A team led by Xavier MBA international student Rudhir Patil recently won the 14th annual Venture Capital Investment Competition of Silicon Valley at Santa Clara University.
Patil is in California working but is taking his capstone class online with Xavier. Originally from India, he came to Xavier via New Zealand, where he is a citizen. Through the Jesuit MBA Network, he is also a visiting student at Santa Clara University.
Over 1,000 MBA students on four continents compete in the competition, which began in 1998 as an educational event for MBA students to learn about venture funding. It has evolved into a marketplace for entrepreneurs seeking investors and a training ground for future venture capitalists.
Unlike business plan competitions in which students pitch their own ideas to investors, the Venture Capital Investment Competition requires students to be the investors, and real entrepreneurs pitch to them. It is a powerful learning experience for both parties. A dozen judges also watch the pitches and the dealings, making what is described as a "win-win-win." Students learn and win cash, entrepreneurs connect with investors, and venture capitalists get an early peek at viable deals.
Each team acts as a venture capitalist and evaluates two start-up businesses as investment options. Teams are rated on how they evaluate the businesses but more importantly on negotiating a term sheet. They have just 36 hours to review both business plans and perform analysis and valuation. At the event, they have 15 minutes to negotiate a deal with the entrepreneur in front of an audience of 10 judges.
“This year the competition was particularly tough,” said Patil, who graduates from Xavier in December. “Many great teams didn't make it through the pre-screening process. Most of my team was students who had just started the MBA two months ago, but it was most satisfying to have a winning outcome. It is great validation for the competence of Xavier’s MBA program.”