Challenging Each Other and Competing Together at VCIC

Thursday, March 25, 2021
by Yigga Z., AFM student

The secret to having confidence on a national stage

Photo of Yigga
I feel like venture capital is essentially smart people trying to predict the future. And sometimes, when you’re surrounded by smart people, you can just feel that intensity.

Going into the undergraduate Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC), I was nervous. What if I wasn’t prepared enough? I mean, I was working in venture capital, was that enough? And then there was our team — I wanted us to work well.

Here were some snippets from a team discussion we had going into the homestretch of the competition:

“That won’t work.”

“Why not? The judges will think—”

“No, the judges will ask questions—”

“Like I said before, that—”

Luckily, by this point in working together, I was no longer worried.

“Let’s do this,” I interrupted (politely, of course). “We can do a bit of both. Lead with yours, then follow up with yours if they push back.”

I knew the nods were coming before I saw them. After all, we were nearing the finish line. We had worked hard researching three unfamiliar companies (read: much Googling, debating, and head-scratching). And we had just completed three back-to-back due diligence sessions (read: professional speed dating with start-up founders). We just had the partner presentation left.

The mood was intense, but could you blame us? We were a team of six from the University of Waterloo’s Student Venture Fund, meaning we all had early-stage investing experience. From there it diverged. Some of us had later-stage experience —having worked in growth equity and public markets. And others were highly involved in business-themed extracurriculars or were on a path to a dual accounting and finance specialization.

But right now, we were in that venture capitalist mindset and we were (and are) smart. And sometimes smart people can get intense. However, intensity, from what we know studying at the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF), isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I didn’t feel an ounce of doubt walking into the final partner meeting. I knew my team was there for me and me for them. We challenged each other, pushed each other, supported each other—and in the end, we won with each other!

This snapshot from our day at the VCIC captures why I applied to the competition. I wanted a challenge, and I was pleasantly surprised when I got what I asked for—from my teammates, no less! I’m looking forward to competing with them again at the Global Finals in April 2021, and I’m grateful for this opportunity. From me to you, I hope you’ll come to see how SAF programs can shape your future, too.