Apply for $1,000 in seed funding for your startup.

Awards are directed to student entrepreneurs to defray the initial costs of founding a business.


Are you eligible? 

  • Current Washington University junior or senior undergraduate or graduate student
  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • 25 percent or higher ownership of a startup venture

If you meet the criteria above, upload a PowerPoint pitch deck (see contents below) to the Box Folder linked below. Please save your PowerPoint Pitch deck as “yourcompanyname-pitch.”

Pitch Deck Presentation

Pitch deck contents should include concept overview, founding team info, articulation of personal commitment, capital raised/spent to date, timeline, and strategy for developing the product and business to at least the point of being market-ready.

The pitch is not an investment offering and while it is expected to contain financial projections and strategies, it should not contain a pitch for equity investment.

After you apply, you will be invited to present a professional-quality pitch to one of the three fund directors (Cliff Holekamp, Elise Miller Hoffman, or Doug Villhard). If the deck or presentation falls short of expectations, you will be given feedback and the opportunity to pitch again.

Award Approval

Once all application requirements are met, the three directors will vote to approve the awards on a rolling basis throughout the year until funds run out. Awards are made to the students, not to the business entities.

Once approved the applicant must provide the following documents to actually collect the prize: a completed application, a Crunchbase profile link, an LLC (or other corporate entity) certificate, Skandalaris Ideabounce® Submission, and a non-binding philanthropic pledge (of any amount) to WashU Olin or to the Holekamp Seed Fund in future years.

Applications won’t be judged on the potential long-term viability of the idea, but rather on how passionate the student is about pursuing the opportunity. Concepts the directors deem might have a negative impact on the community will be denied.