The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure – Sven Goran Eriksson
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Every year, San Jose State University hosts the Silicon Valley Business Plan Competition (SVBPC), a highly competitive competition which encourages innovation within the SJSU community. The competition is campus wide, open to all SJSU students and alumni, and boasts a high reward for the top 3 teams: $10,000 (first), $5,000 (second), and $2,500 (third).
More information on SVBPC can be found here: http://www.sjsu.edu/cob/svbpc/
Every student(s) or team that wishes to participate in SVBPC is required to submit three items to qualify:
- Business Plan
- Pitch Deck
- Pitch Video (60-90s)
Once entry closes, the top 15 teams are chosen based on the quality and preparedness of their three entry items.
After the top 15 teams are chosen, they enter phase 2. This phase consists solely of a 10 minute business pitch, along with an 8-10 minute Q&A session from the judges. Here, the teams are further reduced to a final 8.
Phase 3 is the final round of the competition. The remaining 8 teams must now do their best to utilize and act upon the feedback received from their judges in phase 2, as they must perform a final 10 minute business pitch with a 8-10 minute Q&A session to an entirely new set of judges, competing for the top prize.
Ambii at SVBPC
This was the first year Ambii has ever entered into SVBPC, and we were honestly not sure what to expect. We entered alongside 60 other teams and hoped to simply make the initial cut, especially since our pitch video (which was required to enter) was scraped together the day prior. But then again, I’m a (now graduated) college student who is used to last minute projects.
Once we had learned that we were advancing to the second round, we were ecstatic, and even though we already had about 10 pitch decks prepared from previous events, we got started right away with building a brand new deck from scratch; our pitch along with it. After a few long nights and tons of practice, we were ready for the first pitch.
We stood in front of the judges prepared as always, and delivered probably one of the best pitches I think we’ve ever done. Although we had done pretty well, the judges threw a number of difficult questions at us, and left us with some good advice for improvement. We left feeling confident, and eagerly awaited the results to ensure that we would make it to the final round.
Although our preparation should have been done a week prior, Shariq and I found ourselves two days before the final presentation without any modifications to our deck or pitch; that needed to change if we wanted to win. We worked tirelessly for the remaining days to massively improve our pitch deck, and practiced pitching the resulting deck the night before.
Through all the chaos, we had messed up our sleep schedules pretty badly and had to prematurely end our work session the night before the final to ensure we would even show up to our 8:30am scheduled time (especially me; don’t even ask about my schedule). But of course, we did.
We arrived early and waited in anticipation. We were ready. Once the room was opened to us, we setup our equipment and waited for the judges ok.
Throughout our pitch, we hit a few rough points due to the changing of materials the day prior, but we made it through just fine. The questions that followed were tough to answer, but were manageable thanks to proper research and planning.
We finished. We sat. I got some orange juice.
Results were announced shortly after the next 7 teams presented. It was quite, and everyone was anxious. Also, there were sandwiches.
Everyone nervously awaited as the judges, and the winner from the previous year, congratulated everyone and spoke a few words on how far we had all come, and how far there was still left to go.
Finally, the results were announced.
2018 SVBPC Results:
3rd place: BAYbies’ Spot
2nd place: ParkStash
1st place: Ambii
We’d like to say thank you to SJSU, Dr. Anuradha Basu, and all of the gracious donors for this amazing opportunity, as well as congratulations to every other team who participated. This competition is no easy feat, and it is certainly not easy to come as far as we all have. Every team posed a very large challenge for us to overcome, and showed amazing potential.
Ambii has worked hard for the past year to get to where it is today, and although this is an amazing victory for us, it is only a small step in the road ahead of us.
Ambii’s SVBPC Materials
If you’re interested to see what Ambii used for SVBPC 2018, you can check out our final materials below.