Discovering Startup Talent at the Knapp Venture Competition

May 5, 2016 - 3 minutes read

UCLA Anderson Knapp Venture Competition

A mobile app that brings employee engagement to the cloud. Revolutionary medical devices for spinal cord injuries. Year after year, UCLA Anderson students participating in the annual Knapp Venture Competition create positive-impact startups that have a huge effect on the community. We’re honored to be on the panel judging this year’s startup pitches, and Dogtown Media CEO Marc Fischer will be headed out to the semifinals tomorrow to see what this year’s students have in store.

Startup founders who take the top prizes receive a range of cash prizes, from modest angel investments to full venture-level funding. With guidance from UCLA Anderson mentors, the top picks will go on to turn their mobile app and startup ideas into realities.

One of the things that makes the Knapp Venture Competition so interesting, from the perspective of San Francisco mobile app developers, is that teams aren’t exclusively composed of UCLA Anderson students. While MBA students are required to lead the pitch and organize the management teams, participating teams include a broad spectrum of talent from the LA mobile app development, tech, and business communities. This spark makes the competition something more than simply a school competition — and it shows in the track record of businesses funded by the competition, many of whom have gone on to become sustainable, meaningful companies in a variety of industries from iPhone apps to IoT hardware.

The competition is also compelling because of the focus on challenge and research as a judgement factor. Winning pitches have to display a deep level of familiarity with the target industry, as well as a level of difficulty that makes the business models suitable for the MBA training UCLA Anderson provides. For example, “tried-and-true” businesses like consulting and retail simply don’t cut it. Instead, judges are looking for high-complexity tech projects that have large upsides, scalability, and depend on MBA skills to get off the ground logistically. On the whole, techies and iPhone app developers often have an edge when it comes to getting startup capital.

If you’re interested in following along, connect with us on Twitter for updates on the competition and insights into the art of startup pitching for mobile app developers.

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