Revolutionary Angels Launches Pay-to-Play Business Plan Competition
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a lot of help along the way, so there’s a sense of wanting to give back to help the next crop of entrepreneurs get off the ground. It also gives them an opportunity to market themselves.”
The keys to making the Revolutionary Angels model work, of course, will be getting enough paying companies to enter the competitions and proving over time that the experience is worthwhile even for the non-winners. When I spoke with Hurley on Friday—just one day after the group opened its first competition to submissions—he hadn’t yet found any takers, although he said he was in discussions with one venture capital firm outside of Massachusetts that planned to help four or five companies submit entries. Hurley aims to recruit 100 entrants before the October 31 deadline—but he says the amount of prize money awarded will depend on the actual number of companies that take part.
Hurley says he’s hoping that most of the teams that enter the competition will be from New England, since most of Revolutionary Angels’ advisors and partner companies are located in or near Boston. But he says there aren’t any geographical restrictions on who can enter. The results of the first competition will be announced at an awards presentation at the Boston Harbor Hotel on November 20.
Because Revolutionary Angels won’t be investing other people’s money, Hurley points out, it won’t be under pressure to choose only companies that have a shot at going public or being acquired at huge multiples. In fact, he says he expects that most of the companies Revolutionary Angels funds will never do either.
The company’s main goal, Hurley says, is to provide opportunities for the unconnected. “If you go to conferences and you see a lot of entrepreneurs and angels and VCs standing around talking, it’s very clear that there are existing relationships between most of them,” he says. “It’s very easy to forget that there is a whole other world of people out there who are trying to get a company off the ground and are just not part of that network.” Seasoned entrepreneurs “may not see as much value” in paying $4,995 for a chance to connect with Revolutionary Angels’ advisors and a 1-in-100 shot at winning $250,000, he admits. “But if you’re someone who hasn’t had access, there is probably a tremendous amount of value in it.”