2011-2012‎ > ‎

Round 2 FAQ

I think a student member from the Fuqua school would be a huge plus to us. Can we find new teammates at this point? And do you have someone in mind?

Absolutely.  You are encouraged to grow your team. You might look at the DukeGEN Startup Matchmaker Directory for ideas for teammates. Also, you should feel free to post needs on the DukeGEN Startup Matchmaker Google Group


I would also like to ask if we are allowed to ask for more feedback to the judges than mentioned that they would be happy to do follow-up mentoring and how would that affect to the team's participation in Round 2 (and potentially the finale). I am concerned to have these potential judges as a mentors, and because of this, they won't be able to judge this project in the later phases of the Duke Start-up Challenge (conflict of interests). That would be an inconvenient for our team, since these potential judges are the ones with a better knowledge of the industry/type of company we want to develop and therefore the ones more prepared to understand and judge the project in the competition, so it would be highly desirable for the team to have them as judges in the competition. Let me know your thoughts.

Yes, if they advise you, they cannot judge you in Round 2 or beyond.

We would like our video in part to include our staff speaking about our startup and how they’re going to make our new model work down there. Is this outside of the rules? Their English is limited so they would speak in Spanish and we’d have subtitles or voice over. They are essential members of the our startup team – to me, a video without them would not capture the essence of our startup, why we will succeed, and why the $50,000 would best be invested with us.

Yes, that is outside the rules.  

I also have some great clips of the businesses we work with  – essentially, interviews with the small business entrepreneurs that our startup will support. We would like these clips to also be a central component of our video. Is this okay? (Of course, the three of us – the Duke team members - would also have key speaking roles in the video).

Yes, as of March 12, that is ok. We have modified the rules so that "potential customers" can now appear in the video, as long as they are not a part of your startup. The point of this addition is, if you have potential customers who can express the need for what you are offering, you are allowed to show them.

I also wanted to include some of our U.S. board members speaking about our startup  (they are not Duke students, but are working professionals), as well as local business leaders I interviewed during a Duke course I took on our startup who expressed an interest in partnering with us for the pilot. Is this okay?

No, they are not team members.

Will the summary be used in judging for round 2?  More specifically, is it to our advantage to adjust our summary to reflect feedback we received?  Or should we just incorporate the feedback into our pitch deck/video?

It may.  We are providing all three components, private business plan/investor pitch deck; public idea summary; and video, to the judges.  We've observed that some judges review all items, and some do not.  If you have bandwidth, our suggestion would be to update all three to reflect your best foot forward.


The rules for the video state that only someone that qualifies under rules pitch in the video.  We were thinking of including some short snippets of potential users that highlight the problem we're solving.  Is that okay?

Yes, as of March 12, that is ok.  We have modified the rules so that "potential customers" can now appear in the video, as long as they are not a part of your startup. The point of this addition is, if you have potential customers who can express the need for what you are offering, you are allowed to show them.


I was wondering about the necessary portions of the youtube video each team is supposed to make for the Duke Start-Up Challenge. Should the video be a long and detailed pitch like that which would be given to persuade angel investors, or is it a short video explaining the main points of our idea in 2-3 minutes? 

That's completely up to you.  Our suggestion is to make it as compelling as possible.  If you think that's a short video, that's your decision.  If you think it's a longer one, again, that's your decision.
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