On Saturday September 27, 2014, the StartupHoyas of Georgetown hosted an all-day competition for Georgetown students called the Venture Capitalist Investment Competition. The winning team of VCIC now has the chance to compete at Nationals. Presented with two existing startup companies, the participating teams pulled from their understanding of entrepreneurial success to determine which company posed the more lucrative investment. Their judgment was put to the test during the following question and answer segment facilitated by a panel of venture capitalist judges.
Evan Zimmet, MSB ’17 and a member of the Content Management and VCIC Events team in Startup Hoyas, “wanted students to have an enriching experience and learn how to think like a venture capitalist for a day” through their participation in VCIC. Recognizing that “many entrepreneurs don’t get the chance to hear the other side of the story,” Evan believes this competition “allowed [the participants] to hear the other side of the story and become better entrepreneurs.”
James Lee, a MSB alum from the class of ’13, and Tammy Cho, a current Georgetown student in the MSB, are the creators of Encorealert, one of the two startups presented to the VCIC teams. During the interview period the VCIC teams were given to ask the startups questions before being confronted by the judges, James and Tammy agreed that the questions the Georgetown students asked about Encorealert were very similar in scope to questions they received from actual venture capitalists. James noted that it was “impressive to see the undergrads’ grasp of what is important in valuating companies,” and Tammy, also a member of the winning team that went to Nationals in last year’s VCIC, praised the teams’ performance, considering their lack of coaching before going into the competition. The judges were equally impressed by the Georgetown students, claiming that the students “knew way more than [the judges] knew when [they] were sitting across the table.”
The Venture Capitalist Investment Competition gave Georgetown students a chance to compete against a group of their peers and practice thinking under pressure. But more importantly, it became a unique learning opportunity for the students, especially those with their own entrepreneurial aspirations. Ari Pena, a senior in the MSB, currently interns for a startup in the process of closing out their second investment round. He said that this competition, by putting them in the shoes of venture capitalists, allowed them to explore entrepreneurship from the opposite point of view.