The informal event started with Professor Bryant presenting a proposal for a new technology start-up. His five minute pitch was based on the same one that he had given to venture capitalists a few years earlier, when the professor was involved in a similar company’s first rounds of fund raising. Students were then given a list of “further questions” that the VC board wanted answering before they would consider any investment.
Students broke out into small groups and each had 20 minutes to come up with a follow-up presentation aimed at addressing some of the VC’s concerns. With their game plans sketched out, each team took it in turns stepping into the fire and doing their best to fend off the objections raised by the fictional VC panel – no easy task! The event, as well as being lots of fun, was a great way to see how the minds of venture capitalists work when considering an investment in a start-up. A great way for the club to start the year!
Key Event Teachings
· Be realistic as well as optimistic, when deciding whether VC investment is right for you.
· Do your homework about an investor’s priorities, goals and decision process.
· Put yourself into the investors’ shoes, and try to see the opportunity from their perspective.
· Prepare strategies to resolve issues and respond to questions about your proposal.