The NewSpace Business Plan Competitions are held at various times and locations throughout the year, in conjunction with major space conference around the world. Although each competition is slightly different in timing, prizes awarded, and event specifics, the following rules apply to every competition. Please see the main NewSpace BPC page to learn more about the specifics of each upcoming competition.
The competition is intended to simulate the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early stage investors and venture capital firms. The Judges function as venture capital investors deciding on which business venture they would most likely fund. The quality of the idea, the strength of the management team, and the clarity and persuasiveness of the written plan and oral presentation, all influence the judges’ decisions. Ultimately, the winning team should be the team in which the judges would most likely invest their money.
Most of the Judges come from the investment community and are involved in making early-stage investment decisions on an ongoing basis. While their ranking of the top teams is guided by a scorecard, it remains consistent with the approach that would be used by a venture capital or early-stage investor. We recognize that consistent with real life investment situations, early-stage companies can be in very different stages of development. To compensate for this, we would expect that an early stage investor would require the potential for higher investment returns for an earlier stage company, which has a higher level of risk involved.
Teams are not required to reveal the exact desired terms of the deal (i.e., their proposed company valuation and percentage of company being offered to investors). However, some investors prefer to have this information upfront, while some investors feel that it is not as important until later. We recommend that Teams be prepared to address questions about their terms, but it is up to the Team to decide how they want to answer these questions. During the competition, Judges are asked to evaluate each team individually and should not discuss their evaluation with other Judges until all Judges’ evaluation forms have been submitted.
Prize amounts vary for each regional competition and for national competitions, based on the sponsors involved with each event. However, national winners have taken home as much as $100,000 in years’ past. The prize amount for winning a regional event is usually $2,500. Additionally, we sometimes have Audience Choice awards, and specific market sector prizes. Please see the details of each specific event to learn more about the prizes available.
Each team must meet the following requirements in order to compete:
Team Size: The participating team should not exceed five people. It is recommended that a single representative of the team do the actual pitch presentation, but additional team members are encouraged to participate in the Boot Camp and networking activities.
Nationality: The NewSpace BPC is open to entrepreneurs of all nations. However, in some cases, certain regional, market sector, and ancillary prizes may be limited to companies of specific locality, depending on the requirements of the prize sponsor.
Costs and Travel: Competitors must be present to participate in the competition, at the stated time and location. Competitors are responsible for the cost of their own travel, lodging, and other related costs.
Nature of Ventures: The competition is for new, independent ventures in the seed, start-up, or early growth stages. Most are Corporations or Stock Companies, and most are looking for investor funding. The company should have technologies or services that advance and grow economic activity related to space. These would include the following general areas:
Entrepreneurial space: Those firms directly involved in launch systems hardware technology, and supporting infrastructure, including data acquisition, communications, exotic fuels, space suits, flight safety, in-space market activities, etc.
Space-related: Process engineering, power systems, bioregenerative systems, tourism, media, software, and other supportive solutions.
Space-scalable™: Technologies primarily developed to solve problems here on Earth for commercial benefit and profit, but are also scalable to solve key long range space problems when the demand ultimately exists, to help make the settlement of the space frontier a reality. This could include biotechnology, nanotechnology, medicine, radiation mitigation, smart materials, alternative energy, or next-gen IT hardware, among many other possibilities.
Generally excluded are the following: buy-outs, expansions of well-established companies, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area. Licensing technologies from universities or research labs is not excluded and is encouraged, assuming they have not been commercialized previously.
How to Enter
To enter, all teams (including regional winners) will need to complete an online application through the CSCF.space website. Deadlines will be posted on our NewSpaceBPC page. Only one individual from the team needs to complete the application. You will be asked to provide some overview information about your company and then you’ll attach an Executive Summary as a PDF or Word document.
Executive Summary Submission Process
Teams will be evaluated based on the quality of the Executive Summary and the completeness of their online application. Judges will select between 6 and 10 Finalists (depending on the specifics of the competition) who will then be invited to participate in the shark-tank style, in-person competition. Only Executive Summaries that are submitted through the online application portal will be reviewed. Submissions via email will not be considered. By submitting your Executive Summary, you agree that it can be shared with CSCF Staff, Judges, and Sponsors.
Executive summaries are limited to 3 pages (recommended 12 point font, and 1” margins on all sides). Documents must be submitted in either PDF or Word format. In your executive summary, we expect you to convey:
- The problem or need your company solves
- The size of the accessible market & evidence that customers will buy your product/service
- Your differentiation vs. competition and how you will sustain that
- The experience of your management team and/or advisory boards
- The current state of development (e.g., beta, customer trials, etc.)
- Timeframes to achieve significant revenue and/or cash flow positive
- The amount of funding you are seeking
NSBPC Boot Camp
Finalist teams will be required to participate in a Boot Camp event to be held the day prior to the competition. During this training, Finalists will receive instruction from industry experts on best practices, and on pitching their plan to various types of investors. The Boot Camp is used to refine the pitch and presentation slides and to prepare teams for the oral presentation at the competition on the following day. Crucial information regarding the final presentation will be shared during this training. Failure to attend this Boot Camp will result in disqualification from the competition. Please note that photos will be taken throughout the day for promotional purposes, and some photos will be posted to our website or used in promotional materials. Please let the Boot Camp staff know during the event if you do not wish to have your picture made public.
Oral Presentation Guidelines
Teams typically present in alphabetic order by company name. Each team will give a 7-minute presentation, followed by a 7-minute question and answer session with the Judges.
Equipment: Teams should plan to bring a laptop and a copy of their presentation on a thumb drive. That copy will be transferred to the dedicated Conference laptop for all presentations, operated by Conference staff. On stage, presenters will have a remote control for their slides. Please note that if your presentation contains video, graphics, and/or sound, inform BPC staff in advance. Our staff will make every effort to ensure that your presentation works properly at the Competition. Based on past experience, we cannot guarantee that video, graphics, and sound will work 100% of the time.
Non-confidentiality: All sessions of the competition, including but not limited to oral presentations and question/answer sessions, are open to the public at large. Any and all of these sessions may be broadcast through radio, television or the Internet, or may be video taped. Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by entrants should be considered information that could possibly enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged, or presented in these sessions. Due to the nature of the competition, we are not able to ask judges, reviewers, staff, or the audience to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements. The organizer of the NewSpace BPC, The Center for Space Commerce and Finance (CSCF), will make every effort to limit distribution of company submissions only to judges of the competition. CSCF, however, can not guarantee that other individuals will not obtain access to electronic or hard copies of the company submission. Attendance by media personnel is expected. Please note that photos will be taken throughout the day for promotional purposes, and some photos will be posted to our website and through various social media.
Copyrights & Permissions: If a team uses copyrighted materials and/or images from a third-party in their presentation or other competition submissions, they must obtain permission and authorization from the owners to use this material in advance. CSCF will not be held liable to 3rd-party rights-holders if any team disregards this rule.
The judging panel will consider the following categories both in the preliminary judging of the Executive Summaries and in the competition judging of the Finalists’ oral presentations:
Executive Summary/Presentation: Does the document or presentation convey all the necessary information? Is it clear, exciting and effective as a stand-alone overview of the company and its plans? Is it well presented, clean, and easy to understand?
Technology/Product: How developed is the technology? How long until it is ready for market? Does the company have a clear path to a near-term MVP (Minimum Viable Product)? Is technology focused on providing a customer solution? What are the products’ features, benefits, and pricing?
Market/Marketing Strategy: Is there a need for this product? Is this a solution that customers want? Is proof provided? Is the market large enough for the business to scale rapidly? Is the market well defined and accessible? Is the market size sufficient to support new entrants and continued growth? Does the business have a strong path to market? Does the team have the skills to execute it?
Competitive Positioning: Is the company familiar with, and carefully positioned against existing competition? Competitive Advantages? Patents, Copyrights, Exclusive Licenses? First to market?
Management: Backgrounds in business or entrepreneurship? Experience in same or similar industry? Are all necessary skill sets represented by this team? If not, is there a strategy to improve the team? Is the proposed oversight and advisory system sufficient to encourage success?
Summary Financials: Are the proformas professionally prepared, well presented, and clear? Are assumptions clearly called out and documented? Is the expense plan realistic? Is there any operating history and what is the effectiveness of funds used to date? What are the potential exit strategies? When can an investor expect to see a return? Has the company planned for sufficient financing to get to market? Are revenue estimates realistic?