Accelerate Investor Conference

A black and white logo with the words " electric 2 0 1 9-2 0 2 4 ".

Company Competition

DEADLINE - Tuesday, July 30, 2024 - 5pm EST

The Accelerate Investor Conference gives companies the chance to meet and pitch in front of investors from around the country.  Companies from Virginia, Maryland, and DC  are eligible to compete for presentation slots and cash prizes.

A woman standing at the podium with a microphone.
A woman is speaking on stage at a conference.

APPLY TO COMPETE

Prepare a 5-page Executive summary

Minimum 10 pt font with 1” margins

Be sure to include information about your technology

The problem it solves, the team, customers, business model, current/future revenue, financial plans, fund raising, and any traction you’ve made.

Companies who submit an executive summary and application will be notified by late August

As to whether they are selected to pitch at the Accelerate event, which takes place October 23-24, 2024. The selected companies will be contacted to schedule a time to practice their 7-minute pitch with a team of coaches who will help refine the pitch and presentation, if needed. 

On October 23-24, the top 45 companies will pitch on-site

In Arlington, Virginia to venture capital investors from around the country, who will select the top 10 companies.

On the evening of October 24, 2024 at the Accelerate Gala

The top companies will pitch for additional exposure and prize dollars.

APPLY TO COMPETE

Prepare a 5-page Executive summary

Minimum 10 pt font with 1” margins

Be sure to include information about your technology

The problem it solves, the team, customers, business model, current/future revenue, financial plans, fund raising, and any traction you’ve made.

Companies who submit an executive summary and application will be notified by early September

As to whether they are selected to pitch at the Accelerate event, which takes place November 1-2, 2023. The selected companies will be contacted to schedule a time to practice their 7-minute pitch with a team of coaches who will help refine the pitch and presentation, if needed. 

On November 1-2, the top 40 companies will pitch on-site

In Arlington Virginia to fund managers from around the country, who will select the top 10 companies.

On the evening of November 2, 2023 at the Accelerate Gala

The top companies will pitch for additional exposure and prize dollars.

COMPANY ELIGIBILITY

Accelerate is open to any early-stage business (Seed, A, and early B round) in the Virginia, Maryland, and DC Metro area who have a strong technology and serious growth potential.
Please note that these are a loose set of guidelines, they're not rigid criteria.

TECH READINESS

APPLYING COMPANIES WILL SELECT FROM THE FOLLOWING 4 SECTORS:

FINANCIAL POTENTIAL

PLEASE NOTE

COMPANY ELIGIBILITY

Accelerate is open to any early-stage business (Seed, A, and early B round) in the Virginia, Maryland, and DC Metro area who have a strong technology and serious growth potential.
Please note that these are a loose set of guidelines, they're not rigid criteria.

TECH READINESS

APPLYING COMPANIES WILL SELECT FROM THE FOLLOWING 4 SECTORS:

FINANCIAL POTENTIAL

PLEASE NOTE

RULES & FAQs

Competition Rules

  1. Business plans can only be submitted once and in only one sector category.

  2. There is no limit on the number of people on a team, but only two will receive discounted registration.

  3. Each business plan must be submitted in an individual sector track.

  4. All applications must be the original work of those making the submission.

  5. Partially completed applications will not be accepted. Online applications for the company competition are due by 5pm Eastern Time on July 30, 2024.

  6. Applicants risk disqualification if they attempt to approach a judge, or have someone do that on their behalf, in connection with the competition.

  7. The decisions of the judges are final, including interpretation of the rules.

  8. The Accelerate Investor Conference shall be held harmless in the event of any legal action.

  9. The Accelerate Investor Conference takes no responsibility for agreements between competition participants and third parties.

  10. The Accelerate Investor Conference takes no part in and has no liability for the domestic or international intellectual property rights of competition participants. Participants are responsible for their own intellectual property. Participants must keep confidential information confidential. For more detail see the Confidentiality & IP section. 

  11. Digital entry materials become the property of the Accelerate Investor Conference.  This is referring only to the documents and has no impact on the ideas, technology, or any IP contained within.

  12. Participants who engage in immoral activities, including lying and cheating, or any activity that may adversely affect the image of the Accelerate Investor Conference or other participants, become ineligible for the competition.

  13. All participants must comply with the rules.

  14. Any violation of the rules will disqualify an Entrant’s team from the competition, and result in forfeiture of any awards awarded to the team.

FAQs

  1. Who is eligible to enter?

    Early-stage companies in DC, Maryland, and Virginia are eligible to apply. If your company is selected as a semi-finalist, at least one member of your team must be present on October 23-24, 2024, in Arlington, VA at the Accelerate event to pitch in front of a live judging panel and audience.

  2. What kind of business idea can I submit?

    For the stage of company, please see eligibility requirements. With respect to the sector we’re looking for a wide range of submissions across the high-growth tech landscape. While there are many great lifestyle businesses (for example: boutiques, cafes, consulting firms), your best bet with those businesses is often to raise funds via your friends and family. Excluded companies include buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, real estate syndication, tax shelters, franchises, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area, and spin-outs from existing corporations. Licensed technologies from universities and research labs are encouraged assuming they have not been commercialized previously.

  3. What stage of business do I have to be in?

    Please see eligibility requirements. You should be raising your seed, A, or early B round.

  4. How large can my team be?

    Your team can be any size, but only two members will receive discounted tickets for the conference.

  5. How does judging work? What do judges look for in a plan?

    There is  a two-stage judging process. We have a pre-event screening to select the startups invited to present, and real-time judging during the October 23-24, 2024 conference based on pitch and Q&A. Pitches will be judged based on creativity and innovation involved in the business concept, likelihood of business success, stage of development, team’s knowledge of the product/service and its market, growth potential and capability to become market leader, sustainability of the business and competitive advantage as well as the rationality of the financing strategy.

  6. Who are the judges?

    The judges consist principally of venture capital and angel investors, as well as seasoned entrepreneurs.

  7. How will my intellectual property be protected? See confidentiality and IP.

  8. If my intellectual property is not protected, can I enter the competition?

    Yes, but this being a public forum, we cannot guarantee that your concept will remain confidential.

  9. Will cash prizes be awarded?

    A modest cash prize is awarded to our top presenting startup based on scoring by our panels of judges. In 2024, a selected life sciences company may receive one year of engagement with JLABS @ Washington, DC, which includes the use of a bench and workstation, access to the global Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS ecosystem, and mentorship from experts across the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies. The JLABS prize is subject to terms and conditions of execution of an award agreement.

  10. Is there a fee for companies to apply?

    No. There is no fee to apply.

  11. Can I get a copy of the business plans?

    Business plans presented in the competition will not be made available. However, if a team is willing to share their plan with you on a one-to-one basis that is acceptable.

CONFIDENTIALITY & IP GUIDELINES

Access to submitted abstracts is granted only by the Accelerate Investor Conference to the members of its judging panels and to George Mason University and its affiliates as administrators of the program.

Before submitting your executive summary or presenting your business plan in the semi-final or final rounds of the Accelerate Investor Conference, we urge you to confirm with appropriate advisors or legal counsel that any intellectual property described in your plan is appropriately protected.

All public sessions of the event, including but not limited to oral presentations and question/answer sessions, are open to the public at large. Any and all of these public sessions may be broadcast to interested persons through media which may include radio, television and the Internet. Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by entrants should be considered information that will likely 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.

The authors of the business plan will retain all copyrights to the plan regarding its use at all times prior to and following the competition except as stated below. Due to the nature of the competition, we will not ask judges, reviewers, staff or the audience to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements for any participant.

The organizer of the Accelerate Investor Conference may make photocopies, photographs, videotapes and/or audiotapes of the presentations including the business plan and other documents, charts or material prepared for use in presentation. The event and competition has non-exclusive world rights in all languages, and in all media, to use or to publish the materials in any book, other printed materials, videotapes or other medium, and to use the materials in future editions thereof and derivative products.  By entering the Accelerate Investor Conference, you will have agreed to grant a release to the organizers, sponsors and funding sources of the competition to use such materials without restriction, including the right to create and own derivative works.