraVida Ventures.

So, what set the winning team apart?

They told a story.

It was more than a presentation. It was an engaging story that followed a sequence. The most captivating stories always start off with a carefully crafted beginning – and this story was no exception!

Think you know what your beginning slide should look like? Think again. In order to reel the investors in, the very first slide began with the story of The Broken Vaccine Cold Chain. Contrast that title with the title of the original first slide they began with, The Dry Vaccine Process – does this get you excited about team Flipped Health and their solution?

This is the traditional beginning slide that most teams start off with, where the first words out of a speaker’s mouth are “Hello everyone, we are Team X…” effectively losing the audience, and likely, their chances at winning a chunk of cash.

But Flipped Health isn’t your average team, and neither is the solution they were trying to sell – after an overhaul by yours truly, the first slide in the deck started the story off with a bang:

We coached them to jump in with a relatable anecdote, emphasizing the “what is” to describe the current landscape with a personal example that all of the judges could identify with. After 30 gripping seconds, the speaker emphatically reinforced what the audience was now beginning to understand: “This is a scary and expensive problem.” After setting the baseline of “what is”, they moved on to describe “What could be” – their solution.

AriVax, a drug delivery platform that improves vaccine stability, reduces vaccine wastage, and enables delivery to emerging markets that can’t meet temperature-controlled supply chain (cold chain) requirements.

It was jargon-free.

One of the biggest mistakes made by high-tech teams is acting like they are presenting to other people who are deeply embedded in their respective industry – not investors who probably don’t know the first thing about vaccines and the issues surrounding the cold chain process. The visuals didn’t just get a makeover – the words did, too. Moral of the story? Lose the jargon, NOW.

They connected to the audience with a metaphor.

Here’s where the tried and true STAR method, comes in: drive a big idea home by giving the audience members Something They’ll Always Remember. We came up with a way to communicate the ease of the AriVax solution that shifted the momentum of the pitch and got a laugh from all of the investors… AriVax is easy as Kool-Aid!

Seamless transitions.

It may seem small, but every single speaker clearly announced topic shifts throughout the presentation. This served to make the overall pitch absolutely seamless.

By taking care to verbalize the movement to the next major part of the story, “I will now hand it off to Jason, who will explain the current need in the global market…”, Cheryl ensured that the judges would have no questions about where one topic began and ended.

Confident answers to every question.

With a total of 15-20 questions asked by investors, the presentation was comparable to an investigation. Investors probed into areas like cost breakdown, use case validation, alternative solutions to the one they were proposing, and valuation; at every turn, a team member was prepared with an analytical + emotive answer.

Straightforward slides.

We can’t stress how important it is to have clean, aesthetically appealing slides that communicate the key points – and only the key points. Flipped Health’s slides were strategically placed, easy to follow, and served to enhance the overall message.

All of the above strategies helped Flipped Health come out of the Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition with the 1st place spot, an automatic entry to Global TVLIC, a 1 year launch package at Austin Technology Incubator, and this giant check:

Congratulations again, Flipped Health!

The above points are some of the key aspects of Flipped Health’s pitch that propelled them to first place. We had a blast getting to coach this stellar team to success, and we hope the points we’ve described here will help you and your team achieve the results you want to see. Remember, it’s all about selling yourself AND your ideas, and you can count on us to keep you up-to-date with the latest communication insights and analysis on modern pitching strategies.

Find out how The Pitch Academy’s coaches can customize our innovative approach to get your ideas sold and your team funded – contact Melissa today!

Winning Weekend for MSTC


MSTC teams Flipped Health and DraftCrunch at the TVLIC

It was quite the winning weekend for the Texas MSTC Program! Our students took home victories in not one but TWO business plan competitions, as well as one second place finish.

Last week 20 teams in five divisions competed in the Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition, including 10 from UT’s MBA programs, six from MSTC, and four from PhD programs. Three MSTC teams were selected to move on to the final round of five teams, with MSTC team Flipped Health taking home the first place win and MSTC team DraftCrunch clutching the runner up position.


MSTC team Colter Durham at the Georgia Bowl Business Plan Competition

Flipped Health will represent The University of Texas at Austin in the Global VLIC in May, incubate at ATI for a year, and receive $5,000. DraftCrunch will receive $3,000 to invest in their venture.

The celebrations don’t stop there! Texas MSTC team Colter Durham claimed a first place victory at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Georgia Bowl Business Plan Competition. They’ll be carrying their $10,000 prize home in their ingenious Stow Cart, and will be joining MSTC team Flipped Health in the 2015 Global VLIC.

Congratulations to all of the Texas MSTC teams that competed this weekend. We’re glowing with pride. Hook ’em!

Two MSTC Teams Place in 2014 UNL Global New Venture Competition

Two MSTC student-led teams placed in the recent 2014 UNL Global New Venture Competition. The business plan competition, hosted on March 20th by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,  was open to college students from around the world.

Rainseed,  led by current MSTC students Jim Nelson, Mike Peterson, and John Willick, won first place, earning them $7,000 and a spot to compete in the 2014 University of Texas Global Venture Labs Investment Competition. GreenWest, which includes MSTC students Eileen Cao, Ben Lee, and Chris Gilbert, placed third, claiming a $1,500 prize.

Two MSTC teams represented McCombs in the 2013 Global Venture Labs Investment Competition last May. One team was first runner-up among the 40 teams competing from around the world, and the other MSTC team won the Wells Fargo Clean Energy Award of $20,000.

Congratulations to both of the MSTC teams represented at the 2014 UNL Global New Venture Competition, and good luck to Rainseed in the 2014 Venture Labs Investment Competition!

First place team, Rainseed, featuring MSTC students Jim Nelson, Mike Peterson, and John Willick. Photo courtesy of the UNL College of Business Facebook page.

First place team, Rainseed, featuring MSTC students Jim Nelson, Mike Peterson, and John Willick. Photo courtesy of the UNL College of Business Facebook page.

Third place team, GreenWest, featuring MSTC students Ben Lee, Eileen Cao, and Chris Gilbert. Photo courtesy of the UNL College of Business Facebook page.

Third place team, GreenWest, featuring MSTC students Ben Lee, Eileen Cao, and Chris Gilbert. Photo courtesy of the UNL College of Business Facebook page.

All of the teams celebrate a successful competition.

All of the teams celebrate a successful competition. Photo courtesy of Chris Gilbert.

MSTC Places at 2013 GVLIC

The Global Venture Labs Investment Competition simulates the real-world process of raising venture capital. It is a unique partnership that brings together graduate students and business leaders. The judges function as an investment group seeking to reach consensus on the business venture they would most likely fund. The quality of the idea, the strength of the management team, the clarity and persuasiveness of the written plan, and oral presentation all influence the judges’ decisions.

Begun as “Moot Corp” at The University of Texas at Austin by MBA students in 1984, the Venture Labs Investment Competition is the oldest new venture competition in the world, and it provides graduate students with a chance to simulate the real-world process of raising venture capital.


Global Venture Labs first runners-up and Texas MSTC team, Beyonic.

Global Venture Labs first runners-up and Texas MSTC team, Beyonic.

The 2013 competition was sponsored by Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs, an interdisciplinary education and research initiative. The Texas Venture Labs promotes new venture creation at The University of Texas at Austin through education and mentoring, market and business plan validation, team-building and networking, and direct links to resources and funding.

The first runners-up of this year’s competition were Dan Kleinbaum and Luke Kyohere, graduate students from the Texas Master of Science in Technology Commercialization program whose startup, Beyonic Technologies, has developed a mobile payment platform for use in the developing world.

Seismos, founded by Texas MSTC students Panos Adamopoulos, Omar Hernandez, Stevan Slusher, and Devin Bedwell won the $20,000 Wells Fargo Clean Energy prize. Seismos provides real-time measurements of oil and gas flows for enhanced oil recovery. The Wells Fargo Clean Energy track was part of the competition for a second year, with enhanced prize money this year thanks to Wells Fargo’s increased commitment and funding to Texas Venture Labs.Seismos wins Wells Fargo Clean Energy Track


MSTC team, Seismos

Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition first-place winners and Texas MSTC team, Seismos

Seismos also won first place in February’s Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition, as well as first-place awards in clean energy and cleantech tracks in the Shell Venture Technologies track at the Rice Business Plan Competition at Rice University in Houston. They continued their winning streak by picking up the clean-tech and energy awards, as well as an overall second-place award, at the University of California Haas School of Business investment competition in Berkeley.

Altogether, Seismos has won more than $45,000 in cash and about $100,000 in services and non-cash awards this competition season, said team member Panos Adamopoulos. “This is all thanks to the MSTC program,” he said. “We thank all the McCombs faculty and people who have been of such great help.”

This year’s GVLIC had an especially strong international presence. Eleven countries were represented, and 40 percent of the competing teams came from schools outside the United States.
“We had a true global final this yeSeismos at 2013 GVLICar, with two of the four teams in the finals coming from outside the U.S.,” said GVLIC Director Robert Warren. “Visolis did an excellent job presenting their venture and responding to the judges’ questions, and we are excited they are the 2013 Venture Labs Investment Competition’s Global Champion.”

MSTC Team wins Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition

Seismos, the 2013 MSTC Team, won the 2013 Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition, and will compete in the Global Venture Labs Investment Competition in May at the ATT Center in Austin, Texas.

TVL connects local start-up companies with talented and entrepreneurial graduate and Ph.D. students from the MBA, Law, Engineering, and Natural Sciences programs to conduct special projects that help move these businesses forward. Teams of four to six students interact closely with the entrepreneur and/or investors to make an immediate impact during their engagement. TVL teams have conducted successful market validation, financial analysis, business model assessment, competitive analysis and due diligence review projects, amongst others.

MSTC- SeismosSeismos was one of five teams that made it to the TVL finals. Seismos competed with two other MSTC Teams, Glutact and Intelligent Menu.

Seismos is a technology-enabled services company that detects and interprets changes in underground oil and gas reservoirs in real-time with unparalleled sensitivity. The Team consists of Devin Bedwell, MSTC ’13, Panos Adamopoulos, MSTC ’13, Stevan Slusher, MSTC ’13 and Omar Hernandez, MSTC ‘13. They received $5000, a year at the Austin Technology Incubator, and the opportunity to represent The University of Texas at Austin at the Global VLIC in May.

MSTC Teams GluTact placed third and won $2,000 and Intelligent Menu placed fourth.