About The Competition

Below is information about the competition including criteria and judging information.

Pismo Ventures National Venture Plan Competition


The objective of the competition is to provide a platform for entrepreneurs and startups to learn, compete, win prizes, and most of all to give them the opportunity to be heard by investors, angels and VCs. We strongly believe that innovation is the life of our society. It is Pismo Ventures’ goal to foster the startup ecosystem and for every entrepreneur to be provided with the support and direction needed to launch, grow and expand their business.

Venture Plan Categories

  • Business Products or Services (B2B)
  • Consumer Products or Services (B2C)
  • Life Sciences, Med Tech, Healthcare

Submission Materials

The following materials shall be submitted as part of the online application:

Submitting a 2-3 page business plan is recommended but not required

Helpful information: Pitch Instructions, Sample Video Pitch

Submitted materials will be evaluated based on the following rubric.

The Rounds

Round 1

  • No pitch and no Q&A in this round
  • Businesses compete for the top 60 spots
  • Scoring will be based on submitted information and on 
  • 60 companies will emerge: 15 in B2B, 15 in B2C, 15 in LifeSciences / MedTech / Healthcare, and 15 Wildcard companies with the highest scores (regardless of category) following the 45 companies in the 3 main categories.

Round 2 – Live

  • 5-minute pitch
  • 5-minute Q&A
  • Top 60 businesses compete for category winners
  • 10 winners will emerge – 3 winners for each of the 3 main categories (B2B, B2C and LifeSciences / MedTech / Healthcare) and 1 winner from the Wildcard group of companies regardless of category.

Round 3 – Live

  • Top 10 businesses compete for the grand overall competition winner
  • 12-minute pitch
  • 12-minute Q&A
  • 3 top winners will be announced
  • 1 overall winner will emerge

The Judging


The National Venture Plan Competition judges are experts in their fields, ranging from serial entrepreneurs that have started and exited businesses to seasoned investors with years of experience investing in startups or the combination of both. Our lineup of judges include Super Angels, VCs and Family Offices all here to find and/or help nurture the next unicorn.


The judging rubric shall consider the following: Problem, Solution, Value Proposition, Addressable Target Market, Competition, Business Model, Product-Market-Fit, Product Development, Go-To-Market Strategy, Sustainable Competitive Advantage, Intellectual Property, Distribution Channels, Financial Projections, Sales Cycle, Scalability, Funding, Team, Coachability, Presentation, and Q&A.


Each of the criterion will be scored on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1 is the lowest score and 7 being the highest possible score.  The scores will be added to produce an overall total per application.  The applicants with the highest scores will move from one round to the next.


In-Kind Prizes

For the most part, all competition applicants will receive in-kind prizes ranging from software subscriptions to AWS credits to professional services. Information will be provide shortly.

All Applicants - In-Kind Prizes

Amazon AWS – $1,000 in AWS credit

  1. Stripe – Get $15,000 Stripe payment processing credits!
  2. AWS – Get $10,000 in AWS credit!
  3. Bamboo HR – 35% off setup fee for BambooHR!
  4. BREX – Get $100 and card fees waived for life with Brex!
  5. Hotjar – 3 months of Hotjar FREE!
  6. Hubspot – Get 90% off Hubspot!
  7. Pipedrive – Get 50% off Pipedrive, plus 1 month!
  8. Quickbooks – 50% off QuickBooks for six months!
  9. Unbounce – 25% off Unbounce!
  10. Zendesk Sell – 6 Months of Zendesk FREE!
  11. Zendesk Support – 6 months of Zendesk Support for free for up to 100 hundred Agents!
  12. 1Password – Get 1 year free of 1Password for teams up to 50 user!

Keiretsu Forum Southern California – Screening – Worth $5,500!

Grand Prizes

The top 10 winners will be provided with the opportunity to present their business to a series of angel groups, VCs or family offices, across the US, by being fast-tracked (with some variations, conditions and specific terms for each of the organizations) directly through screening (or equivalent process) without having to go through the normal vetting process. These organizations are spread out geographically across the US and have their own respective criteria, terms and conditions that the winners are obligated to abide by them.

Rules and Requirements

  • Applicant must be 18+ years of age
  • Business must have at least one full time founder
  • Business must have a legal US-Based privately held entity/corporation
  • Business must be active and may be either pre or post revenue but may not be just an idea that has not been launched
  • Applicant must select only one category per business application
  • Applicants are allowed only one submission per business
  • Applicant must have access to internet connection and device to connect online
  • Applicant is responsible for all taxes on winnings and prizes
  • Each applicant and business (each application) accept all the rules, requirements, terms and conditions for the competition as such terms may change from time to time without prior notification
  • Applicants who emerge past round 1 must participate in all live judging meetings
  • Applicants may update submission materials as specified in the timeline after the completion of rounds 1 and 2
  • All participants release the rights to Pismo Ventures to use any audio, video, or media for training and promotional purposes
  • No Refunds – No Exceptions – All Transactions Are Final
Pismo Ventures National Venture Plan Competition