Back in 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin grabbed the attention of Andy Bechtolsheim, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems
That might be changing, though. A new promotion called "You Be the VC," lets you help determine the next big ideas in the business world.
The mastermind behind the idea is Mark Modzelewski, who operates Bang Ventures. He's accepting business plans through his website, and he's assembled a group of experts to sift through the candidates. The top 20 finalists will submit video pitches, and anybody can place a vote for the top three.
"Some people think that the idea is kind of crazy," Modzelewski said in an interview with the Fool. "What does the average person know about venture? Well, maybe a lot. Consider that [venture capitalists] have invested in such bad deals as Webvan and Pets.com."
The wining companies will get at least $100,000, as well as value-add services from business-advisory firm Deloitte & Touche, law firm Foley & Lardner, and others. Modzelewski sees it as a big victory for the companies and the venture-capital firms alike. "It's tough to get early-stage money as well as high-caliber services," he said. And normally, he added, "it's not economical for VC firms, which have hundreds of millions [of dollars], to spend time on these kinds of plays."
Other companies are launching similar contests of their own. For example, Amazon.com
If contests like this can help entrepreneurs, all the better. Just imagine if companies such as Starbucks
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Fool contributor Tom Taulli, author of The Complete M&A Handbook, does not own shares of companies mentioned in this article. He is currently ranked 5,691 out of more than 65,000 participants in Motley Fool CAPS.