Miami team wins VCIC Regionals for fifth consecutive year

Team poses with big check for VCIC regional win

For the fifth year in a row, a team of Farmer School and Miami University students has won the regional round of the Venture Capital Investment Competition and moved on to the international finals. The U.S. Northeast Regional included student venture teams from the American University, Boston University, the University of Pittsburgh, Columbia Business School, and the University of Connecticut.

The team members are:

  • Abigail Bartlett, sophomore finance and entrepreneurship major
  • Blake Faulkner, sophomore finance, entrepreneurship, and anthropology major
  • Jake McCorkle, senior finance, entrepreneurship, and information systems/analytics major
  • Sarah Seatter, senior mechanical engineering major
  • Jeff Voss, sophomore supply chain management and entrepreneurship major
  • Michael Zilber, sophomore accountancy major

The VCIC is an invitation-only, international competition with student venture capital teams from top business schools around the world. This year undergraduate student venture teams from 48 universities across the US and Canada competed in eight regional competitions. Unlike business plan competitions where students pitch their ideas to investors, in the VCIC, student venture capital investment teams assume the identity of a venture firm.

On the first day of the 3-day competition, each student venture team received a profile of the firm’s venture fund (size, age, investment stage, targeted industries/markets, # and size of previous investments, etc.) and business plans for three seed stage companies. Teams erew given 36 hours to conduct due diligence on the companies, their founders, and the market and prepare a term sheet for an investment in one of the companies. On the final day of the competition, teams evaluated pitches made by each company and participated in a one-on-one Q&A with the founder(s) after which teams had two hours to finalize their investment decision. Each team defended its investment recommendation to a panel of current venture capital investors who assessed each team’s investment decision and logic and then negotiated final terms with the founders of the selected company.

Miami University students taking part were required to complete an 8-week Venture Capital Immersion program with entrepreneurship instructor Theresa Sedlack that immersed them in venture capital concepts, terminology, and practices. The immersion program introduces students to the venture capital model, firm thesis and management structure, fund logic, funding rounds and stages, due diligence process, quantitative and qualitative deal analytics and valuation strategy, term and conditions, negotiating tactics, venture debt financing, equity crowdfunding, and the general implications of taking on outside funding.

"Observing this Miami team in action was watching the best of Miami University, the Farmer School of Business and the Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship. The students were authentic in their interactions with founders and judges. They worked seamlessly as a team, with a level of mutual respect and camaraderie noted by the judges. They also demonstrated a tenacity and work ethic in their preparation that shone through in their deliverables, which were called out as "superb" and beyond their peers," Sedlack said.

“Our students never cease to impress me with their skill, enthusiasm and teamwork. This competition provides an excellent opportunity for students to gain experience and showcase their expertise,” noted Farmer School dean and Mitchell P. Rales Chair in Business Leadership Jenny Darroch.

With the regional victory, the team will seek its fourth consecutive Top 3 finish in the Global Finals round of the VCIC on April 9-10 against the winners of the other seven regional competitions. This year’s global finals will include teams from Cornell University, BYU, U.C. Berkley, University of Oregon, Pomona College, University of Chicago, and Georgetown University.

"The team's fellow student peers -- analyst Emma Muhlenkamp, who participated in every level of preparation before the competition, and the 2020 regional winners still on campus - Andrew Gherlein, Jorge Nadjar, Jack Sherlock and Gavin Tang – were key participants in the team's success," Sedlack said. "The program, which includes access to practitioner databases and financial support for competition participation, is made possible by Rick and Marilyn Hyde. We are deeply appreciative of their dedication to this work, made tangible through their establishment of The Rick and Marilyn Hyde Venture Capital Investment Support Fund. Now it is on to Nationals with tremendous gratitude for all that Miami offers to support its students and community."

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