Proprietary Information

  • Submitting a plan to the SVBPC involves the disclosure of information. While some advisors, mentors, and judges will sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), most will not, because signing a NDA could hamper their ability to invest in a variety of businesses in the same industry and could possibly create false expectations for the SVBPC participants.
  • The advisors, mentors, and judges will be careful about using information obtained over the course of the SVBPC since misuse of the information could tarnish their professional reputations, but they are still not likely to sign a NDA. There is no requirement by the SVBPC organizers that anyone sign a NDA.
  • Participants should keep in mind the distinction between problems and solutions. For example, new technology is typically a solution to a problem.
  • If a participant does not want to reveal the problem his or her team proposes to solve, that perhaps is being too restrictive.  If no one knows that the problem exists, then there will be little interest in the proposed new venture. Thus when communicating in broad terms or in initial discussions, discussing the topic area and the problem that business plan addresses should not be considered disclosure of proprietary information.
  • What is unique is the solution (Value Proposition) a team offers, and we do suggest that participants take care in when discussing their unique solutions to problems that might be well known.
  • SVBPC participants are cautioned about including too much detailed proprietary information in their submissions. A balance should be found so that the appropriate amount of information is provided that creates excitement about the innovative idea and differentiates it from the competition without revealing too much proprietary information.
  • If a participating team feels that disclosure is a significant problem, a discussion with the SVBPC Director is encouraged so that a solution agreeable to all concerned can be obtained.