Apply to Pennvention

Pennvention 2020 First Round Application

Past Winners

Congratulations to Aerate for winning first place last year!

2019 Winners
2019 Judges

Pennvention FAQ

What is Pennvention?

Pennvention is Penn’s premier tech innovation competition held each spring since its inaugural event in 2005 and prides itself on being the sole entrepreneurship competition for Penn students with a primary focus on the technological innovation. Over the course of the competition, competitors will pitch their idea, develop an MVP or a new product feature, receive help from outstanding mentors, and potentially win over $20,000 in prizes.

How does Pennvention work?

The competition itself spans from February till April. First round applications are typically due by mid-February, where teams are expected to submit a five-slide deck. A select number of teams will be selected as semifinalists and paired with mentors by need and expertise as well as provided with special workshops and development resources from the Weiss Tech House. Semifinalists will then have several weeks to develop or improve their product and submit a five-minute video pitch by mid-March. Eight finalists will then be chosen to pitch live “shark-tank style” to a panel of esteemed judges in early April and winners will be announced the night of the final round that will be open to the general public.

Who can apply to Pennvention?

Pennvention is open to any teams that have at least one currently enrolled and full-time Penn undergraduate or graduate student in any school and discipline. Unfortunately, teams that do not satisfy this requirement will not be considered to move on past the first round.

I just applied to the Wharton Startup Challenge. Can I submit my idea to Pennvention as well?

Of course! We’re always looking to see more ideas from Penn’s entrepreneurial community. However, keep in mind that this is not your typical business plan competition. Your team’s idea or product must have some sort of technical innovation that has not been widely implemented in existing products – business model innovations are certainly encouraged as well – or your submission won’t be considered for subsequent rounds of Pennvention.

I hacked together an amazing app at PennApps! Can I submit it to Pennvention?

Pennvention welcomes any software-based project (web, mobile, etc.), but note that this is not a hackathon. You won’t be judged on how you creatively used a bunch of APIs and developer tools, but rather on if your app has some kind of innovation that can’t be easily duplicated and integrated elsewhere. For example, do you use a unique algorithm or integrate hardware into your app? Or maybe your app is an analytics-based platform that has a new method of analyzing data? In addition, you should ask yourself is this an app that consumers or businesses would use and have a purpose for – is there a market need?

I noticed the past winners tend to be hardware-based. Am I at a disadvantage if my product is not?

Nope! We’ve had plenty of finalists who did not have a hardware-based product. Pennvention has received many submissions over the years from varying areas including software, hardware, biotech, energy, consumer retail, and more. Again, your project will be reviewed on the merit of the innovation and not the category.

My idea is for social impact and not for-profit. Will my submission even be considered?

Yes! Pennvention has accepted non-profit ideas in the past, some which have done quite well in the competition along with the for-profit projects. However, because your project does not have a profitable business model, you must explain how your idea will be sustainable and scalable in order to advance.

What should I do if I have additional questions?

Shoot us an email at and we’ll get back to you as soon we can!