We wish we didn’t have to get all specific about rules, but in pursuit of transparency and fairness to everyone, we needed some rules for the competitors! So here they are:
The Rules of the CodeLaunch Startup Accelerator
1. A startup founder or group of founders and cofounders, and/or teammates who collectively represent a startup, who apply to a CodeLaunch event, will collectively be referred to as a “Competitor”, for the purposes of these rules.
2. You must treat all hackathon team members, competitors, judges, coaches, volunteers, and other people affiliated with or attending CodeLaunch, with respect and courtesy at all times. A
3. All content of a CodeLaunch application must be factual.
4. Competitor teams must follow CodeLaunch social media and stay up to date on current deadlines and dates relevant to each event, which can and often do change during an event cycle.
5. Applications that do not include a PDF or PowerPoint deck file, and/or do not include an additional set of Mock-Ups or Wireframes attached, may be disqualified.
6. CodeLaunch is best suited for startups that need progress on their technical product to accelerate. If your startup already has a product, that has organic customers actively using it, and you are generating at least $20,000 per month in revenue, then you are too far along to compete fairly in the spirit of CodeLaunch. If you are too far along but still could use some PR and support, we would be happy to offer you a complimentary exhibit space while such space lasts, at any one event. If you are “pivoting” your product and/or execution strategy, we may still consider your participation to be fair and allow you to compete but the discretion to allow that or not is ours alone.
7. Although CodeLaunch costs nothing to apply and CodeLaunch does not require founders to give up equity, we do require you to travel to our event if you become a finalist, at your own cost for travel. Even if you are an international applicant. Please do not apply if you already know this is an impossibility.
8. Competitors may not submit more than 3 unique concepts per event.
9. Competitors may apply to consecutive events or re-apply to future events if they did not advance as a finalist in any one event. However, once a Competitor has become a finalist, that Competitor is no longer eligible to apply to future CodeLaunch events on behalf of the same startup brand or concept.
10. Professional hackathon teams are limited to 4 people with hands-in-code at a time during the two-day hackathon session. However, Competitors may embed their own technical team members into their assigned hackathon team, in the event they become a finalist.
11. A Competitor that becomes a semi-finalist or finalist will be expected to promote the event and make a good-faith effort to share out discount codes to help elevate attendance and community engagement.
12. CodeLaunch pitches are always 5 minutes. Rehearse your pitch and know it lasts only 5 minutes. Small overruns are okay, but 6+ minutes is not okay.
13. Judges may be asked to give out a ‘judges choice’ award at any one event, but they do not determine the “Champion”. All of the attendees present may vote exactly once, which determines the “Champion” alone. CodeLaunch event production has no role in determining the winner.
14. CodeLaunch production staff will determine the run of show and order of pitches. We will never put the driest of pitch delivery teams first or last. If you want to be first or last you should endeavor to have some entertaining quality to your pitch delivery.
15. Details about the steps in the curation process can be found here.
16. Additional answers to commonly asked questions can be found here.
CodeLaunch Startup Accelerator is guided by the pillars of Conscious Capitalism. We endeavor to uplift all startups, big and small, new and mature, first-time entrepreneurs and serial, and all people from all walks of life, and from both places near and far away, because we believe entrepreneurism is good for the human spirit and uplifting for communities. We hope you enjoy the experience and get a lot out of it no matter how far along the process you advance. Thank you for your support!
What Does CodeLaunch Cost Founders?
CodeLaunch does not charge founders to apply nor do we take equity to compete in or win the competition. CodeLaunch believes technology consulting professionals can and should have an impactful role in our national startup ecosystem helping technology founders level up their product development, as an amenity, not as a fee-based service.
What’s the Curation Schedule?
Each CodeLaunch event has its own schedule. It starts with an application window, during which applications are accepted. Immediately after the deadline, the curation team will begin reviewing all applications.
Generally, the period between the initial application review and the finalists being announced is about 2 months. Finalists are announced 21 days ahead of the first travel day to the host city.
More details can be found on each event’s page, once active.
Is CodeLaunch right for my Startup?
Yes, as long as your startup is dependent on software development expertise to get to the MVP stage, and you are not already at the MVP stage. You must also already have a well developed Pitch Deck and UI/UX mockups. It helps to have a team as well, versus just a single founder and no team to help with execution.
CodeLaunch is mostly for pre-MVP software technology startups. If your business has reached MVP already you may still be eligible. Startups that cannot scale their post-MVP startup, raise money, or ever have a chance at an exit, without more product development are also eligible. An example of this was our 2018 winner KidStrong. They had a few brick and mortar stores and customers and their concept was well established. However they needed a smartphone app to extend their curriculum to the home to scale into offering the business as a franchise and raising money.
If your startup has raised money, your product is stable, you have customers, and revenue, you are probably not a fit for CodeLaunch.
What is required to apply?
All you need is a polished pitch deck in PDF format, and realistic looking mockups or polished UI/UX wireframes, representing what you want to build. CodeLaunch does not take money, or equity, from applicants.
How do I apply?
Each event’s detail page will automatically allow applications during the application acceptance window.
Can someone steal my idea?
We take protecting early stage startups ideas very seriously. This is why each CodeLaunch application comes with a built in mutual NDA. In the 8 years we produced CodeLaunch in DFW, we were never accused by anyone of sharing their ideas and not one startup’s idea was ever stolen or even borrowed from.
Each “Finalist” has to make a decision about how much or how little they want to share the “secret sauce” of their idea once on stage. We have learned that this concern is mostly exaggerated and more common among less experienced founders. However there are edge cases and sometimes holding a bit back may be the best course. It’s up to the founder to decide this, not CodeLaunch production teams.
Does CodeLaunch or its partners take or keep any IP from Finalists?
CodeLaunch dev-shop teams and professional hackathon partners do not take or keep any IP. All work product is provided to the finalists and owned by them.
CodeLaunch is awesome! How can I align my business and/or participate in the next CodeLaunch event?
CodeLaunch requires a healthy network of community partners, financial sponsors, and hackathon sponsors to be effective. A variety of relationships and sponsorships are always offered. For more information please contact email@example.com
How does CodeLaunch work?
We open the event with our Pitch Day competition where three competitors will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. After the winners are selected, the Startup Expo begins. At the Startup Expo, you can network with investors, venture capitalists, and the entrepreneurial community. Winners also have the potential to earn thousands of dollars in seed services. Learn more about the previous CodeLaunch winners and awarded seed services on our History Page.
What is Pitch Day and how does it work?
Competitors will present their ideas to a panel of judges during a five-minute pitch. After the presentations, the judges panel will engage in a Q&A session with each finalist. Afterwhich, the audience will then have the opportunity to vote for the winner via an SMS poll.
What is the Startup Expo and how does it work?
The Startup Expo is an event designed to get CodeLaunch attendees in front of investors, business owners, and entrepreneurial community. CodeLaunch sponsors will also have tables demonstrating the newest and hottest emerging technologies.
How are winners selected? What criteria are the presenters judged on?
After each finalist’s presentation and a brief Q&A session by the judges, the audience will have the opportunity to vote for the overall winner. Each finalist will receive a pro-hackathon in the days prior to the event but the overall winner will be eligible for more seed services from additional vendors. Finalists will be judged on financial potential, creativity, and concept feasibility. The audience votes for the winner via SMS.
Is there a virtual option at CodeLaunch events?
No. We believe our event has the most impact on the startups and the Startup Expo generates the most connections when it’s “in person”. Additionally, the startups sometime have concerns about their concept / idea getting out in the wild at this early stage.
What can I expect if I win?
Every CodeLaunch finalist has already won, whether they win the audience vote or not. The “winner” may be eligible for more seed services from some additional vendors. All finalists receive a professional hackathon in the days prior to the event and walk off the stage with that code and working product in hand – well equipped to gain interest and raise funding from angels, VCs, and others. All the CodeLaunch finalists are poised for success and ready for funding and the world’s best accelerators!