A VC simulation like no other

Wednesday, April 7, 2021
by Sean M., AFM student

Leading the decisions

Throughout my university experience, I was exposed to a variety of learning environments from the classroom to co-op to the Student Venture Fund. In all these environments, I learned from my professors, faculty members, managers, and industry experts. At the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC), I was given the opportunity to learn by leading.

The uniqueness of VCIC lies in its structure that lets university students be venture capitalists (VC) for a day and drive important decisions. What the competition days looked like:

  • Day 1 – Due Diligence Day: We were given the pitch decks of three early-stage start-ups and we had that day to figure out where to do due diligence and how much to do.
  • Day 2 – Competition Day: On the competition day we are given the opportunity to talk to the company founders and ask important questions about their business to gauge its potential for investments. After completing the founders meeting, we pitched our recommendation to the judges.

In the three stages of the competition (due diligence, founders meeting, and partners meeting) we set the direction of how we wanted to conduct due diligence, we led the questions to the founders, and finally, we chose the company that was best positioned for investments to pitch to the judges. When you lead a project yourself, you are learning from a position of leadership instead of followership, which is key for any student who wants to be a business leader in the future. My team and I worked on all the aspects that go into an investment from market research to interviewing the founders to drafting seed-stage deal terms.

Sometimes when you are thrown into such an open-ended project, it is hard to know how to start. However, my team members and I had experience with the Student Venture Fund where we were able to get hands-on experience in venture capital. It bestowed upon us the technical and soft skills needed to succeed in a competition. In addition, we received invaluable support from our faculty mentors Frank Hayes, Mark Arnason, and Ranjini Jha as well as Waterloo alumni. VCIC has shown me to never diminish the opinions of others as their experience can be valuable and help put a team in the right direction and over the top.

The VCIC has been a rewarding experience filled with immense learning opportunities. We are now looking forward to competing at the Global Finals this April!