Revolutionary Angels Launches Pay-to-Play Business Plan Competition

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limit each competition to 100 startups, meaning Revolutionary Angels would collect just shy of $500,000 in fees for each round. Out of that pot, $300,000 would be invested in the two winners, who will be selected by the company’s panel of advisors. In return, Revolutionary Angels will ask for a 10 percent ownership stake in the grand-prize winner. The other $199,500 in entry fees would help to cover Revolutionary Angels’ costs, Hurley says.

Hurley’s view is that $4,995 isn’t a lot for a startup to spend for a shot at the prize money—at least considering how long it can take for new entrepreneurs to win their first meeting with an angel or venture group, and how much money they often spend attending venture-capital conferences where their business plans will ostensibly be vetted by top-tier investors, usually with little result.

“Every dollar is precious to a startup,” says Hurley. “But factoring in the time it takes to find funding, the connections necessary, and the dollars you are going to spend bootstrapping, we thought the fee we are charging is a good balance.”

Even the 98 companies in each crop that don’t win investments will get value for their entry fee, Hurley argues. Revolutionary Angels’ panel of judges will provide every entrant with written analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of their business plan, he says. “We’re also going to connect them to our network of advisors. Very much as in the angel and venture capital worlds, there will be companies that are standouts, and if the advisors find companies that they think have a lot of promise, they will take them under their wings.”

The company’s advisors include Steve Duplessie, the founder of Enterprise Strategy Group, a Milford, MA-based enterprise storage consulting company; Maureen Ellenberger, a fellow at the New England Clean Energy Council and a senior lecturer at the MIT Entrepreneurship Center; Mike Ewing, senior vice president of global partnerships at Lexington, MA-based VistaPrint; Jacob Farmer, founder and chief technology officer at Waltham, MA-based storage integrator Cambridge Computer; Brandon Ingersoll, a partner at MedEquity Capital in Wellesley Hills, MA; Steven Kokinos, president and CEO of Thinking Phone Networks, a Cambridge, MA, company that provides integrated e-mail, voice, and messaging software; and Jeffrey Steele, a partner at Waltham-based business law firm Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton.

Hurley, who is Revolutionary Angels’ only full-time employee, says the group has also recruited a network of partner companies who will be available to provide professional services to both the contest winners and the other entrants. These include Enterprise Strategy Group, Thinking Phone Networks, and Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, as well as an accounting firm, a Web design firm, a product design firm, a video production company, and an employee benefits administrator.

“The goal is to provide one-stop shopping” for new companies in need of services, Hurley says. “Every one of these [partner] companies, when they were getting started, got … Next Page »

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Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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5 responses to “Revolutionary Angels Launches Pay-to-Play Business Plan Competition”

  1. Another scam preying on the young and/or desperate and/or misinformed.

  2. I am sure regulators will be making a call to “Revolutionary” Angels to C&D their lottery. Sorry, but this is not what Angel investing is all about. There is nothing revolutionary about this. I will not go as far to say it is a scam, but I question ethics of this “investment” scheme.

  3. Gloria Guenther says:

    The nearly 5k “entry fee” would certainly
    be a deterent to cash-poor, but deserving, start-ups. Holy cow!
    Perhaps all entries could submit the
    $4,999.00 entrance fee in virtual currency,