FSB venture capital team places third in nation

March 2018

Jay Murdock

For the second year in a row, a Farmer School team competed in the national finals of the Venture Capital Investment Competition.

After winning the regional competition at Michigan State last month, Miami's team, “1809 Venture Capital,” placed third among the competition’s finalists in this weekend’s competition at the University of North Carolina, behind only BYU and Cornell.

“By engaging students from across campus, this is a significant accomplishment not only for the Institute for Entrepreneurship, but also for Miami University as a whole,” faculty/adviser Dr. Tim Holcomb said. “The caliber of the competition that the team faced from top business schools across the nation was world class and the achievement speaks volumes about the quality of our curricular and co-curricular programs in entrepreneurship, our students’ capabilities, and our efforts to tap into an amazing network of institutional investors from across the country.”

In the three-day competition, each student venture team receives a profile of their firm’s venture fund and business plans for three seed stage companies. Teams are given 36 hours to conduct due diligence on the companies, their founders, and the market, then prepare a term sheet for an investment in one of the companies.

On the final day of the competition, teams evaluate pitches made by each company and participate in a one-on-one Q&A with the founder(s), after which the teams have two hours to make their final investment decision. Each team defends its recommendation to a panel of current venture capital investors who assess each team’s investment decision and logic, and then the top two teams negotiate final terms with the founders of the selected company.

The students on the competition team were:

  • Jack Ackerman, senior venture finance and interdisciplinary studies major
  • Max Davis, junior finance and business analytics major
  • Jack Condon, senior finance and entrepreneurship major
  • Stephanie Domijan, senior mechanical engineering major
  • Dan Pfeil, senior mechanical engineering major
  • Analytical support from Oxford was provided by:

  • Manolo Galang, senior finance major
  • Joshua Gibbs, junior finance major
  • Noah Larson, junior finance major
  • Laura Mena, sophomore marketing and entrepreneurship major
  • Noah Slade, junior finance major
  • Analyst Kat Mena, sophomore finance and entrepreneurship major, accompanied the competition team to UNC to observe.

    "Our Miami University team put in an incredible amount of effort and heart into our work at the national competition, and we are walking away with nothing but pride in our work," Max Davis said. "At the end of the day, the competition is extremely competitive, but the judges offered valuable feedback on areas of improvement for our group, as it was evident that they saw some budding venture capitalists before them."

    "Receiving third place at the national competition is something we were able to accomplish because of the immense dedication from everyone on both the competition and analyst teams. When discussing the results with a few judges, they collectively agreed that we had the most in depth knowledge as well as breadth of experiences due to the excellent execution of the venture capital immersion program," Stephanie Domijan remarked.

    “I couldn't be more proud of the dedication and effort from this group of students,” Holcomb said.

    "Congrats to this superstar team! I am so impressed with you all. When we met during your final week of class, I could see something special happening," Wunderfund founder and CEO Marvin Abrinica told the students. "You were so well prepared, eager to learn, and ready for action. It’s a testament to the MU leadership. Hard to believe you just launched the program less than 18 months ago. Two seasons and you’re already making an indelible mark."

    The students began the eight-week Venture Capital Immersion program in late January. The program included guest lecturers, panelists, and speakers from venture investment firms and commercial banks who spoke to or worked with the students on topics that ranged from how venture works, to valuation and deal economics, to term sheets and negotiation tactics, to venture debt financing. The guests included investors from River Cities Capital Funds ,Queen City Angels, CincyTech, H Ventures, Mercury Fund, FTV Capital, Arthur Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Square 1 Bank, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Wunderfund, Cintrifuse, and SaaS Capital.

    Several of the panelists and speakers are Miami alumni, such as Greg Barnes, principal at Hyde Park Venture Partners, Sean Kwiat, investment analyst at CincyTech USA, and Patrick Meenan, partner at Arthur Ventures.

    "For the Miami VCIC team to win regionals and finish in the top 3 in the national competition in each of its first two years competing, is a remarkable accomplishment. I've been extremely impressed with the quality and effectiveness of the venture capital immersion program, and the highly capable and motivated students," Barnes said. "Through the program and VCIC competition, I believe the students are uniquely prepared to be part of the next generation of leaders in the venture industry."

    “I want to acknowledge Mary Dieglio, without whom this program would not have been possible, and also thank Charlie Mires for his generous financial donation that funded our students’ participation in the national finals,” Holcomb noted.

    Miami VCIC group photo Miami VCIC competition team in presentation Miami VCIC competition team in presentation