University Venture Challenge: Program Guidelines

UVC 2016-2017 Details

UVC 2017 Partners


Are you a student in Tennessee?
Check out 36|86: Student Edition!

Student founders are a crucial component of a healthy startup ecosystem, and 36|86 is excited to host the inaugural Student Edition on June 4, 2017. The day-long event celebrates student entrepreneurship with programming tailored to the unique needs of young founders interested in taking an idea to market or growing an existing business.

Catch a student pitch competition for $60,000 in total prizes, a fireside chat with inspiring names in student entrepreneurship and a networking reception with corporate partners, investors, potential mentors and more.

36|86: Student Edition is open to both non-students and to students who don’t participate in the competition.
Tickets are free so RSVP


Winners receive cash prizes totaling $60,000, exposure at 36|86, on-going growth support from Launch Tennessee and eligibility to apply for the TENN Master Accelerator.

15 Winners of University Partner Competitions will be chosen to compete in one of five categories:

  • Commercialized technology developed out of university- or laboratory-based research (such as  medical devices or ag tech)
  • Software or application (such as SaaS /CRM products, apps)
  • Consumer goods and services (such as a brick-and-mortar bakery or cleaning service)
  • Social enterprise that could be categorized as 501c3 not-for-profit or B-corp (such as Warby Parker or Nisolo)
  • Idea stage, with no existing prototype

15 Student Finalists Receive:

  • Promotion as Student Edition finalists
  • 2 complimentary 36|86 badges
  • Invitation to Village 36 networking brunch on June 5
  • Two nights (June 4-5) lodging for two team members at 36|86 Entrepreneurs’ HQ: Music City Guest House  
  • $50 gift card to cover gas expenses

Who is Eligible?

  • Companies that placed in a Tennessee University Partner Competition in the 2016 or 2017 academic school year
  • Companies nominated by a University Partner
  • Companies that have raised equity capital below $50,000 from sources other than the founders or their friends and families (excluding SBIR/STTR grants)
  • At least one team member must have been enrolled at the University Partners school at the time they won the competition.

What is the process?

  • Step 1: Eligible teams will submit an electronic application to be reviewed by a team made up of LaunchTN staff, board members, entrepreneurs and investors. Applications are due May 3, 2017!
  • Step 2: Up to 15 finalists will be selected to pitch at the 36|86: Student Edition on June 4 (the day before the 36|86 conference kicks off). Finalists will be notified May 16, 2017.
  • Step 3: Finalists pitch at 36|86: Student Edition to a panel of seasoned judges who will select winners in five different categories.
  • Step 4: Winners are announced!

Need to Know

  • Companies in the University Venture Challenge are encouraged, but not required, to be established as a legal entity to facilitate reception of cash prizes. Winners will have 60 days after their award to establish as a legal entity. Companies ineligible to claim their prize within 60 days will forfeit their winnings to the runner-up.
  • Judges will evaluate the proposed product or service, technology strength, business model and the team’s ability execute on the business model.


June 4, 2017 – 2:00-6:00pm CT
Global Action Platform Office @ OneCity in Nashville, TN


News, Case Studies, Success Stories, Interviews, and More.

Atlanta-Based Tech and Startup Publication Hypepotamus Expands to Tennessee

Written by Muriel Vega, Associate Editor at Hypepotamus   Hypepotamus, the leading startup- and technology-focused news publication in the Southeast, started as a community resource. Born in the basement of a historic building in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, next to top university Georgia Tech, Hypepotamus was created to fill … read more

Why Nashville, Why Now

Written by Heath Butler, Managing Partner of Gestalt Growth Advisors   Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. You put your financial future on the line for a venture that – let’s be honest – is more likely to fail than succeed. Overnight, you become the new kid … read more