Decoding National Finals - Imagine Cup

The National Finals is primarily meant to identify the team that has the best chance of winning at the World Finals in Seattle – The mecca of software world. The competition at the World Finals is of a very high caliber. So your project truly needs to be world-class if you want to represent India. 

3 Tracks – 3 Winners - $50,000 at stake to turn your dream idea into reality!

Dream it! Build it! Live it! Imagine Cup!  

World Citizenship - Since inception of Imagine Cup 13 years ago, the vision has always been to find path breaking ideas of millennials and helping them in making a positive impact in this world through their application. By creating impressive new technology projects in fields such as health, education, and the environment these students have shown the world new ways to think and to change. The idea is simple – Change the world and there is nobody better than these youngsters to do it.

Two takeaways for National Finalists: Do you believe in your idea? Do you think it’s really revolutionary? Do you think it changes lives of people for better? If yes – then make sure your presentation also send the same message. Do user testing and include the feedback, learnings into your product.

Previous Winner Pitch:

Aww. I just love Eyeanemia and their amazing pitch. Great idea, Close to perfect execution and 86 live users. You can clearly see what it takes to win the Imagine Cup.


Innovation – As rightly mentioned on the website, Break the rules.  Nobody expected a 20 something undergrad to connect one fifth of the world through his dorm room and revolutionize the whole industry. As you all know, It was Mark Zuckerberg and he invented Facebook. You have the power to bring incredible, world-changing innovations which will certainly change our lives for better and we are here to help you achieve it. Imagine Cup can be a catalyst for you to turn your startup idea into reality. Social networks, music services, digital photography apps, gadgets and robotics – the list goes on.

Two takeaways for National Finalists: Innovation comes from inside and by understanding the root cause of problems. Think deep and think fast! Having copied idea doesn’t help. It isn’t a way to impress people. Make sure you refine your idea before the final pitch. Feel free to reach out to your mentors, friends or anyone whom you think - can be a perfect devil's advocate.

Previous Winners Pitch:

This pitch is so fantastic in terms of idea presentation, ideation, implementation and finally communicating the right message. Make sure you refine your pitch for National Finals beforehand and be ready for finale!


Games – What is better than gaming but the mantra should be – “Play to win”.  Today, great games come from anywhere and people play them everywhere. On their phones, on their computers, on their tablets, in their browser, with their friends, with anyone, with everyone. Powerful game engines and libraries are available for free so students can get started right away. May be the next Flappy Bird may come out of someone from your class or college. So – Just dream big and Play to win.

Two takeaways for National Finalists: People understand you're not an artist, and finish your work!  Having half-finished projects isn’t a way to impress people and that's esp. true for games.  Have a polished game and think about UX. That's what matters most to win the Finale and fly to Seattle :)

Previous Winners Pitch:

I just love the pitch of this team. The story-line, planning and concept – all of them are quite phenomenal and that’s what makes them stand-out. Now, you know the secret sauce to win in the games category. J

Some resourceful videos and tips:

  • How to give a Zen like presentation
  • Almost all the Imagine Cup finals and a lot of other videos to learn by watching them:
  • Include usage scenarios in your presentation and demos.
  • Conduct research about what solutions are already available in the problem space that you are addressing. Identify your project’s value proposition.
  • You will be evaluated on technical prowess as well as viability of getting the system deployed in real-life. Consider things like cost of implementation, training requirements, policy requirements etc.
  • Conduct system testing as well as user testing (with potential users of the system)
  • Practice your presentation in front of friends, teachers, mentors etc. Get someone to play the Devil’s Advocate and badger you with questions about why the solution that you propose will fail.
  • Try and get some “Wow-Factor” into your demo- something that will make the judges sit up and pay attention!

Key Points to Remember:

  • Carry your own equipment (including laptops, phones, Kinect sensors, Web Cams, power cords etc.) and softwars
  • Be Creative, Confident & Cheerful!


So - Until next time, That's all from my end. Looking forward for your tweets with comments and suggestions at and hope to see you at Imagine Cup finals :)