News at Smith

Smith Students Place Second in Venture Capital Competition

Mar 31, 2001
Entrepreneurial Spirit


A team of five talented Smith School MBA students won second place at the fourth annual Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC ). The competition was held at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (March 29-31, 2001).

Smith School team members Allison Helminski, Roy Schwartz, Matthew Hamilton, Jeff Kummer and Doug White with Jonathan Perl (judge and partner, Intersouth Partners, far right) received $5,000 for their second place win. Yale University received a check for $10,000 for first place and Washington University in St. Louis came in third, winning $3,000.

"The core of the team was three second year students who participated in the local Smith School competition and regionals last year. This was supplemented by two first year students to form this years team," said Doug White. "The internal competition was very useful, not only for overall practice, but essential for the new team members so they were in position to add immediate value in the regional."

The VCIC competition gives MBA students a realistic venture capital experience by matching up teams with real start-up companies. During the competition, teams listened to company presentations, interviewed executives and performed additional due diligence. Analysis, including a term sheet for recommended investments, was then presented to a panel of eight judges from venture capital firms around the country.

"Key elements venture capitalists evaluate in business plans are the market, the management, and the idea (the technology in most cases)," said Smith School team member Jeff Kummer. "In evaluating these elements of each business, class work in strategy and marketing were the most useful, as were some of the technology courses."

Eight schools made it to the finals by placing first or second in their regional competition: University of Maryland, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Michigan, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, San Diego State University, UCLA and UNC - Chapel Hill.

Prior to advancing to the elite eight, each team had to participate in campus and regional competitions - eight teams participating at each level. At the southeast regional competition held in Atlanta, the Smith School placed second behind UNC - Chapel Hill, winning $2,000. Other schools in the southeast region were Duke, Emory, UT Austin, Georgia Tech, University of Georgia and Wake Forest.

The Smith School's Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and the Entrepreneurship Club both played key roles in preparing students for the competition. "The extremely close involvement of the Dingman Center with the local venture capital and entrepreneurial community gave us a distinct advantage over students from other schools," said team member Matthew Hamilton. "Training involved multiple half-day seminars where venture capitalists from the region came in and presented training on the venture industry, valuation, term sheets and due diligence."

The best part of the competition for White was, working in a fast-paced challenging format that required integration of the entire curriculum, but also going beyond that to synthesis and creativity. We had great fun, a reflection of the inherent nature of the format, but also the maturity and good humor of all team members.

The VCIC's national sponsors include Accenture, the National Venture Capital Association, Intersouth Partners, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. The Council for Entrepreneurial Development, Southeast Interactive Technology Funds, and several other venture and venture-related firms also sponsored the VCIC.

Congratulations Smith School Team!

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.