Frequently Asked Questions


What is the PCV Prize?

The PCV Prize is a new annual competition where student teams can pitch a climate tech startup concept for a chance at place awards and VC introductions, as well as mentorship and publicity opportunities.

Why are you holding the PCV Prize?

To spur climate innovation, we need more human capital going into the space. The PCV Prize serves as a hands-on testing ground for students to dive into climate tech. 

How do I participate?

1. Register as an individual to attend speaker events and get updates on everything related to the PCV Prize. (Due 4/5 @ 11:59 PM ET)
2. Register your team (Due 4/5 at 11:59 PM ET)
3. Put together your deck, record a 5-minute pitch, and then submit your first-round pitch! (Due 4/16 at 11:59 PM ET)

Can I attend speaker events without competing?

Yes! Our panels and events are open to the public. If you want to attend, make sure to fill out the individual conference registration form! There will be a checkbox list with all the events.

Competition Eligibility

What if I don't have a team?

No worries! We're holding a team formation event directly after our opening keynote. Make sure to register as an individual if you are interested in finding a team through this event. Students do not have to be US citizens and non-Penn students do not need to be studying at US colleges or universities.

I'm working on a startup, but some team members have already graduated. Does every member of my startup’s team need to be a student?

Nope! It’s perfectly fine if you have non-students in your startup. However, only students are allowed to compete in the PCV Prize, so only they can register and pitch.

Furthermore, if you are an incorporated startup, at least one of the students presenting must be an owner / managing member listed in the articles of incorporation. No interns presenting for established companies :).

Can I apply without prior experience with tech or startups?

Definitely! We strongly encourage anyone interested in the entrepreneurship or climate action to apply. There are no requirements for what a successful PCV Prize team will look like, and we will be hosting workshops to help teams build and strengthen their startup ideas.

Competition Logistics

Are the first-round supplemental materials really optional?

Yup! There aren't any bonus points in our rubric for supplemental materials.

Rubric? What's in your rubric?

For first-round submissions, our rubric is focused on technical feasibility, potential environmental impact, and financial viability. If you pitch a technical moonshot, prove to us that you can make it work.

Which teams will make it to the final round?

The top two teams from each track will be given the opportunity to pitch in the final round for a shot at the first, second, and third place prizes. That's 10 teams: 8 rockstar University teams and 2 standout High School teams. 

When is the final round pitch?

Final pitches happen during our closing ceremony on Saturday, April 24th. Come hang!