Monday, June 06, 2005

VCIC @ Stern!

I'm really excited - I found out on Friday that Stern will be the host of the Northeast Regional for the 2006 Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) on March 9-11th, 2006. I'll be organizing the regional, and even though it's almost a year away, there's a lot to be done by then.

The VCIC is basically the exact opposite of your standard business plan competition. Instead of student teams coming up with business plans and pitching them, the student teams play the roles of Venture Capitalists instead. The night before the competition begins, each team is given 4-5 business plans from real-life entrepreneurs. They then have twelve frantic, caffeine-laced hours to do all the background research they can on the various plans.

The next day, all of the teams have a chance to listen to the entrepreneurs give their funding pitches, and get a few minutes for Q&A. Then, there's another long night, as the teams do as much due diligence as they can. They also have to come to a decision on which opportunities they would fund. Finally, for those they would fund, they have to create term sheets.

The next day, the teams have to present their funding decisions and term sheets to the panel of VC judges. These judges examine the teams' rationale, as well as the final term sheets to award a winner. The entrepreneur's also vote for the team they felt asked the best questions.

Needless to say, a competition such as this relies a lot on the judges and entrepreneurs that are involved. The judges listen to the entrepreneur presentations, monitor the Q&A sessions, and evaluate the final team presentations. They also provide feedback to the entrepreneurs and the teams. This feedback is just as important as their actual judging role.

It's also critical to get a good cross section of companies, from different stages and industries. More importantly however, the companies need to be well developed concepts. The more refined a plan, the easier it is to differentiate between the teams that evaluate it.

What's in it for the judges and entrepreneurs? For the entrepreneurs, it's a chance to present in front of several accomplished venture capitalists, and to get more feedback than typical. Several companies have gone on to get significant funding after presenting at a VCIC.

For the judges, its a chance to see several new companies, most of which will have been referred by one of their colleagues. More than anything though, they get the opportunity to mentor and guide several of the brightest business school students interested in their industry.

If you would be interested in being a presenting company or judge, or would like more information on the competition, please email me at kbd222 at stern dot nyu dot edu.