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2014 FLoW Competition Timeline

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug

  • Statement of Intent Due
    Feb. 1, 2014
  • Submission Close
    Mar. 3, 2014
  • Regional SoCal Semi-Final Judging
    Los Angeles
    Apr. 4, 2014
  • Regional NorCal Semi-Final Judging
    UC Berkeley
    Apr. 4, 2014
  • Regional Final Judging
    Los Angeles
    May 7, 2014
  • DOE National Competition
    Washington, D.C.
    June, 2014

Competition Documents

Guidelines for Applicants
Download (PDF)
FloW Declaration
Download (PDF)
Statement of Intent
Go to form
IP Disclosure
Download (PDF)
Ready to Commercialize Judging Criteria
Download (PDF)
Transformational Idea Award Judging Criteria
Download (PDF)
Example Presentation Template
Download (PDF)
Example Business Plan Template
Download (PDF)
FLoW Mentor Request Form
Go to form
FLoW Brochure
Download (PDF)

Why You Should Apply

First prize of $100,000 plus other cash awards
Second prize of $40,000, third Prize of $20,000
Transformational Idea Award Learn More ›
  • Meet and receive valuable feedback from these judges: Khosla Ventures, Venrock, Lux Capital, Pangaea, Flagstaff Angel groups, and clean energy companies and utilities
  • The best-in-class move on to the Regional Finals held in Los Angeles, on May 7, 2014.
  • FLoW winners compete in the Department of Energy's National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition in Washington D. C. June 2014
  • Legal incorporation and IP packages
  • Mentoring support from industry experts

Guidance for Applicants

All teams will be required to fill out the online mentoring request form at the time of submission.

Applicants are asked to provide a video, which can be a mobile phone or vimeo recording. For ease of judging simply provide a link to the video in your application that embeds it in your application. All semi-finalists will be required to have one hour of legal counseling about incorporating the venture either with a FLoW legal advisor or your own legal provider.

For more information please read the Guidelines for Applicants or contact us.

Participation in FLoW Regional Clean Energy Business Plan Competition

All teams intending to apply to FLoW are asked to submit a brief Statement of Intent by February 1, 2014. The SOI is in no way binding on your intention and you can change your topic and focus. However, submitting an SOI helps FLoW organizers identify early on the resources and mentors that might help you.

Statement of Intent Form (online)

Round 1: Screening submissions

All applications must be made online on iStart platform. Entries consist of an 8-10 slide presentation, covering the topics outlined in the presentation template, provided at the website. http://www.flow.caltech.edu/apply You are encouraged to keep the presentation itself at a high level, containing the important points you would like the judges to remember. However, don’t hesitate to add detailed as notes (a function provided by the program) to add needed detail. Graphics help. Teams may create an iStart account and submit and rework drafts of their entries up to the submission deadline. Your application is secure: only the website administrator and your assigned judges will see it. It is also required that both Ready to Commercialize and Transformational Idea Award applicants provide a signed IP Declaration and IP Disclosure and show that you have contacted the university tech transfer office or government lab who own the technology. Download templates of the business plan and presentation that will be required for the FLoW Regional Finals.

Videos are permitted, and recommended where a visual demonstration would help explain the technology. This does not need to be elaborate – cell phone videos will do, as long as they are uploaded as a link embedded in the presentation. For submission, you will not be expected to provide details about potential customers, or financial projections but a well-constructed overview of the business opportunity and considered strategic thinking, based on research, and working with the other team members and your advisors will strengthen your application considerably.

Round 2: The Regional Semi-Finals

Selected teams will begin work on their business plan and presentation. There will be two semifinal events, one in Los Angeles and one at UC Berkeley. FLoW teams will be assigned based on their location and own preference.

At the semifinals, teams will present their ten slide deck before a panel of judges including VCs, Angel investors, representatives of energy corporation venture fund, the utilities and university tech transfer offices. The presentation should summarize the strategic and tactical thinking about how to create a business, based on the draft business plan and close work with their mentors.

The top 15 contenders, identified by these two events, will proceed to the Round 3 Finals in Los Angeles. By this round teams should be well along in preparing their business plans and presentations should be well reasoned, energetic and professional. Rehearsals before friendly investors is strongly encouraged.

All contestants From Round 2 will receive the judging feedback to help you focus and refine your business thinking. Teams are expected to take the initiative in seeking out and working with their mentors (See Mentoring Guidelines) throughout the Round 2 process. As additional mentors are needed the team can fill out the mentor application form or contact the FLoW office.

Round 3: The Regional Finals

Teams will be required to submit a 10 page business plan plus the final version of the ten slide, investor presentation deck online in advance of the Regional Awards Judging Event on May 7, 2014.

The format will be identical to Round 2 but there will be new panels of judges assessing contestants. The Regional Winner from the one-day Regional Judging and Awards Celebration will go on to compete in the DOE's National Competition in June, and will receive mentoring from investors, legal and business development experts and individuals skilled in presentation practice to ready them for the finals in Washington.


Eligibility

  • At least half of your team must be students (undergraduate and graduate) attending accredited universities and community colleges in the U.S. with at least one member a U.S. citizen.

    This also includes post-doctoral researchers who are currently attending courses and U.S. citizens attending universities abroad.

  • Teams may apply from across the country but special attention is paid to students in the Western Region: Alaska, California, Idaho, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, American Samoa, and Guam.
  • Innovations in technology will typically be the foundation of your application, but are not required to be patented at the time of submission.

    Your company does not have to be incorporated.

  • Service businesses are also eligible if they represent either novel applications of new or existing technologies or innovative financing models.
  • Submissions will be divided into two tracks:
    Ready to Commercialize or Transformational Idea.
  • Ready to Commercialize track includes projects with prototype technologies either under development, or on the horizon; IP either filed or under consideration; some market investigation and customer identification, and the foundation of a business model.

    Ready to Commercialize companies must be incorporated in order to receive FLoW prizes.

    Student members of the formal team should have a combined minimum equity of 20% of the incorporated entity.

    The team or company cannot have secured more than $200k in equity capital prior to selection of the regional winners.

  • Transformational Idea track includes advanced research projects. Judges will be looking for discoveries that will have a major impact on the energy industry and economy.

    Semi-finalists will be provided with mentoring and legal advice to help the team identify the commercial potential for their innovation, build the business model and set a strategy for moving the project forward.