Interview with Andrew Betz, Venture Capital Investment Challenge

Interview with Andrew Betz, Venture Capital Investment Challenge ---- Today, I've got a slightly different interview, with Andrew Betz, a student at the USC Marshall School of Business who is helping to organize the Western Regional of the Venture Capital Investment Competition. The VCIC is a venture-capital competition targeted at MBA students interested in the venture capital industry. Andrew is also an associate at Los Angeles-based GKM Ventures. (socalTECH is a sponsor of the event).

BK: What's the Venture Capital Investment Challenge?

AB: The Venture Capital Investment Challenge (VCIC is the nation's premiere strategy competition for venture-minded and entrepreneurial MBA students. Students from top business schools experience a real-world venture capitalist experience. Each student team is playing the role of a venture capital firm that must go through the entire VC investment process in an extremely condensed time period. Each team will: * Read real business plans from entrepreneurs currently seeking VC funding * Watch entrepreneurs "road-show" pitches * Sit down one-on-one with each entrepreneur * Choose a deal (or multiple deals) * Create executive summary, term sheet summaries and PowerPoint presentation * Present to and field questions from a panel of VCs * Sit down one-on-one with VCs for feedback This year over 50 top MBA programs from North American and Europe are competing. USC, UCLA, UCI, and SDSU are the local schools participating.

BK: How are students judged on their performance?

AB: The students are observed by the venture capital judges during individual Q&A sessions with each entrepreneur. Then the student teams pitch their investment decision to the panel of VC judges. They must convince the judges, acting as partners in a VC firm, that their investment decisions are sound, and more importantly, that they will provide a reasonable return for the risk taken. In a session that can feel like a lifetime to students, VCs pepper them with questions, digging deep into the team's decisions. Finally, the judges must choose a winner - the team they would most like to have as their VC partner, based on their evaluation of the teams' assessment of risk, knowledge of the VC process, communication skills and teamwork. Venture Capitalists that are interested in judging at the competition can contact me at my email at

BK: What kinds of companies present at the challenge, and how have previous firms done in terms of funding?

AB: All the entrepreneurs presenting at a VCIC competition are actively seeking financing. The companies can and do come from all of the traditional industries venture capitalists invest in. Over the past 2 years, 18 of the presenting companies have received over $50M in funding. Since VCIC began in 1998 over $300M has been raised by VCIC entrepreneurs.

BK: How do companies get picked to present at the challenge?

AB: For the Western Regional that the USC Marshall School of Business is hosting on March 3rd and 4th, we have put together a selection team to review the business plans and presentations of interested entrepreneurs. The selection team ensures that the selected entrepreneurs are likely candidates for venture funding. Entrepreneurs that are interested in presenting at the competition can contact me for more details.

BK: Do students from the competition go on to work in the venture capital industry?

AB: Yes, contestants in past VCIC competitions have moved into the venture capital industry after graduation. These students have begun working at firms on both coasts and in Europe. Five of the recent students were accepted into the Kauffman Fellows Program.

BK: Thanks, and good luck at your event!