Venture Madness

Presented by Invest Southwest In Partnership with The Arizona Commerce Authority

Call for applications for Venture Madness 2016 is now open. We are accepting applications from Oct 1, 2015 until 3pm MST on December 17, 2015.
Will your startup join the ranks of our 2015 winner, CampusLogic?

[ About ]

Venture Madness, presented by Invest Southwest in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority, pits 64 of the most promising startups against one another in a bracket-style, head-to-head competition. Think you’ve got what it takes? Registration is free and open to early-stage firms demonstrating proven market traction. Click here to apply now.

How it Works

The competition starts with a bracket of 64 startup companies. After two online elimination rounds in which the advancing companies are chosen by a selection panel, the top 16 companies will advance to the live-demo portion of the contest held March 2-4, 2016, at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. It’s here where they will compete for their share of $100,000 in cash prizes by live-pitching their way through the remainder of the brackets before a selection panel, who will determine which company will be crowned the 2016 Venture Madness Champion.

[ Apply ]

The call for applications for Venture Madness 2016 is NOW OPEN! The application window will be open from October 1, 2015 until 3pm MST on December 17, 2015. To apply, please DOWNLOAD THE APPLICATION FORM (Word document), and complete the application per instructions on the document.

Once complete, save your application file as a PDF (an option in Microsoft Word’s save-as window), and title your file “company name_VM_16.pdf.” Then return here to SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION.

Please be sure to download and review our Rules & Guidelines and Terms & Conditions. Thank you for Joining the Madness and GOOD LUCK!


What is Venture Madness?

Venture Madness, presented by Invest Southwest in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority, pits 64 of the most promising startup companies against one another in a single-elimination, bracket style tournament. The Venture Madness Champion is crowned after a month of online competition plus a live do-or-die event held in early march featuring an audience of more than 250 guests consisting of investors, emerging growth companies and service professionals.

How is my application evaluated?

Please review the application information packet which outlines how your application is evaluated. The packet includes the judging rubric, which you may use to help you more effectively complete your application. Click here to download the application information packet.

What are the benefits to applying to present at the 2016 Venture Madness Conference?

Companies that present at the conference will meet people who’ve been in their shoes. They will be able to network with and learn from a 30+ member selection panel including expert investors, investment bankers and service professionals, in addition to the other entrepreneurial minds who attend the conference. They will have national and international exposure through the Venture Madness website during the competition, as members of the public view their applications and fill out brackets to predict which company will win. All 64 participating companies will be mentioned in the conference notebook, which is distributed to more than 250 attendees.

What are the pitch video requirements?

Videos are limited to a maximum of 90 seconds. Please save your video as an .MP4, .MOV or .WMV file format and host on YouTube or Vimeo. With your application, you must provide a link to your video hosted on YouTube or Vimeo. If you provide financial information or make an ask for money during your elevator pitch video, you will be disqualified. Your video is one of the most important parts of your application. You have a minute and a half to make a lasting impression on the judges and the public, who will be voting for their favorites. This is your time to shine!

Who reviews my application?

Invest Southwest will review initial applications, and based on weighted scores, the top 64 will be invited to participate in Venture Madness. Those 64 applications will be placed on the Venture Madness website for review and voting by a selection panel. Read the How It Works section for more information.

What is the cost to apply?

It is free to apply for the 2016 Venture Madness Competition. If your company advances to the final 16 firms that participate in the live event, you will be responsible for your travel and accommodations to attend the Venture Madness Conference which takes place March 2 – 4, 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

What if there are problems with my application?

If you have a technical difficulty submitting your application through ValidEval, please submit a help request here. If your response is not resolved through ValidEval, please contact Karen Katzorke, Executive Director of Invest Southwest. Please note that Invest Southwest receives a high volume of calls the week prior to the application deadline, and your request will be responded to in the order that is is received.

When do I know if my company was selected to present at the conference?

An Invest Southwest representative will be in touch with you by February 4, 2016, a month prior to the conference, if your company is selected to present.

How can I confirm that my application was successfully submitted?

Once you have successfully submitted your application materials, ValidEval will take you to a thank you page confirming your submission. If you apply prior to the deadline and do not see a thank you confirmation page or experience other issues with the ValidEval site, please email Karen Katzorke at

If my company is selected to present at the 2016 Venture Madness Conference, what are the next steps?

An Invest Southwest representative will contact each company to notify them if they are selected to compete in each round. Companies that move on to rounds 2 and 3 will compete based on their original applications. The final 16 companies selected to present at the conference are required to attend:

> Presenting Company Orientation on February 5, 2016
> Mentor Team Meetings (ongoing)
> Venture Madness Conference on March 2-4, 2016 (CEO/President is required to present)

Can I attend the 2016 Venture Madness Conference?

Yes, conference registration is open to the public. Visit the Registration Page for more information.

Are there any Invest Southwest or Venture Madness social media networks?

Yes, join our social media networks at the following:

Get Your Conference Tickets Today!

2016 Venture Madness is coming soon! Fill out the event updates form and be the first to know when tickets go on sale and all the details about 2016 Venture Madness. You may download Dave McClure’s keynote presentation slides from the 2015 Venture Madness Conference by clicking here.

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