The Great British Startups Cup: The Rules

Every major tournament has strict rules and this one’s no different. Find out how our 32 brilliant start-ups will be judged

Months of arduous qualifying rounds have been skipped and we’ve chosen 32 great British start-up teams to represent 8 different sector-based groups.

We’ll have highly qualified referees for each group, who with their extensive knowledge and feel for great start-ups will decide which teams make it through to the knock-out stages.

How will the start-up teams be judged?

Each team has a scorecard for referees to use and judge their business against the teams in their group. These scores will apply to all the teams’ matches throughout the tournament.

Each scorecard will be assessed using the information provided and what is in evidence online before scoring teams out of 5 for each aspect. And to make sure every start-up has at least a chance of winning, the initial scores will not be based on how big and successful those teams are in a business sense.

The referee (or referees) will have the sole responsibility for judging each team’s scores and their decisions on the results of the matches are final. Remember, it’s all a bit of fun – with a bit of spice to make it interesting!

What does this mean in practice?

The group stage will take scores from #1-3 (see below). The round of 16 will add #4’s score. Quarter-finals will add #5’s score. Semi-finals will add #6’s score. And the final will add #7’s score. We’ll also have a Sudden Death Decider score to separate companies that tie.

Referees will score each team on the following (out of 5 each time):

  1. Company name – originality, relevance, does what it says on the tin, how memorable, URL
  2. Website – look and feel, usability, functionality, multi-media, interactivity (live chat etc), testimonials, imagery
  3. Elevator pitch – the one-liner on their site that describes what they do
  4. Social presence – engagement, followers, platforms used, personality, innovation
  5. Squad size – number of employees, economic impact
  6. Business model – uniqueness, viability, sustainability
  7. Financials – bearing in mind the age of the company, turnover
  8. Sudden Death Decider – a score for potential based on global growth, turnover, employment, sustainability

This way – as with the football World Cup – there may be some surprise packages that make it out of the group stages (as well as ‘shocks’ with big teams going out early).

When is the Great British Startups Cup taking place?

The tournament will coincide with the football World Cup taking place in Brazil this summer.

Next week the competition will kick off, with the results of our first group games announced on The winner and runner-up of each group will go through to the next round.

For 8 working days we will announce the results of the remaining 7 groups, before the knock-out stages begin for our last 16 in late June. The Quarter-finals will take place in early July, followed by the Semi-finals, Third-place play-off, and Final on Friday 11th July.

Where will I see the Great British Startups Cup?

We announce our contenders imminently and right through to mid-July, we’ll be covering the Great British Startups Cup in glorious Technicolor.

Right from the introductions to our final 32 and the referees through to the results of each round up to the Final, we’ll have it all here on and on Twitter @startupstowers.

We can’t wait!


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