About the eSeed Challenge
The eSeed Challenge is part of ASU’s Innovation Challenge program, a series of competitions that are defined and led by the University’s colleges and schools. The ASU Innovation Challenges engage students in the New American University design aspiration of valuing entrepreneurship and providing entrepreneurial experiences to all ASU students.
The Fulton Schools of Engineering eSeed Challenge enables students to win up to $6,000 in seed funding and an all-expenses paid innovation field trip to advance their entrepreneurial ventures.
The eSeed Challenge is open to all ASU students who aim to prove or disprove that there is valid demand for a prototyped solution (product or service) beyond an initial beneficiary or customer. Organized by the Startup Center within the Fulton Schools of Engineering, this bi-annual competition aims to strategically develop early-stage student ventures that may be well suited to compete for and win other ASU, local, national, and global entrepreneurship competitions. The eSeed Challenge also helps all supported ventures to develop repeatable and scalable business models, regardless of follow-on funding or support opportunities.
How it Works
The eSeed Challenge features three highly competitive phases. In Phase One, 30+ challenge teams are selected from entries across ASU and given $1,000 to validate or reject their key business model hypotheses. In Phase Two, the challenge teams present the status of their ventures and compete for admission into the eSeed Accelerator where 10+ of the 30+ teams will each be awarded an additional $5,000 to increase traction within their target markets. Finally, in Phase Three, 12 of the eSeed Accelerator team founders will be selected to participate in an all-expenses paid innovation field trip, hosted by Mr. Tom Prescott, the eSeed Challenge’s lead benefactor.
About Tom Prescott
Mr. Tom Prescott, an ASU Engineering alumnus, believes that all ASU students are capable of becoming impactful innovators. Mr. Prescott has catalyzed the eSeed Challenge with a generous gift to the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering to support early stage student ventures.
Tom was the former President, CEO, and Director of Align Technology Inc. Prior to Align, Tom was the President and Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Cardiac Pathways, a pioneer in treating dangerous cardiac arrhythmias with cooled ablation technology. Mr. Prescott led the turnaround, recapitalization and ultimately the sale of this interventional cardiology company to Boston Scientific Corporation.
Prior to Cardiac Pathways, Mr. Prescott held various general management and executive roles at Nellcor Puritan Bennett, a company with nearly $1 billion in revenue and a leader in respiratory products and pioneer of pulse oximetry for patient safety monitoring. Mr. Prescott also held various management positions at GE Medical Systems, a global leader in diagnostic imaging and transformational medical technologies.
In addition, he served in sales, marketing and management roles at Siemens, one of the world’s largest electrical engineering and electronics companies. He earned his Master’s degree from Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University and his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Arizona State University.
The Fine Print
Student and Team Eligibility
- All full- or part-time students at Arizona State University may participate.
- Individual students or teams are eligible. Multidisciplinary teams are preferred.
- The team leader must be a full-time or part-time undergraduate or graduate degree-seeking student in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering during the program period. Finalist applicants will be asked to provide proof of enrollment and winners must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at the time awards are presented.
- Although teams should seek advice from mentors, the project, prototype, venture, or partnership idea must be student-led.
- Projects, prototypes, ventures or partnerships that have already received more than $5,000 in revenue or grants/awards/investments are not eligible for funds
- As mentioned, applicants are encouraged to incorporate members and/or mentors from different departments or colleges within the university. Teams may also have members who are not affiliated with the university (e.g., friends, family, work colleagues, etc. who are not ASU students).
The following five question clusters should be addressed in 300 words per question via the online submission form (see below).
- What is the problem you aim to solve? How did you identify this problem?
- What is your novel solution? Describe how it solves the problem in three steps. If you have an online demo, what’s the URL?
- Who has the problem and wants your solution bad enough to pay for it? In other words, who is your first customer? This applies to non-profit ventures as well. In many cases, the person or organization who uses the solution may not be the same as those who pay for it. Describe these key individuals or organizations.
- How will you spend $1,000 in order to get your first pre-orders, crowd funding contributions, or sales? In other words, list specific actions you will take, or experiments you will run, to prove or disprove that there is valid demand for your prototyped solution beyond your initial user and/or payer.
- List your team members’ names, email addresses and phone numbers, along with their majors, their unique ninja skills, and why they are so passionate about solving this problem. How did you all meet?
Application responses are due at 12 p.m. (noon) MST on the last day of classes each fall and spring term.
The next application deadline is Friday, April 29 at noon for Fall 2016 funding.
Phase One Judging
For the first phase of the eSeed Challenge, an expert panel of community members and ASU affiliates will evaluate your application question responses. Each response will be evaluated quantitatively. Qualitative feedback may also be provided in responses to your accumulative answers. Teams that receive the highest scores will be advanced as eSeed challenge teams.
Use of Funds
- eSeed funds will be awarded directly to the venture team leader identified within your eSeed Challenge application.
- eSeed funds must be spent prior to December 31 or June 30 for fall or spring term participation, respectively, at which time you agree to submit all original receipts for eSeed program-related expenditures.
- You agree to return any unspent eSeed funds on or before December 31 or June 30 for fall or spring term participation, respectively.
- As the designated leader for your venture, you acknowledge that Arizona State University may place financial charges or academic/administrative holds on your student account for improper expenditures made with eSeed funds, for missing receipts, contracts, or proof of purchase, or for any unspent funds not returned to an eSeed program adminstrator by December 31 or June 30 for fall or spring term participation, respectively.
- Funds may be used for expenses that successfully advance the project, prototype, or venture concept development. Some examples of eligible expenses include materials/supplies, building of prototypes, and professional service expenses (legal, marketing, design, etc.) that are deemed appropriate beyond ASU’s pro bono or discounted service providers.
- Funds may NOT be used for tuition, textbooks, business meals/entertainment, gift cards or incentives, personal computers, salaries/wages for team leaders/mentors/members, or other purchase not allowed by ASU’s policies.
Terms and Conditions
By submitting an Application to the eSeed Challenge (“Challenge”), each Applicant agrees to the following conditions:
- Each team member has reviewed the Challenge official rules and agrees to abide by them. Failure to do so will result in entry disqualification and/or forfeiture of funds.
- It is the Applicant’s responsibility to protect any highly confidential or trade secret information. Proposals will be handled confidentially. The legal protection of the ideas and plans submitted by the applicants to the Challenge is otherwise the sole responsibility of the Applicants.
- All decisions made by the Challenge judges and organizers on all matters relating to the Challenge will be final and not open to appeal or negotiation.
- The Challenge reserves the unrestricted right to interpret these terms and the Official Rules, and to alter, amend or change them at its discretion.
- Each Applicant understands that the Challenge’s co-sponsors, judges, mentors, co-organizers (the “Challenge Officials”) and its directors, officers, partners, employees, consultants and agents (collectively “Organizer Representatives”) are volunteers. In consideration for their time, expertise and other resources, each Applicant hereby voluntarily releases the Challenge, each Challenge Official and each Organizer Representative from any further liabilities, responsibilities, and accountabilities relating to or arising out of such Challenge Official’s or Organizer Representative’s participation in the Challenge. Applicants hereby voluntarily release the Challenge, each Challenge Official, each Organizer Representative and Arizona State University from any liabilities, responsibilities, and accountabilities relating to or arising out of the Applicant’s participation in the Challenge.
- If selected as a finalist, your award will be distributed based on your successful completion of eSeed Challenge kickoff workshop.
- You will regularly meet with your identified “first mentor” to discuss the details of your budget and proposed goals for your venture.
- You are required to provide the eSeed Challenge director with progress reports upon request and participate in regularly scheduled program events and meetings.
- You and all venture team members must maintain good standing with ASU. As representatives of the eSeed Challenge program, and ASU, professionalism and appropriate materials and facility use are expected; ASU reserves the right to withdraw the award at any time should any violations or misuse occur.
- The eSeed Challenge director reserves the right to make programmatic changes when needed.
- Arizona State University reserves the right to profile your venture and team members in current and future marketing efforts, materials and campaigns.