Trying to decide whether to apply: Is this a viable case for Exceptional Talent?

Hi everyone.

I recently came across GTV and think it could be a good opportunity for me. However, as I’m getting ready for the application, I have a growing worry that my case may be too weak.

I have learned a good deal from this forum, so I’m posting my background and all pieces of evidence below. Any comment/advice is greatly appreciated!

I live in the US. I hold a CS PhD and have 10+ years of work experience. I have worked only one job in the past 5 years: I joined a startup in the autonomous driving space in 2016 as a founding engineer. The startup grew to 260 people and was acquired by a top AI company in 2021. I was VP of engineering at the time of acquisition.

After 2021, I took a break from my career till now. I have nothing to say for the past two years except for a few undergrad/graduate-level guest lectures and paper reviews for CS conferences and journals.

I did publish 10+ patents during my startup time. They certainly made a big difference in the valuation (or even life and death) of the company. The problem is, I had zero media coverage.

Here is my list of evidence and my plan on how to use them:


  1. A list of 3-4 patents
  2. Appreciation letters from guest lectures
  3. Invitations to paper reviews


  1. A list of 3-4 patents
  2. A letter from previous colleague to assert the innovative nature of the above patents


  1. A list of 3-4 patents
  2. A letter from previous colleague to assert the business impact of the above patents
  3. High salary

For LoRs, I plan to get the C-level people of my previous startup to talk about my leadership and expertise, but the context would be within the company. Optionally, I could get one from my PhD advisor (who knows my startup work via the guest lecture in the past 5 years) to support me from a different angle.

@Francisca_Chiedu @Afolabi @alexnk @mojisolao @May @tundeph @ask4jubad and others: Really appreciate your time and any comment/advice.

I think you stand a good chance but you need to put your evidence in the right criteria and also explore other evidence that are currently not on the list. You evidence are mainly patents, you need to think of a diverse pool to show you meet the criteria.

As for the Patent, is your name? I think you should not list the Patents. Each patent is a unique evidence. Tech Nation’s recent update states you have to provide at least 2 unique evidence in each criteria.

Appreciation letters from guest lectures may not be sufficient, you need to show evidence of you speaking and with over 100 people in attendance. Also some assessor may say the University lectures are not sector leading event but some may consider it based on the quality or how your evidence.

As for invitation for paper Review, it may not be sufficient, you need to show that beyond the invitation letter, you actually did the reviews. Show evidence of appreciation letters confirming your reviews .

For OC1, I think evidence of the patent different from the mandatory criteria and detailed letter from your colleagues attesting to your innovation is fine.

Since you have a PhD, you should consider using OC4. Is your PhD research older than 5 years? If you have research done with the last five years, then this may give you additional unique evidence different from the patents.

As for your recommendation letters don’t use only people from the same Startup, you can also get your PhD professor or other leaders your know in the field to write.


Thanks a lot @Francisca_Chiedu for the detailed input!

Yes my name is on all the patents. Good to know that I should list them separately.

The guest lectures are indeed weak evidence. As you said, They are not sector leading events and the audience is not over 100 people. They did allow my PhD advisor to know my recent work so she could potentially provide an LoR, giving some diversity to my LoRs.

My PhD is unfortunately more than 5 years ago, so I cannot use my research to claim OC4.

1 Like

Ok. You can use your reviews if they are within 5 years, using mostly patent as evidence may weaken your applicationm

1 Like

Hi @galabing,

Francisca has said the most.

Just as a further input.

MC2 - include the invitation to lecture in addition to the appreciation letters
MC3 - include the after-review confirmations/appreciation letters (some even have badges)
MC4 - PhD Advisor letter should count for something.

OC1-3 - you may include self-reported evidence of your contributions to the innovation

OC3-4 - you may include news details of the purchase of the company.


Thanks a lot for your input @ask4jubad. I think I’ll ask my PhD advisor to write one of the 3 LoRs to support MC. Regarding OC3-4, there was indeed coverage on major news but none mentioned my name.

A question about the timing of paper reviews: It happened recently. I read on TN that papers and patents too close to application will not be accepted. Does this rule apply to all evidence, in which case I should wait?

1 Like

I don’t think you should have a problem with the recent dates relating to the patents. As far as I know, getting patents take a long time. So you only need to show that you had been in the process a while back until you got it approved recently.

This ought to be the case for the review as well especially if you have a history of writing reviews. In that case, you wouldn’t only mention a recent review that you had just done, rather you would showcase multiple reviews indicating historical involvement as a “peer”-reviewer.

1 Like

Makes sense. Thanks for the clarification!

1 Like