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Team’s Nose for Details Leads to Win in Venture Capital Competition

Using the business expertise they brought to the GSB, students on the Midway Venture Partners team were able to detect an untapped market for an entrepreneur and create a business plan that won them first place in the third annual Glencoe Capital Venture Capital Investment Competition January 26 at the Hyde Park Center.

With experience in corporate and investment banking, consulting, technology and entrepreneurship, and medical devices, second-year students Imran Mohiuddin, Sam Kruger, Mark Buchanan, and Jason Starr, perceived a large untapped market for a medical device proposed for ophthalmologists and optometrists.

“We felt there was an additional opportunity that wasn’t even recognized in the business plan,” Kruger said. “When the entrepreneur said, ‘This is as easy as taking somebody’s temperature,’ we knew there was a whole market out there—primary care physicians—that was untapped. That means this plan has a ton of potential.”

In the annual contest, students acting as mock venture firms hear pitches from actual CEOs and evaluate real business plans. Team members perform due diligence, draft investment memos, and present their proposed investment to a panel of judges who work as venture capitalists.

Mohiuddin said the team members used their past expertise to pick out very important parts, then got to the heart of the matter. Kruger added, “It was critical to be successful as a panel to delegate different responsibilities and trust that everybody was going to come through with their piece. As the actual presentation came together, it was clear that everybody had come through with what they had promised.”

The team enjoyed the “camaraderie” during the competition and looks forward to representing the GSB in the national competition, Buchanan said. “There were a number of questions we were anticipating and were very well prepared for,” Starr said. “Then you realize you can never be 100 percent prepared. There were a couple of questions that were curveballs to us, so it just goes to show you have to be prepared for anything. We did our best to respond to them and I think we did a pretty good job.”

The initial 17 GSB team applicants were narrowed to seven instead of the planned six, because the field was so strong this year, said Scott Meadow, clinical professor of entrepreneurship and faculty advisor to the event. “I was very gratified by the quality of the work that we turned out. There were 17 outstanding teams and any one of them could have been in the competition at another school.”

The event was organized by the student led Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, and Private Equity Group, the alumni-led Chicago Private Equity Network, and the Michael P. Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship.

Update - The team took first place in the central regional VCIC tournament in February at the University of Colorado, and will compete in the international finals in April.

—Phil Rockrohr