Latest Op Ed: 4 Lessons for Winning VC Funding
Many thanks to Fortune Magazine for publishing my latest Op Ed. An abstract is below & here’s the full text. Photo credit is by Thomas Trutschel — Photothek via Getty Images. In addition to the folks at Fortune, thanks to Jill Totenberg and Bruce Tucker for their assistance,
For entrepreneurs about to seek funding for their startups, there’s nothing like practicing their pitch to savvy MBA students playing the role of venture capitalists (VCs). That’s what real entrepreneurs do annually in University of North Carolina’s Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC). Student teams from business schools around the world compete to see which, in the view of the seasoned VC partners who act as judges, performs best on such VC skills as due diligence, deal negotiation, and investment decisions.
Although only one team will emerge the winner from among the 78 schools that began competing last September in 13 countries on three continents, everybody gains. The students learn what it will take to win funding for their own startups someday and what it’s like to work for a venture capital firm. The entrepreneurs hone their pitch and negotiation skills, learn what VCs expect of them, and get valuable feedback about their business models—more than 25% of the startups who present at VCIC go on to raise venture funding.
For three startups presenting at one of the U.S. regional contests, hosted by my school, Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, these lessons emerged most clearly from intense engagement with six well-prepared student teams.