Booth Students Venture for Success
By Whitney Morgan '14 | january, 2013, Issue 2
Winning team "River North Venture Partners" with Prof Scott Meadow (Courtesy of the Polsky Center)
Chicago Booth showcased the 2013 Venture Capital Investment Thesis Competition (VCIC) on Jan. 18 – but the competition began way before that. Two nights prior, all eight VCIC teams received the business plans of four companies that are currently seeking venture funding. The teams spent the remaining time combing through the business plans, doing diligence on the companies, industries, and competitors, and preparing the deal structure and term sheet for the one company they considered most promising.
Companies represented included Rentalutions, a rental management system for do-it-yourself landlords; Quantitative Insights, a software that increases the accuracy of diagnosis of breast cancer by radiologists; Advocate Financial Solutions, a worker's compensation claims financial services and consulting firm; and LiBroFlo, a lithium bromine flow battery energy storage system.
On the day of the competition, the teams gathered early in the morning to hear each entrepreneur give a live pitch. The teams then met one-on-one with each entrepreneur for a Q&A session, giving them an opportunity to better understand the specifics of the business. These often became insightful sessions, swaying at least one team to switch the entrepreneur they would invest in midday. Finally, after hours of discussion, the teams debriefed to finalize the terms and structure of the deal they would offer their chosen entrepreneur.
The culmination of the competition was the judging. Teams took the hot seat to negotiate with the entrepreneur in whom they had chosen to invest while the judges watched, evaluated, questioned and critiqued the performance.
The judges consisted of experienced members of the VC community, including Scott Meadow, Chicago Booth's own clinical professor of entrepreneurship, who helps put on the competition each year.
Participant Reactions: "As I am very interested in joining a startup after Booth, VCIC truly provided an eye-opening experiences in my future preparation of negotiating with venture capitalists. Not only do I have more technical understanding of the overall term sheet and each important sections, but I also understand what venture capitalists look for in an entrepreneur that lead to their ultimate decision to fund a venture. This is an opportunity of a lifetime to a Booth student!" – Sam Kwei
"In summary, the most valuable part of the VCIC was the Q&A discussion with the judge panel, who asked a series of penetrating questions to the competitors. After a few rounds of Q&A, there was a pattern in the judges' questioning and analysis, what excited them and what triggered reservations. That'll be great information to have going into the next VCIC." – Mihail Ivanov
First Place: River North Venture Partners with Raph Mannino, Ian Connell, Garrett Monda, Katie Ossman, Ankit Patel, Suraj Patel, and Matt Tsiang
Second Place: Zebra Capital with Ross Russo, Alex Makhotin, Brian Vanderheyden, Alexis Ji, Whitney Morgan, Claire Tramm, and Diana Zink
Third Place: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained with David Osei, Stephen Cho, Benjamin Mactiernan, Mihail Ivanov, Zach Wood, Joanne Chen, and Albert Wong
Entrepreneur's Choice: White Oak Venture Partners with Webb Brown, Will Gano, Fred Greene, Dan Kapnick, Rob Mazzoni, Lu Walker, and Harrison Wheaton