ASU Innovation Open
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ASU Innovation Open

The ASU Innovation Open is designed to fuel multidisciplinary teams of collegiate founders as they harness the power of entrepreneurship to tackle the world’s most challenging problems.

The Open values university-supported technologies and the scientists, artists, engineers, enterprisers, and designers who develop them.

The Open views collegiate entrepreneurs as elite athletes who must demonstrate perseverance, hustle, and teamwork to change the world.

But only one student-led enterprise can win it all – a $100,000.00 grand prize. Who will rise to the challenge?

The 2018 Open is powered by:



The 2018 Open is supported by:

Zero Mass
Hool Coury Law


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How the Open Works

The ASU Innovation Open welcomes all current university students hailing from all academic disciplines. The Open comprises four highly competitive phases and three judging rounds.

Eligibility screening period

All applicants must create a five minute video pitch and submit it via the ASU Open application portal. Applications for the 2018 ASU Open will be accepted until Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 11:59 PM MST.

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Video pitch Q+A telephone conference
Judging Round #1

At this stage of the competition, all eligible competitors will be evaluated by entrepreneur evaluators and up to 15 Semi-Finalists will recommended for advancement within the competition.

As part of the initial application, all competitors must sign up for a video pitch Q+A telephone conference slot on Sunday, October 29, 2017. All eligible applicants will be called at a selected time on this date to answer questions from a panel of evaluators about the submitted video pitch. Participation in this Q+A phone call about the submitted video pitch is required to advance to the subsequent stages of the Open.

Pitch Playoffs for Semi-Finalists
Judging Round #2

At this stage of the competition, up to 15 Semi-Finalist competitors will be evaluated by a panel of VIP judges. These judges will select up to 5 Finalists to advance within the competition.

The Pitch Playoffs for Semi-Finalists will take place at ASU SkySong in Scottsdale, Arizona on Saturday, December 16, 2017. Semi-Finalist competitors may participate in this judging round remotely or in person.

VIP Experience for the 5 Finalists

Two co-founders from each of the 5 Finalist ventures will be invited to attend an optional VIP experience at the VIP Weekend at Waste Management Phoenix Open.

ASU Innovation Open Demo Day
Judging Round #3

At this stage of the competition, Finalist competitors will be evaluated by Title- and Co-Sponsor judges. These judges will select one $100K Grand Prize winner and several other ancillary prize winners. Finalists will pitch and winners will be selected and announced on Friday, February 2, 2018 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Finalist competitors must participate in this judging round in person. Travel and accommodation expenses for Finalists will be subsidized by the ASU Open - Zero Mass Water Awards.


Who Should Compete?

The ASU Innovation Open is designed to challenge and advance university student innovators who aim to develop hard tech ventures. The ASUio provides critical venture mentorship and funding for student competitors who are launching a hardware enterprise within a wide variety of cutting-edge marketplaces including but not limited to hardware solutions, IoT and social enterprises with a focus on conscious capitalism.

Competitor Eligibility

  • A majority of each venture's membership and equity holders must be currently enrolled in an accredited university undergraduate or graduate program at the time of the ASU Innovation Open application deadline.

  • Participating ventures must meet the following criteria:
    • Have taken steps beyond ideation (e.g., market research, prototype/ website development, etc.
    • Have NOT obtained more than $1,000,000 in equity funding into the entity.​
  • Semi-finalist and Finalist ventures are required to send at least one team member to attend the pitch events in-person at their own expense (unless there are extenuating circumstances).

Competitor Recommendations

  • Multi-disciplinary teams that have two or more co-founders have a higher probability of success within the ASUio, as compared to solo applicant founders.  

  • Teams should have a balance of individuals with technical expertise and business or startup experience related to the commercialization opportunity associated with the technology.

  • Teams should try to include experienced entrepreneurs as members of the team.

  • The majority, if not the whole team, should try to participate in the pitch.

  • Regarding team formation, the ASUio is designed to:
    • Support new interdisciplinary startup management teams that form to create or commercialize technologies or novel innovations.
    • Possibly accommodate doctoral students, postdocs and junior faculty as members of the startup management teams if they are interested in an entrepreneurial career trajectory, rather than a research trajectory.
    • Possibly accommodate PI’s as advisors to the management teams, or as minority (< 40%) equity holders on the management teams.


How to Apply

Open competitors are invited to submit an initial application in the form of a 5 minute video pitch, accompanied by required venture and team contact information.

Initial Application Process

  • Competitors must address application content prompts within a 5 minute video.
  • Video production and submission instructions may be found here.

Initial Application Content Prompts

  1. Introduce the problem or opportunity as described by actual users or consumers within a specific business, home, or institutional setting.
  2. Describe or demonstrate your novel solution with a focus on how the product or service works in 3 steps or less.
  3. Describe the competitive landscape and your competitive advantage. What similar solutions or status quo behaviors currently exist? Why will customers/ users choose your solution over other options? Is your solution protected or protectable via a patent, trademark, etc.?
  4. Describe your current or planned business model. Who pays for your solution, how much, how often, and where do these transactions occur? In other words, describe your first sale or a typical sale.
  5. Introduce your team and key mentors with a focus on their extraordinary accomplishments and/or unique ninja skills. Why is your team uniquely qualified to bring this product or service to market?

In general, applicant venture concepts should align with Avnet’s and ASU’s commitment to empowering innovators harness technology and scalable business models to improve the world. This parameter is not intended to be overly restrictive and the competition judges will consider any concept that can be remotely tied to the technology industry or high growth models.  

Initial Application Disclaimer

By submitting an application to the ASU Innovation Open, each applicant agrees to the following conditions:

  1. It is the applicant’s responsibility to protect any highly confidential or trade secret information. The legal protection of the concepts submitted by the applicants to the competition is otherwise the sole responsibility of the applicants.
  2. All decisions made by the judges on all matters relating to ASU Innovation Open will be final and not open to appeal or negotiation.
  3. The ASU Innovation Open Advisory Council reserves the right to interpret these rules, and to alter, amend or change them, at its discretion.
  4. In consideration for the time, expertise and other resources of the ASU Innovation Open organizers, partners, judges, mentors and advisors and each of their respective directors, officers, partners, employees, consultants and agents (collectively “Representatives”), each applicant voluntarily releases ASU Innovation Open and each Representative from any liabilities, responsibilities, and accountabilities relating to or arising out of such Representative's participation in the ASU Innovation Open.


Apply to the Open

Applications for the 2018 ASU Open will be accepted until Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 11:59 PM MST.

Apply Now