Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital
Energy Foundry Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) at Chicago Booth

Info for Student Contestants

Former VCIC participants have lauded the VCIC as the "most rewarding experience" at Chicago Booth. In addition to practicing the process of venture investing, students gain access to world-class venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to build their networks. The VCIC also provides students with personalized exposure to entrepreneurship professors at Chicago Booth and Polsky Center staff.

If you’re looking to join a team, or to add people to your team, please check out our team-building spreadsheet.

Tips & Guidelines for Participation:

  • Tips: Past VCIC participants have provided a number of tips and recommendations (PDF) on how to do well at this event.
  • Substitutes: Teams may substitute members at any time before the competition begins. Teams are free to substitute for future rounds, as well. However, no substitutes may be made during the on-campus, regional, or international events.
  • Outside contact and advisors: Teams may consult with faculty, staff, or other students in preparation for the VCIC. However, after receiving business plans on Wednesday and throughout the entire event on Friday, students may not receive any help from faculty advisors, coaches, acquaintances in the industry, or anybody else. No emails, phone calls, or visits are allowed. Teams may not consult or contact any individual outside of the five members of their team.
  • Research: Teams are allowed to use any available internet resource or database, whether free or by subscription, as well as any books and other printed materials. However, teams are not allowed to contact any individuals for help. In other words, secondary research is allowed, but primary research is not.
  • Dress code: Business casual.
  • Non-disclosure of business plans: Participants are required to sign a general non-disclosure agreement (NDA) prior to the competition. These agreements help ensure a culture of respect for the entrepreneurs, without whom the event could not take place. The judges are not required to sign agreements.
  • Inside information: Upon receiving business plans by email, any student with prior information about a venture must inform the organizing committee before the kick-off meeting. Failing to do so could result in forfeiture. Generally, students will be asked to show no familiarity during the event. Inside information is not necessarily helpful and indeed is often detrimental to a team's performance. However, the organizers may deem it necessary to recruit a replacement venture.
  • Entrepreneur presentations: No questions are allowed during the entrepreneur presentations. Slides are not distributed.
  • Due diligence with entrepreneurs: There are no restrictions on what teams may ask entrepreneurs during the sessions. However, no contact is allowed between teams and entrepreneurs at any other time during the competition. Teams may briefly introduce themselves to the entrepreneurs (but not to the judges) upon entering the room and before the timer starts. When the timer expires, the session must end immediately. The team should quickly thank the entrepreneur and leave the room.
  • Publicity: All participants agree to allow Chicago Booth as well as the regional and international VCIC coordinators to use their names and images for the purpose of promoting the VCIC in the future. Participants may be requested to provide testimonials and quotations or to fill out surveys associated with the event.
  • Honor code: It shall be the responsibility of each student to obey and support the enforcement of these rules. By choosing to participate in the event, students indicate their agreement to be bound by these rules.
  • Dispute resolution: All decisions by judges and the organizing committee are final. For complaints, questions, or concerns - or to report possible rules violations - contact the Polsky Center. These rules may be revised at any time if the purpose of the revision is made in the interest of fairness for all competitors. Revisions will be communicated to all participants as quickly and fairly as possible.

2017 Winners:

In 2017, Tectonic Ventures won the 13th annual Energy Foundry Venture Capital Investment Competition

The Tectonic Ventures team included Cy Barton, Crissy Costa, Joshua Elder, Daniel Heck, Scott Stern, Nancy Cheng, and Erich Weisberg

2016 Winners