Early-Stage Feedback

Early Stage Idea Feedback allows potential participants in the New Venture Competition to receive guidance on their business plans. This is a great opportunity to get feedback on your startup idea from VCs/entrepreneurs in your space.

Applicants should send a pdf file consisting of a cover sheet and an overview of your business idea (in memo form, not powerpoint) to the Rock Center no later than December 11, 2014 to qualify for Early-Stage Feedback. You should expect to receive an email with feedback from an investor or entrepreneur in your industry by mid January 2015. Please note, Early-Stage Feedback investors or entrepreneurs may choose to provide feedback anonymously.

  • Name your pdf file with your full name and the word feedback: firstname.lastname.feedback.pdf.
  • The cover sheet should include the name and email address of one primary contact.
  • For the overview of your business idea (in memo form , not powerpoint), please address the following questions:
  • What will your business do or make?
  • What painpoints will your business address?
  • What is your value proposition?
  • Describe your target segment and the size of your addressable market.
  • Who are your major competitors?
  • What is your business's competitive advantage?
  • Please describe your business model.
  • Please describe current status of business and any milestones achieved (e.g., prototype completed, customers, revenue).
  • Please briefly tell us about each team member, their role, and each team member's relevant experience.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Rock Center.


Product / Service: What exactly is the product or service you propose to sell, what is its state of development, what hurdles exist to finishing and getting it fully-formed and functional? What problem / need for which set of customers does this address?

Business Model: What kind of investment will be required to get the doors open, how will you make money?

Market: How big is the market? What competitors exist? What is your advantage relative to them? If you are successful, what will prevent others from imitating you?

Financial Plan: How much money will be required to get the venture off the ground? How much capital will likely be required in total?

Management Team: A brief sense of each person on the team, their relevant background and role.


Set up personal 1:1 meetings with our Entrepreneurs In Residence (EIRs) to discuss your idea further. Sign up now for an appointment with an EIR.


Team Building

Whether you are looking for cofounders or looking to join a team, come to our team building mixer on October 30, 2014 from 7:00-8:00 PM in Hive 205. It will be an exciting opportunity for interested students to meet cofounders and discuss ideas. Or, join our New Venture Competition facebook group to connect with potential team members.


Legal Advice

Need advice on what business entity to form? How to protect your intellectual property? Through the generosity of several local law firms, including Foley Hoag, Wilmer Hale, Hinckley Allen, Brown Rudnick, and Goodwin Procter, the Rock Center is able to offer legal advice to students developing business plans for the New Venture Competition. These half-hour sessions — while no substitute for engaging counsel — can help to identify legal issues and hurdles that may arise and point you to specific issues that might be of concern. To set up an appointment time please email the Rock Center.

Legal Workshop Series

In preparation for the coming year’s New Venture Competition, we will create a series of presentations on critical legal issues facing entrepreneurs and startup companies generally.  Each of these presentations will be given by one or more Foley Hoag lawyers experienced with working with startup companies and specializing in the particular issues being addressed. 
1.       Date:  TBD in R2 (next to Rock 107)
Topic: Incorporation Issues
This session will cover why and when to incorporate, choice of legal entity, limitations on personal liability of founders, tax issues regarding early-stage equity, how to optimize corporate structure for investment, and other threshold legal issues confronted when starting a business.
2.       Date: TBD in R2 (next to Rock 107)
Topic: Venture Capital Financing & Term Sheets
This session will provide a deep dive into critical deal terms that arise in the context of raising capital in seed, angel and venture financings.  Convertible debt vs. preferred stock financings, pre- and post-money valuation, liquidation preference, anti-dilution protection, corporate control, information and registration rights, and other key features of these financings will be covered.  Actual term sheets will be used as a guide to the discussion. 
3.       Date: TBD in Aldrich 012
Topic: Immigration Issues
This session will address immigration challenges facing teams that include foreign nationals and/or expect to hire them.  Basic strategies regarding securing the proper visa status, traps for the unwary, etc., will be covered.

4.       Date: TBD in R2 (next to Rock 107)
Topic: Intellectual Property
FH Intellectual Property NVC.pdfFH Intellectual Property NVC.pdf
This session will cover IP basics, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, methods of developing and protecting IP, strategies for building an IP portfolio, and the role of IP in corporate transactions.  Students will learn the central role IP assets play in the company’s valuation, and how this impacts fund raising and exits. Be sure to RSVP for the workshop here. 
5.       Date: TBD in R2 (next to Rock 107)
Topic: Founder Relationships, Equity Distribution and Dilution
FH Dividing Equity NVC.pdfFH Dividing Equity NVC.pdf
This session will address questions that arise in most every startup regarding distributing equity among the founders (i.e. dividing the pie without being divisive), providing for restricted stock for the founders, and the impact that dilution has on the company’s capitalization table prior to angel and venture investment. Be sure to RSVP here.

Experimentation Fund

Stay tuned!  More information to come soon.


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