Venturing out to win first place at VCIC

Friday, March 19, 2021
by Tony S., CFM student

Experiences from an unusual Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC)

Earlier this month, I was fortunate enough to participate in the Canadian Venture Capital Investment Competition as part of the University of Waterloo’s undergraduate team. While the event is usually held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, it was moved to a virtual setting because of the global pandemic. This presented a new set of challenges for us to face and overcome. Fortunately, our teamwork, diversity of experiences, and strong support from faculty and alumni allowed us to deliver a compelling pitch and ultimately emerge victorious.

As the pandemic drags on, the ability to work collaboratively (even when socially distanced) has become more important than ever. Fortunately, our team benefited from shared experiences that allowed us to do collaborate effectively. As previous members of the Student Venture Fund (SVF), we had worked with each other on real venture capital transactions. Furthermore, this enhanced the team’s chemistry, making it easier to support and challenge each other.

Competitions like VCIC where we were acting as VCs for the day required a wide variety of skillsets. Through previous co-ops, members of our team had experiences in several relevant fields including consulting, venture capital, and growth equity. Each of our unique and complementary backgrounds, experiences, and skillsets provided the team with a significant advantage.

Finally, we received invaluable support from our faculty mentors Frank Hayes, Mark Arnason, and Ranjini Jha as well as Waterloo alumni. The team benefited immensely from their guidance and coaching when preparing for the competition. Through numerous check-ins, we continuously refined our preparations and anticipated how we could resolve potential challenges. This put us in an ideal position to win this year’s VCIC!

The complexity of VCIC combined with its compressed schedule made the event very exciting. As with winning any challenging competition, it was extremely satisfying to learn that our efforts were rewarded with a first-place victory. We now look forward to competing in the global finals this April.