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DisrupTexas Undergraduate Pitch Competition
DisrupTexas is an annual pitch competition for undergraduate students at The University of Texas at Austin. Hosted by the Herb Kelleher Entrepreneurship Center, DisrupTexas is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for experiential learning and a chance for student teams to walk away with some serious cash.
Why Should You Apply?
1) $35k in cash + prizes
2) #1 city in Texas for entrepreneurs
3) Feedback, mentorship, networking
4) Supports building big ideas
DisrupTexas seeks to create a legacy of successful student entrepreneurs and empowers the leaders of tomorrow to innovate and attain their full potential.
During the competition, students have the opportunity to hone their business strategy, get professional feedback on their pitches, and form lasting relationships with mentors in the Texas entrepreneurial ecosystem.
At The University of Texas at Austin, we believe that what starts(up) here changes the world!
How It Works:
This competition is all about changing the game, never settling, pushing boundaries and testing out innovative ideas. We’re looking for big ideas and the passionate students behind them.
Undergraduate entrepreneurs from The University of Texas at Austin are welcome to apply! The participating team must contain and be represented by at least one full-time or part-time undergraduate student currently enrolled.
Entrepreneurship is for everyone – diverse teams and innovative products across any industry are welcome. Top industries represented in previous years include: social good, entertainment, retail, business operations, SAAS, ed tech and healthcare tech.
Important: ONLY undergraduates will be invited to pitch at the finals.
Beyond a full day of feedback from top Austin entrepreneurs and investors, you’ll be eligible for a chance at $35k in prizes, including free service offerings and perks from our sponsors.
1st place: $8K
2nd place: $4K
3rd place: $2K
4th place: $1K
$5,000 in Amazon Web Service Credits awarded to each team that places in the finals
NOTE: Awards will be processed as a scholarship or financial aid award. If you are an international student, taxes may be withheld. See more in Disclaimer below
Applications are judged on the following criteria. Judges will review your background information and persuasiveness of your video pitch to rank:
Innovativeness: How novel is your core idea?
Achievability: How practical is the idea?
Scalability: Can the idea generate a sustainable and growing business?
Fundability: How clear are the benefits of funding for the idea?
Persuasiveness: Is your passion evident and can you convince people?
Quality: Overall quality of the application.
Find answers to frequently asked questions about the competition. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
When is the deadline for the application?
The application deadline is Friday, September 16, 2022 at 11:59PM. All applications must be received through the Reviewr submission portal.
Where do I submit an application?
Please visit the Reviewr application portal here.
(Please note: 2022 application does not open until Monday, August 22, 2022 at 8:00am)
What is needed to apply?
A completed application and 60-second video pitch are needed.
Do I have to be a student to participate?
This is a competition for undergraduate student startups; the undergraduate student(s) must play a central role in the business – combined ownership of at least 50% equity and be a founding member. Only undergraduate students will be invited to participate in the finals.
How many students can be on a team?
A minimum of one student can comprise a team. A maximum of three students per team will be invited to participate in the competition. Only undergraduate students may present.
Who can a “faculty advisor” be and why do I need one?
A faculty advisor could be a professor, academic advisor/counselor, dean, or other university-employed professional who is familiar with your work. This advisor may be contacted via email, but will not have any obligations for the competition. Note: A faculty advisor is strongly recommended but not required to apply to the competition.
When and where will the finals be held?
Semi-finals will be held in the morning and finals will be held in the afternoon on Saturday, October 22, via Zoom, beginning at 9:00am. Finals will be held on Thursday, October 27th, from 3:00pm-7:00pm in Robert B. Rowling Hall. More information about the schedule of the competition will be shared at a later date.
How can I get help or preliminary feedback on my application?
Applicants are encouraged to work with their faculty advisor before submitting the application. The HKEC offers individual appointments with it’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence to discuss any problem areas in business development or pitch presentations. Additionally, helpful videos, how-tos, and articles can be found at the Herb Kelleher Entrepreneurship Center website and YouTube channel. No judges’ feedback will be given prior to the competition finals.
Does my venture have to be an established business?
No, this is a pitch. Having an established business is not required and does not impact judging.
Can I submit a plan for an established business that I helped found?
Yes, as long as it is still early-stage/startup, you are a current undergraduate student at The University of Texas at Austin, and you play a central role in the business (founding member) with team members having combined ownership of at least 50% equity.
What colleges and universities are eligible for this competition?
The participating team must contain at least one primary team member that is enrolled as an undergraduate student at The University of Texas at Austin, either full or part-time, for the Fall 2022 semester. The competition is open to any undergraduate major at UT Austin. Team members from other universities are not eligible to compete. Students who competed in the Finals of the 2021 DisrupTexas competition are not eligible to compete.
What is the format of the judging rounds?
First, applications will be judged virtually by at least three judges. The top teams will be invited to pitch at the semi-finals on Saturday, October 22nd. The top four teams from the semi-finals will be invited to pitch during the finals, occurring the afternoon of Thursday, October 27th. More information about the schedule of the competition will be shared at a later date.
Are applications and presentations confidential?
No. Due to the nature of this competition, please do not assume confidentiality with any materials.
Can my company compete if I’ve already raised funding or have revenue?
Yes, as long as the participating undergraduates still retain 50% of company equity.
Financial awards will be paid to an individual student, not the startup listed in the application and will be awarded for the Fall 2022 semester. An increase in resources, including a financial award as a result of performance in the DisrupTexas Undergraduate Pitch Competition, may result in a reduction or cancellation of financial aid funds or a requirement to repay awards already released to students. Finally, financial awards may be used to pay outstanding payments owed to the university.
If you receive financial aid or owe money to the university, you should reach out to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships or Students Accounts Receivable to determine how winning a cash award through the DisrupTexas Undergraduate Pitch Competition would impact money owed to UT or your financial aid status.
2022 Formal Rules
DisrupTexas 2021 in Review
On October 23, 2021, the Herb Kelleher Entrepreneurship Center hosted DisrupTexas 2021, an annual pitch competition for undergraduate students at The University of Texas at Austin. During this pitch competition, student founders had a chance to build relationships through networking with seasoned entrepreneurs and professionals, hear expert feedback on their pitches, and further develop their business strategies. This “shark-tank style” pitch competition also provided founders the ability to win over $35,000 in cash and prizes to support the building of their startups.
This year, we had 16 undergraduate teams in the semi-final round, of which four teams made it to the finals. There were four divisions in the semi-final round, with four teams in each division. In the semi-finals, each team presented their 10-minute pitch to a panel of judges. These pitches were judged based on the problem, solution, and overall presentation of their startup. The presentation was then followed by a 10-minute Q&A where judges could hone in on specific aspects of the presentation and provide feedback. After deliberations concluded for each division of the semi-finals, four teams were selected to advance to the final round. These teams were Psykhe, WalkThru, Sensibed, and TipX.