Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Venture Capital Investment Competition

By Damon Yousefy, JD/MBA

The Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) is a global competition that involves 60 top ranked MBA teams from 3 continents. The competing MBA programs must:
·         Review real start-up business plans
·         Conduct due diligence with entrepreneurs
·         Write term sheets and executive summaries for their chosen investment
·         Negotiate with the entrepreneur in front of judges and a live audience
·         Answer judges’ questions about their strategy and assumptions

This year, Indiana sent a team of 4 JD/MBA dual degree students and one law student to the VCIC Regional Finals in Toronto at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Indiana faced teams from Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Michigan, and Rochester in the regional final.

Me at the VCIC International Championship
Team Indiana came prepared against this formidable list of rival MBA programs thanks to courses and coaching from Professor David Haeberle, Professor Dave Greene, and Professor Mark Need. Mark Need was our coach and he traveled with us and gave us helpful advice on how to handle the competition as well as best practices from prior years. David Haeberle’s Venture Finance class gave me the financial tools we needed to break down the value of startups, and his models are unique because a discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis is useless when evaluating startups. Dave Greene’s M&A class gave me a chance to simulate a real acquisition from drafting term sheets to negotiating the final deal.

The team put me in charge of the financial calculations, term sheet, and negotiation because of the skills I have gained from the aforementioned courses. After the judges had a chance to deliberate, we were crowned champions of the VCIC Northeast Regional Finals and awarded a check for $1,500.

Winning the Northeast Regional Finals punched our ticket to the VCIC International Finals at UNC’s campus in Chapel Hill. Ten schools from 3 continents advanced to the International Finals. The first day of the competition was due diligence, and the sessions were held at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, a new startup incubator. After the due diligence sessions, the advancing teams were announced.

Indiana made the final round and we had to prepare for the negotiation and live Q&A with the judges. After all the teams finished presenting, we were ushered outside UNC’s business school for celebratory drinks and food prior to the announcement of winners. While a 4th place finish was disappointing for us, it proved that Indiana’s MBAs can hold their own against top schools from around the world.
Brandon Benjamin (4th year JD/MBA), Nathan Chun (3rd year JD/MBA), Eli Stoughton (3rd year JD), Jorge Alvarez (3rd year JD/MBA), Damon Yousefy (4th year JD/MBA)


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