Capital ideas – Competition draws MBA students from around the world with startup plans

Don’t take this contest too seriously, the judges said. Relax — have fun.

The advice, however futile, was meant to calm 20 graduate business students who were about to spend a lickety-split 90 seconds Thursday night explaining why their startups deserved millions of dollars in venture funding.

Twenty-one Bay Area venture capitalists, company executives and attorneys held court in a plush ballroom at the Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill, site of the "elevator pitch" portion of the University of San Francisco’s annual International Business Plan Competition.

Now in its seventh year, the contest has become a spotlight for bright ideas from leading MBA programs around the world, including Europe and India.

Jenny Strasburg, Chronicle Staff Writer

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