Robert J. Trulaske Sr., College of Business, University of Missouri

Tiger Cage / Tiger StartUp

Tiger Cage New Venture Pitch Competition: 

Friday, April 27 (Time TBD)

Tiger Cage is an annual competition to showcase and reward the best early stage new ventures led by University of Missouri students and the community beyond.

  • If you have a new venturefrom idea to IPOfor a business, and are looking for an opportunity to advance it, this program is designed for you!
  • Student-led teams and entrepreneurially minded students can develop their concepts and pitch to a seasoned group of judges to potentially win prizes that will help jumpstart #MizzouMade businesses.
  • Tiger Cage is open to all MU Students—undergraduate and graduate—from any major.
  • Student-led teams will compete for a sizable award of up to $10,000 and other services to help advance their business.
  • Select teams will be offered incubator space in the UM new venture incubator, a cohort accelerator program over the summer, mentoring from the Mizzou community of business people and successful entrepreneurs, and the opportunity to pitch to Angel Investors in the fall.
  • Tiger Cage is funded by the University of Missouri, the MoSBTDC, and the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business, and is brought to you by the Department of Management. 

Tiger Cage Submission Guidelines

  1. Teams or individuals may enter. 

  2. To compete for $10,000, at least one member of the leadership team of the venture must be enrolled as an MU student in the current semester. All MU studentsundergraduate and graduate students—are eligible.

  3. State of Missouri residents who are not current MU students may also enter, but may only compete for a top award of $5000 funded by the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers (a University of Missouri Extension Partner).

  4. The proposed new venture must be an original idea. Units of corporations, spinoffs, and franchises are not eligible.

  5. Ventures from idea to IPO are eligible, but judges tend to favor ventures that have proof of concept and have gained some traction. Examples of traction include patent protection; advanced prototyping; founder, family, or friends’ capital invested; have pre-orders; and/or have generated some revenue. 

  6. Submissions are due by midnight on April 2, 2018. No late submissions are allowed.

  7. Submit your application here!

  8. You will be prompted to answer several questions about your new venture and to provide a link to a one minute video pitch by the founder(s).

  9. Teams are strongly encouraged, but not required, to participate in #TigerStartUp training sessions (4 sessions on Wednesday evenings from 5-7 pm).  

  10. Individual coaching by trained MBA students will be provided to all teams. Coaching is available prior to submission for any team that seeks it. 

  11. The team must designate a Lead Founder who will receive awarded funds. MU students must be identified by their full name and student ID number. Non-MU students must be identified by their full name and be prepared to provide a tax ID number (such as social security number) if funds are awarded.

  12. Teams must complete written and video submission by midnight, April 2, 2018.

Evaluation Process and Awards

  1. Submissions will be evaluated on the content and presentation of the venture idea in the written and video statement. Judges favor teams that can demonstrate growth potential. 

  2. Teams that advance to the finals will have 10 minutes to pitch to judges, followed by 5 minutes of Q and A. The judges will be experienced entrepreneurs and Angel Investors.

  3. Judges may award up to $10,000 in prize money, either to a single team or divided among no more than 3 teams.   

  4. Judges and other investors in the audience will have the opportunity to individually negotiate private investments with teams.

  5. Judges may recommend up to 10 teams to be offered incubator space in the UM new venture incubator, a cohort accelerator program over the summer, mentoring, and the opportunity to pitch to Angel Investors in the fall. Teams will have the option to accept or reject these additional non-monetary awards.

Preparation, Training, and Coaching

We highly encourage everyone who is thinking about submitting their new venture to the Tiger Cage New Venture Pitch Competition to attend the following #TigerStartUp training sessions and to use MBA Student Coaches:

#TigerStartUp: Wednesdays, all from 5-7pm

February 7: Customer discovery & customer segments, with teams assigned to one of the MBA TA’s for weekly virtual or in-person touch points to keep them on track

February 28: Value proposition

March 7: Business models

March 14: Gaining traction, proof of concept, how to pitch

MBA Student Coaches

MBA student coaches have been trained in the judging criteria. They are available M-F, by appointment (and with some office hours), to answer questions, review materials, and to provide other support and advice to help all new venture teams submit the strongest possible applications and to prepare teams advancing to the semi-finals for live presentations.

David Campos                   

Swati Gupta                       

Rebecca Hayes                  

Eduardo Passos