Guidelines for Applicants
Detailed information about rules and procedures for applying to FLoW.
Terms of the competition, signature by CEO or most senior company respresentative required.
Statement of Intent
Due Nov. 16, 2012
Student Teams who are considering applying will be asked to sign a Statement of Intent.
Go to form
To show that you have contacted the university tech transfer office who owns the technology.
Updated Mar 11, 2013
Grading rubric used by the judges for the FLoW Competition.
Example Presentation Template
A ten-slide template for the business plan presentation.
Example Business Plan Template
An outline of an example business plan.
FLoW Mentor Request Form
Complete this form if you need a mentor. Learn more about the FLoW mentoring program.
Go to form
Learn more about FLoW.
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)
- Winners pitch to Vinod Khosla, Founder of Khosla Ventures
- Connect with the best mentors in clean energy
- Get incorporated with legal startup packages
- Meet other cleantech investors who can help you
- Win exclusive places in UC Davis's Green Technology Entrepreneurship Academy (GTEA) and the Cleantech Open (CTO)
- Judges from Mohr Davidow, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Angel groups and clean energy companies and utilities
The best-in-class move on to the Regional Finals held at the
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California on May 7.
FLoW winners compete in the Department of Energy's
National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition in
Washington D. C. June 2013.
Who Can Apply
- Teams where at least 50% of the members are students (undergraduate and graduate), attending accredited universities and community colleges in the U.S., with at least one team member a U.S. citizen. This also includes post-doctoral researchers who have graduated within 12 months or are currently attending courses. U.S. citizens attending universities abroad may also participate.
- Innovations in technology will typically be the foundation of your application, but are not required to be patented at the time of submission. Transformational concepts with commercial potential are welcome as well as more formalized businesses.
- There will be a special "transformational potential" award and the chance to exhibit at the Regional Awards Final, May 7, 2013 at USC, in Los Angeles.
- Submissions will be divided into two tracks: Business Ready or Transformational Idea at the time of submission. In the second group which includes advanced research projects, judges will be looking for transformational potential and a major impact on the energy industry and economy. Those in this category that make it through Round 1 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 forward.
- Service businesses are also eligible if they represent either novel applications of new or existing cleantech technologies or innovative financing models.
- All teams should be incorporated or in the process by the Regional Final Round, where 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.
- 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.
FLoW Application Timeline 2012-2013
Statement of Intent
Nov. 16, 2012
Feb. 10, 2013
Regional SoCal Semi-Final Judging
March 28, 2013
Regional NorCal Semi-Final Judging
April 5, 2013
Regional Final Judging
May 7, 2013
DOE National Competition
Guidance for Applicants
For detailed information about rules and procedures including the Statement of Intent please read the FLoW Guidelines for Applicants (PDF).
For general guidance before applying, you can contact the Executive Director by completing the contact us form.
Round 1: Screening submissions
All applications must be made online on the iStart platform. Teams may create an account and submit and rework drafts of their submissions 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 you 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. Click on the following links to find templates of the business plan (Download PDF) and presentation (Download PDF) that will be required for the FLoW Regional Finals.
Videos are permitted, and recommended where a visual demonstration would help explain the technology. 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 Semi-Final events, at UCLA in Los Angeles and at UC Berkeley. FLoW teams will be assigned based on their location and own preference.
At the semi-finals, 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 at the University of Southern California, 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 full 15 page business plan plus the final version of the ten slide, investor presentation deck online in advance of the Regional Awards Judging Event at USC on May 7, 2013.
The format will be identical to Round 2 but there will be new panels office 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.