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        The Tiger Cage


        Tiger Cage logo

        The Tiger Cage Business Idea Competition is held annually to identify and support innovative early stage product or services ideas created by Auburn University and Auburn University- Montgomery students.

        Tiger Cage 2021

        Four student teams, StalLock (Chase Maasdorp and Wynn Gamble), Dead Bird (Mitch Owens), KultureXchange (MaKayla Smith) and Vulcan Line Tools (Zac Young), will vie for a share of more than $50,000 in startup capital on Friday, March 26, in the Tiger Cage Business Idea Competition Finals. The virtual event, which can be viewed remotely, kicks off at 9 a.m. CDT and is expected to conclude at noon with an awards announcement. Good luck to this year’s finalists!

        Enter the Tiger Cage

        • If you have an idea for a new business venture and are looking for an opportunity to secure early-stage seed funding to incubate your idea, this program is designed for you. You will have the opportunity to describe your new venture idea, pitch it to a seasoned group of judges and potentially win startup capital that will help jump-start your business.
        • Students will compete for a share of $50,000 in startup capital funded by the Harbert College of Business, other services in kind, and a $2,500 special category award sponsored by the College of Engineering’s Thomas Walter Center for Technology Management.
        • Competing teams will have access to mentorship from the Auburn family of business professionals and successful entrepreneurs as well as the Horton Hardgrave Hall Innovation Lab.

        Student workspace is available in the Horton-Hardgrave Hall Innovation Lab (Room 012) and the Tiger Cage Incubator-Accelerator located in the Auburn Research Park, Suite 103, 570 Devall Drive.

        Submission is closed for this session.  

        It's easy to apply!


        Along with a great idea, all you need is:

        • A 250-word summary of your business idea (PDF format). This will be used to introduce the judges to your business concept. Clearly state the problem or need you are addressing, your product or services solution, the market opportunity, and your go-to-market strategy.
        • A one-page Business Model Canvas that describes your business model (PDF format). You can find the template and additional information at
        • Three PowerPoint slides that aid in describing your business idea. They should be designed to interest a panel of angel investors, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and experts experienced in business development and funding.  Your goal is for them to see the market potential of your idea and want to learn more.
        • A video, up to three minutes in length describing your business idea, your business model, and the problem it is designed to solve (mp4 format).

        A series of workshops, conducted by Auburn faculty, staff, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and other guest speakers, will be offered to assist students in preparing to compete in the event.  Students will also have the ability to schedule individual coaching and mentoring sessions.

        Register Today

        Tiger Cage Rounds

        Tiger Cage competitions are often broken into several rounds to allow judges plenty of opportunity to award the best ideas. Check out the details below for more information. 

        • Tiger Cage Round One
          An independent panel of judges will review the submissions and select the top twenty teams or individuals to advance to the quarter-final round.  Selected teams, and teams that did not advance, will have the opportunity to participate in a series of mentoring and coaching sessions on business plan development and effectively presenting your business idea to potential investors.
        • Tiger Cage Quarter-Final Round: Friday, January 29, 2021

          Each of the top twenty teams or individuals selected from the online submissions will deliver a business plan pitch over Zoom to a group of judges with significant experience in business formation and funding.  The presentation environment is designed to simulate a typical (COVID-19-environment) pitch to an angel investor or venture capital firm.  Teams will prepare a PowerPoint presentation to aid in communicating their new venture idea during their presentation.

          • Each team will have up to 10 minutes (5 minutes for their presentation and 5 minutes for questions from the judges.)
          • Judges will select the top eight teams to advance to the Tiger Cage Semi Final Round.
        • Tiger Cage Semi-Final Round: Friday, February 26, 2021

          Judges will select the top four teams to advance to the Tiger Cage Final Round.

          Depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, presenters will either pitch over Zoom or face-to-face with the judges.

        • Tiger Cage Finals

          This is a public event held at a location to be announced.

          Depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, presentations will either be over Zoom or face-to-face with the judges.

        Eligibility and Guidelines

        1. Individuals and teams of up to six Auburn or Auburn University—Montgomery (AUM) students are eligible to enter. This is a competition for Auburn University and AUM undergraduate and graduate students on-campus and online.  Auburn and AUM students enrolled in Fall Semester 2020 classes from any school, college, or academic department can participate.  Students planning to graduate at the end of the Fall 2020 semester may participate.
        2. An active student, or Fall 2020 semester graduate, must lead the team but recent Auburn alumni (within one year of graduation) are permitted to join teams.
        3. It is strongly encouraged that teams be inter-disciplinary and consist of a minimum of three members.
        4. Teams that have received prior outside investment from venture capital firms, private investors, or industry sources are not eligible to compete. Teams that have received family or friends and family investments up to $25,000 are eligible to compete.
        5. Previous Tiger Cage finalists are not eligible to compete.
        6. All entry materials will be treated as company confidential. The only individuals with access to the entry materials will be judges and members of the organizing committee.  No other or special provisions are made to protect intellectual property.
        7. Startup capital awards will be granted only to seed the startup of the submitted idea and will be paid out in stages according to mutually agreed upon milestones and proper documentation. No substitutions are allowed without the approval of the Director of Entrepreneurship Strategy.
        8. The Harbert College of Business reserves the right to disqualify, at its sole discretion, any team from the competition at any time, for any reason. Reason for disqualification include, but are not limited to, plagiarism and any other form of academic dishonesty, misrepresentation, misappropriation or infringement of the intellectual property of others as well as any failure to comply with these guidelines.  Disqualified teams shall forfeit any and all awards and other benefits.
        9. Only one submission per student team is permitted.
        10. Students’ behavior throughout the competition should be consistent with the values embodied in the Auburn Creed.

        Contact Us

        Have questions about the Tiger Cage competitions? We can help.

        Lou Bifano

        Lou Bifano

        Director of Entrepreneurship Strategy