Deadline to enter the third annual Morgenthaler-Pavey Startup Competition is Nov. 22

Startup companies grow. So do startup contests.

This year, the Morgenthaler-Pavey Startup Competition (MPSC)—Case Western Reserve University’s marquee pitch contest—has added a generous new facet for finalists: enrollment in gBETA, a free seven-week mentorship program run by nationally ranked startup accelerator gener8tor.

Scott Shane
Scott Shane and a panel of investors judge pitches at the first Morgenthaler-Pavey Startup Competition, March 2018.

To enter the MPSC, startups must have at least one current Case Western Reserve student or alumni who has graduated within the last five years. Pitch decks must be submitted by Nov. 22 and follow contest guidelines (PDF).

“This is truly a generous and unique opportunity for any entrepreneur,” said Scott Shane, the A. Malachi Mixon III Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at the university’s Weatherhead School of Management. “What’s particularly valuable is the chance to work with a strong network of mentors and investors at an accelerator with a proven track record.”

$50,000 in prizes (and an invaluable opportunity)

gBETA is housed at CLEworx, a just-built co-working space near campus. It’s here that finalists will work with the gener8tor team and their network of mentors, corporate partners and investors for seven weeks in early 2020 to refine their business plans and pitches before the MPSC’s “Demo Day” in the spring.

During this event—the contest’s final round—six teams will take turns presenting to a panel of professional investors who will choose three winners; the first-prize team receives $25,000, second place $15,000 and third $10,000. Monetary prizes are provided by JumpStart Inc., a nationally recognized investing, entrepreneurial support and economic development organization based in Cleveland.

Yeu Patch and Boundary Labs (center) won third place at the second MPSC in May 2019

Last year, applications for the MPSC doubled—with 54 entrants—and organizers are looking for a similar leap in submissions by Nov. 22. The six finalists will be notified before the end of the fall semester.

In keeping with the educational aspects of the competition, initial screening of pitch decks is performed by students in Shane’s entrepreneurial finance class; each startup is scored according to an official contest rubric (PDF).

Now in its third year, the MPSC honors the memory of David Morgenthaler, who was among the most successful venture capitalists in U.S. history—serving as president, chairman or director of more than 30 companies and was among the earliest investors in Apple and Nextel.

New to Cleveland, gBETA has offered its programming in multiple U.S. cities and assisted such successful startups as The Lip Bar, Pinpoint Pharma, Third Space and dozens of others. Unlike similar services offering startup support, gBETA does not take equity stake in companies or ask teams to sign binding agreements.

For more information, contact Daniel Robison at