WPI Venture Forum - Five-Minute Pitch Contest

When: Tue February 12, 2013 5:30 pm

Organization: WPI Venture Forum

Location: 100 Institute Road, Worcester, MA 01609, Venue: Campus Center - Odeum, 3rd floor

Website: http://www.wpiventureforum.org/fiveminute.html

The Pitch Contest consists of two rounds of selection.  In the first round, applications are evaluated anonymously by a group of area business leaders.  Ten finalists will be selected from among the applicants and invited to compete at the Venture Forum’s final meeting of the season, scheduled for 5:30 on February 12, 2013. 

In the final round, each company will be given five minutes to pitch their business to a panel of expert judges and the Forum’s audience who will evaluate the entrepreneur’s presentation skills and overall performance. Each presentation will be followed by a two minute open discussion between the judges and the entrepreneur.  The judges will then rate each business and the audience will do the same.  Once all the pitches are complete, the judges will select the winner of the top prize in a brief and closed deliberation.  An audience prize will be awarded based on the voting results.

In both rounds of the Pitch Contest, companies will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Business model: How the business generates revenue and profit.
  • Innovation: How innovation is applied in the business (e.g., the technology associated with the product/service, how a product/service is marketed).
  • Market opportunity: The size of the market, the ability of the company to capture market share and generate profit out of the market share.
  • Competitive advantage: What allows the company to compete successfully in the market place (e.g., Value Proposition, IP strategy). 
  • Leadership Team: The quality, breadth and experience of the team (management, advisory board, etc.).


We encourage you to view past competition videos to see the winning pitches. In the left menu, click on past years to find the video files.

Paul Horn


Paul Horn is an independent consultant and college instructor specializing in business communication skills—for rocket pitches, business plan presentations, media presentations, interviews and other events.  He works with managers and executives at companies in a variety of industries—national or international companies like TJ Max, Johnson and Johnson, Fidelity, and Parsons Brinckerhoff among them. He also devotes pro bono time to a number of small non-profit organizations helping individuals and teams develop more skill and confidence with speeches and other presentations.   As a college instructor, Paul works with both undergraduate and MBA students at Babson College and has been a guest lecturer or adjunct instructor at Brandeis University, Boston University, Northeastern University and Pine Manor College.  For the past 8 years, Paul has also coached the finalists in the annual business plan competition at B.U.’s Institute of Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (ITEC). In all this work Paul draws on his background as a professional actor and narrator (in film, television, radio and corporate media productions) as well as his earlier career in government and community development. Paul serves on both the local and national boards of SAG-AFTRA, the recently merged union of broadcasters and performance artists, and is an active member of the Massachusetts Production Coalition and the Trainers Roundtable.

2013 Esteemed Judging Team

Every year an esteemed panel of judges are hand selected to score the five-minute presentations. This year's panel includes Mark A. Lester, Managing General Partner, Provenance Venture Partners, LLC; Sandra Glucksmann Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Cerulean Pharma Inc.; Pete Sliwkowski, Launchpad Venture Group and V.P., Products at Vuuch; Jonathan D. Draluck, Partner at Gesmer Updegrove; and Janice Vatland, Shareholder at Wolf Greenfield